I’ve been excited to meet you. Really, excited.
Some days I still feel like I am that awkwardly tall and kind of dorky 13-year-old girl. Other days my old soul gives way to card games and 8 o’clock bedtimes, landing me somewhere around the age of 80. Rarely do I actually feel 29, but for some reason 30 sounds so…me. I’ve actually been rounding up, just telling people I am “nearly” 30. Wait, aren’t most women supposed to wish they were younger?
While I won’t be sad to see them go, my twenties have taught me so much. I earned two college degrees, called off a wedding, reeled from the separation of my parents, traveled to faraway lands, jumped out of airplanes, fell in love, and had a baby. So much growth has happened. So much hurt, and yet so much healing.
I spent most of my early twenties in a relationship trying to fix someone. I allowed myself to be used and worn down into a girl I wouldn’t recognize if I saw her today. My unstable partner abused me, both emotionally and physically. With the support of my family and courage from somewhere inside I didn’t know existed….I broke it off and cancelled a huge wedding one month before I walked down the aisle. I am thankful every single day for having the strength to leave.
Near the end of that year I learned my parents would be separating, and as an only child I reached with a desperate grasp for my world to make sense, and was more confused than ever about how I fit in the world. I was worried, insecure in who I was, and afflicted about where I was going. So I wrote, I talked, I cried, and I searched for God where I had never looked before. And bit by bit, my shattered heart began to grow back together.
With time, and a gentle way of loving myself, I healed and was able to move forward, excited at the prospect of meeting someone who was worthy of my love. The universe was good to me that fall. On a casual get-together with an old friend from high school, I crashed into love again. This time, it was real. He was patient, strong, loving-a real man. We were married less than a year later. A man doesn’t make a woman, but under his protective and tender care, I really flourished. He picked me up and salvaged me in a way that only he could….always pushing me to be the best and most honest version of myself.
We spent our mid-twenties climbing, hiking, camping, kayaking, eating, talking, playing, laughing, and loving. It wasn’t long before we decided we couldn’t wait a moment longer to start a family. We knew there would be no perfect time and the seasons of life would always writhe. Some raised their eyebrows at our quick decision to bring a baby into the mix, but we didn’t care.
Our birth experience rocked me to the core. A planned natural birth under the care of a midwife turned into an unexpected caesarean that left me depressed and angry. The first few days with my precious son are memories forever lost to a fog of tears, sleep, and drugs. I fought through the newborn days, struggling with breastfeeding and feeling overwhelmed at this totally new life. Eventually, I dealt with those heavy emotions and life became better as we adjusted to the new normal. My heart made room for all this new love that I didn’t know the meaning of until I became a mother.
I have arrived at such a good, good place. My heart is full. Growing a life inside of me has not only changed my mind, but also my body, as it sways softly and is delicate and rounded in all the right places. The scars and streaks and slumping parts are the product of nourishing another life. My baby has transformed all pieces of me into a better, more wholesome person.
The most important lesson my twenties taught me is that time is fleeting. We don’t know how many “I love yous” are left to speak, how many more times we get to roll in the grass with our babies and tickle their feet. We have one beautiful, magical, blessed life here. I learned that escaping a bad relationship gave me tenacity, and that sometimes a broken family can teach you how to love and appreciate your parents in a better way than before. I learned to grant forgiveness to others because there simply is no room for anger or resentment in this one earthly life.
The past decade has shaped me into someone who is finally comfortable being open, vulnerable, and raw. I am happy in my skin. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I am living the last year of my twenties truly loving myself.
Thirty, I can’t wait for us to meet.
Bio: Andrea lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and spirited son, and is kind of a hippie in the making. She loves the great outdoors, organic food, babies, motherhood, and traveling. Follow along!