This summer I am turning 30, and for the first time in maybe forever this birthday means more than a number. Not because I dread getting older, I’ve actually always felt a bit misunderstood by those my own age, but because I know in my heart that this next chapter will echo more truth. Things I am leaning: it’s an inside job.
Growing up I yearned for approval more than your average bird, finding out that following the rules made people happy. I sought after this form of acceptance like a puppy dog learning new tricks, and leaned into ways to get it. While hiding under the beautiful but itchy blanket of perfection, I figured out along the way how to be a chameleon to please others, shifting my personality this way or that to stay on the said of safety. I got good at it. If you want hop aboard a fast track to loosing yourself, learn how to blend in and turn colors. College gave me permission to break out of many of those constraints, by choosing what to study and how to spend my one wild and precious life, but even now, in motherhood and in life I find myself falling back into old habits of denying exploration and celebration of myself and who God made be to be, by trading it in for something safer, folded neatly and gently pressed. It’s easy to mimic others who seem like they’ve got it figured out when you don’t have a damn clue what’s going on or why life has so many paradoxes. Why does life have so many paradoxes?
I don’t see my 30’s as a time for me to turn into something else, or someone else, but to further embrace the return that is coming home to myself. I see this season as a time to keep working passionately to undo mortar and loosen the bricks I worked hard to surround myself with and build up over the years when I was learning how to find my way by reflecting the ways of others around me. From the big things, like asking hard questions about my adoption that nag me and learning how to homeschool our kids, to the little things, like keeping up with yoga and throwing away my straightener to let my unruly summer hair free in the humidity. This summer is a beautiful one because I am turning 30. I pray forever to stay soft, to find enough solitude in the day to hear out my truth, and to be okay with the discomfort that comes with such openness.
Did turning 30 change your perspective? Did you welcome it with open arms, or look forward to it even? I am. I am listening, and I am ready.
Lisa - I sought out my birth parents around my 30th birthday. I learned that they had had me in high school, gave me up for adoption, but that they stayed together and ended up married. I learned I had two full-blood siblings that are 10 or so years
younger than me. I’m sure you can understand the parts of that story that are painful, but I mention it just to say that in my 30s, I’ve learned more about life and the meaning in it and to let go of the things that I have or had no control over, and to celebrate the things in my life that I’ve created for myself.
jenn - welcome to the club!!!
Tara - I’ve always been one to embrace getting older, and I was excited to turn 30. When I look back on the last 8 years spent in my 30’s, I see how I’ve evolved into the better person that I am today. I just wish I had your maturity and insight at age 29. It would have saved me a lot of heartache! But as they say, you live and learn. I’ve really enjoyed this season in life. I’ve learned to let go of negativity, and to just enjoy the life that me and my family have.
Susan Daniels - Turning 30 opened a new door for me on how honest I had to be, particularly with myself, and to know how important it was to be true to all who were welcome in my life.
Dorothy Parker put it well:
“In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you.”
Anna Mangus - great quote!!!
Elizabeth - I am in my early thirties now, and have to say I am loving it. I have truly found the 30s to be a great time to discover things about myself, to encourage self-growth, to embrace who I am and what I enjoy, to focus on the things that I have found essential to my being and my life. I am enjoying this time in my life so much! I hope you find joy in your thirties as well!
Kendal - I gave birth to my first child three weeks after I turned 30 and I don’t know if it was becoming a mother, the dawn of a new decade, the change in pace/lifestyle that came with leaving work to stay home or all of the above — but the past 18 months have been an incredible time of getting to know myself. It has not been the easiest 18 months, but definitely the best in many ways. Welcome to your 30s!
Tanya Johnson - Welcome!! 30’s are awesome! I’m 6 years in (though I forgot how old I was for a year and found out this last February birthday that I was already 36! What a fun gift! 😂) and I have loved them! I feel myself settling into who I am, and loving it. More freedom to let go of the nonsense I worried about when I was younger, more accepting of my quirks, strengths, and weaknesses! I think I’ve been too busy with my three littles to think as deeply as I would like to, but I see my 40’s coming and I think they will be even better! (Only slight panic attack currently at the thought of 40!!) 😄 I love your musings and style…my favorite blog!! 💕
Eden - 30!! I was so excited to turn 30 for the same reasons you mentioned so beautifully in this post. I love your perspective of coming “home”. I feel that over the past couple of years, I have grown to love myself the way God made me, with the passions and talents he formed in me. I have learned to embrace this life, the quiet simple one I have, even if many don’t quite understand why we married young, had babies so soon into our marriage, and generally strive to live an intentional life with our girls that glorifies God and honors us as a family! I hope you enjoy your big day! You have a gift with words and inspire me! Thank you!
Melissa - I loved turning 30. I felt young again being a young 20 as opposed to an old 20. 😉 That’s how I looked at it. I am 35 now and my 30s have been awesome and full of adventure. Happy Birthday to you!
Melissa - I mean young 30. Oops! 🙂
Mamaleancee - I share the chameleon attitude with you. And I am still figuering out how to escape! Every time something is frightening me, it feels good to be unvisible. And I am very good in it too! Sometimes surprised how good I am…. But I also realise that I can’t learn anything in this status and now (turning 30 in September) that makes me sad for the first time in my life. I see lots of missed chances to grow. I hope to learn to stay visible and brave, but I know this is a huge challenge to learn in this age…
Anna - Wow. I just can’t believe you are only 30! You are such a wise soul mama. I feel i am at the same place in life, yet at a different age..47. You seem way ahead of the game! Great intentions here!
Amy - I turned 30 last summer and I must say I have been pleasantly surprised. Having kids already as you enter a new decade can make you feel older or like you should “have it all figured out” but I’ve most definitely noticed a calming effect take place within myself that has not only made me chill out about not having it all together but also made me embrace life’s imperfections and the unknown. I definitely identify with you about being the chameleon and I can already feeling that need to please or live up to someone else’s standards sizzle out. Thirties are a joy, you have the knowledge you’ve gained throughout the tumultuous twenties but are still pretty damn young in the grand scheme 🙂 happy early birthday! Lean into it for sure, and welcome to the club!
Jessica - I turned 30 last September, and it’s the best! For me, it seems to be the new phase in my life of “giving zero f***s”. I have been able to grasp the truth of who I am with both hands, and having an 18 month old at home helps too. You look at your life in a different light. I feel it only gets better.