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I started off 2012 sitting in a hospital bed with a tube stuck through my ribs and IV needles supplying me with nutrients and hourly pain medication. It all started with a car accident before Christmas – me pulling out in front of oncoming traffic and a truck hitting my little car, causing it to spin and air bags to deploy in every direction. I never felt the air bags, but the impact caused my left lung to collapse, which resulted in a 15 day hospital stay and the discovery that I have spontaneous pneumothorax – a lung disorder that can cause collapse due to air bubbles that form on the lungs and pop spontaneously.
Needless to say, it wasn’t all good news, but I was happy to be alive. One of the things I remember most about that stay was when one of my doctors asked me how old I was, and when I said 30 he replied with, “The 30s are great. Live it up!” You’d think this would be advice given to a 20-something, but the doc made sure to tell me how wonderful his 30s were and how they’d be wonderful for me too. How when you’re in your 30s there’s a certain settled feeling, but also the opportunity for adventure.
He was right. I’ve only experienced the 30s less than two years, but I’ve already done so many things my past self could only dream of. One being that one of my biggest dreams came true; in 2012 I quit my day job in human resources to become a freelance writer. A year later my boyfriend and I sold 90% of our belongings and moved from Texas to the Philippines. Now I enjoy island life: everlasting summer, shells and sand, fresh fish cooked in palm leaves, sun-kissed skin and bare feet. And most of all, having the freedom to write whenever I want, wherever I want. I started blogging more often, crafting articles for other blogs, and dreaming up novels.
I’ve also gone snorkeling, discovered blue starfish, zip lined through the jungle, explored the island by motorbike, celebrated with friends from all over the world, sipped coconut water straight from the coconut, and watched New Year’s Eve fireworks on my balcony overlooking mama ocean and drifting sailboats.
And adventure isn’t the only thing that has accompanied my 30s; self-love wrapped its arms around my body, gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling that falling in love with someone brings. I’ve never felt so settled in my own skin. Everyday the girl in the mirror loves herself a little more, regardless of scars and cellulite, body shape and color. She is content and happy to just be herself.
I never thought I’d say that. I never thought I’d ease into my bones and become more connected to my core self. Then again, I never thought I’d fly half way across the world and label myself as a full-time writer.
The 30s, like my 20s, have times of roller coaster emotions and transitions, but unlike my 20s, I take this ride with my arms in the sky and a smile on my face, knowing that anything is possible, dreams come true, and love starts from the inside out.
Cassandra Key is an American ex-pat living in the Philippines and spends her days beach bumming, blogging, and exploring new places. Find more of her writing at The Sacred Middle where she covers everything from magic to happiness to self-love.