Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet, but turning 30 doesn’t scare me.
I have this notion that my 30s will really be a time for me to get to know myself. I’ve done a lot of changing over the last decade, and I’m sure I’ll do the same in this coming one, but I hope that I will approach those changes with more confidence and less stress. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying, and becoming a parent — while accompanied by plenty of worrying, in forms I’d never known — has helped me see that time spent worrying is sometimes time spent wasted. Yes, worrying can lead to greater understanding and sometimes to solutions, which is great. But worrying with no cause and to no end — I have better things to do.
Last year, I’d created a list of things I’d like to do before I turned 30. Some of them got completed; some did not. Here’s a run-down:
- Run a 10K — Fail. I did get back up to a solid 5K time, although I haven’t been consistent.
- Have a bike picnic — Picnics yes, by bike no.
- Get another tattoo — Yes! On my right wrist. I love it.
- Be 10 lbs lighter — Yes! Muscle definition abounds.
- Knit a scarf — Done! Not extremely well, but I like the cowl I ended up with.
- Make a cookbook — Nope.
- Go camping — Yes! Although we did not stay overnight. More info to come.
- Pay off credit card — Sadly, not yet. Still plugging away at that debt though.
- Go to a theater performance — Nope.
- Decorate a fancy cake — Yes!
- Make a big painting for the house — Kind of?
- Make a t-shirt quilt — Nope.
- Explore my hometown — I’ve taken Aoife to 5 different playgrounds and done lots of walking, although we haven’t done “touristy” things.
- Visit a local museum — Nope.
- Take a dance class — Nope.
- Go sledding — Yes! Aoife hated it.
- Sharpen knives — No, I’m still risking injury every time I cook by using dull knives.
- Get a pedicure — Yes! This was one of the first things I did, and let me tell you, it’s time for another one.
- Find my perfect shade of lipstick — I found a couple but haven’t settled on anything for daily use.
- Have a date night with Ryan every month — Well … we didn’t always call it an official date night, but I’d say we succeeded here.
- Create use-able space in the basement — Not exactly.
- Visit a ghost town — Nope.
- Write a handwritten letter once a month — Nope.
- Make a friend outside of work / be a better friend — Not especially.
- Bake a pie from scratch — Yes! For Thanksgiving.
- Learn to change a tire — Yes! If you count stroller tires. I did not do this for our car.
- Fill all my empty picture frames — Nope!
- Write a will and make it official — Nope!
- Get a bra professionally fitted — Nope!
- Visit a state park — We did this, but it overlapped with #7 above.
So 13 out of 30 isn’t terrible. I think many of these I ended up not really caring about (sharper knives? really? they cut just fine!), so I wasn’t fully engaged in doing them and I actually forgot half of what was on my list anyway over the year.
The best result out of all of this list-making is realizing that I’m not defined by this list and by the things that I want to do. I should remember the things that I accomplished rather than dwell on the things that I never got to, especially if I didn’t really care about them in the first place. Instead of focusing on checking off each little item, I (for the most part) lived in the moment and enjoyed life as it came, welcoming spontaneity and changing plans — something that used to be very difficult for me. Again, I chalk a lot of this up to becoming a parent — it was a situation that forced me into accepting life as it is, not as I think it should be.
And that is NOT to say that I think you have to become a parent to have that realization. I think any experience that stretches your abilities, your mind, your confidence — travel, getting a new job, getting married — any challenge — can help you realize it. For some, it happens long before 30; for others, long after.
I spent the last year learning about myself. Learning about my daughter, this wonderful person who is still quite new to the world and who has her own personality and quirks. Learning about my job and what it is about it that I truly love (thankfully, that includes most everything of what I do). I learned that I waste time when I have a Facebook app on my phone, so I deleted it. I learned that I really don’t care about Twitter, even though I have felt in the past like I should.
I learned that life is a process. Plans can change. Plans sometimes should change. I learned that I can welcome change in myself and it makes me stronger. I learned that I welcome the next decade — heck, even the next three decades or six or however many I am meant to have. I learned that I can keep striving to be the best person I can be, for myself and for others — and I’ve learned that I can let go of that ambition if I just need a bit of time to gather my thoughts, and I don’t have to beat myself up for needing that. There is strength in that, too.
I’ll be back again soon to let you know of a few plans and projects I have up my sleeve for this coming year.