Let me be completely honest, turning 30 for me absolutely sucked. It wasn’t so much the aging part, or the fear of wrinkles, or even the notion that gravity was dragging my ass and boobs well below the line of demarcation. What scared the living shit out of me and nearly sent me into a panic attack on the big 3-0 was effectively coming to the conclusion that by the ripe old age of 30, you have reached YOUR LIFE.
I had these grand illusions in my 20s of doing all of these amazing things with my life, and I just knew I was destined to really make a difference in the world. No kidding… I had some big plans, and through college and into my early 20s the prospect of doing all of this amazing adventurous stuff was a totally real possibility.
And then…I turned 30… and realized that with marriage and the requisite 2.3 kids, and a dog, and a house, and college loans, and the list goes on and on, that the reality of bringing all of these goals to fruition was pretty much thrown out with the last shitty diaper.
So basically, 30 was a major sucker punch to the guts for me, and I’m not afraid to admit it! And then I turned 31, and life was still moving along at an insanely rapid unfulfilling pace. It was infinite laundry baskets and sinks full of dirty dishes, and dirty diapers, screaming kids and grocery store runs. And then I hit 32, and it was just more dirty diapers, and trying to lose like 50 pounds from a 3rd baby, and a husband that travelled all the time, and the sad reality of no career after all that school… and more laundry and dishes and cleaning and shopping. And then I turned 33 and then 34, and it was the same shit, day after day, and I was sincerely not loving what MY LIFE was in comparison to the grand illusions I had as a 20 something.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like my life was bad, it just wasn’t what I had envisioned for myself in my Sarah-Jessica-Parker-esque version of what life would look like at 30.
And then I turned 35… and I did something that I should have done years before: I got rid of the chip on my shoulder and I mourned the loss of what I thought my life was going to look like, and started to create a new picture of what 30 was for me.
First off, I extended my social network to include amazing women who were on a mission to achieve greatness by their unique talents and passions. Sadly this also meant that I had to let some friendships go that were rooting me in my misguided visions, and were in no way helping me repurpose my life because of their emotional drain.
Second, and I think this was the most important thing that I did, I put a stencil on the ceiling above my bed: Enjoy this moment, for this moment is your life. Every night I go to sleep with the reminder that despite the laundry, the bickering kids, and the chaos, this is what LIFE IS. I only have once chance to live it so I need to make the most of my attitude about it.
Finally, I started doing some of the things I said I wanted to do when I was a 20- something. I stopped making excuses that I didn’t have time for the things that could bring me fulfillment because I needed to do the laundry or clean. Really, I started to prioritize fulfilling tasks into MY LIFE, and made the conscious decision to let go of some of the things that really aren’t that important in the big picture. After about a 10 year hiatus from running I starting doing some 5Ks again for fun. I took up cycling, a hobby I had always wanted to try, and now get the added bonus of spending some time with my hubby while riding, and I get a work out. How’s that for multitasking!
So now, I’m approaching my 37th birthday, and even though my life is still laundry and dishes and wiping butts and occasionally getting to spend some time on me, the best thing about my 30’s is realizing that this is MY LIFE, in all it’s monotony and messiness and mistakes. Even though 30 wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, now that I’ve redeemed myself and my attitude has had a bit of a rework, I’m going to send my 30s out with a bang, and embrace the hell out of 40!
Carrie is one of the contributors for her blog: Lives Times Five When 5 women who are wives, mothers, entrepreneurs, executives, students, and old friends get together for a Girls Night Out, there is certain to be some laughter, tears, wisdom and fun. We wanted to create a blog that has all the best elements of a GNO, but for the masses, with 5 real women, with differing opinions, writing about real issues. Really, we shouldn’t have to wait for a night out with our closest friends and a bottle of wine for a good laugh and a bit of advice when we need it.