From Twenty-Two to My Thirty Spot
Thirty. I never thought I’d get there; I suppose because I picture a thirty-year-old as a grown-up. I know thirty is not old, but it has always seemed like a place that was so far from where I am. I still feel twenty-two! Now I’m staring my thirty spot in the face and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. I mean a lot. Am I where I should be in my career? Should I be having kids? Are there things I should do before I have kids? It just seems like it has come so fast.
As a little background, I’m a Registered Dietitian and am very passionate about food, both as a hobby and a career. I love all food, especially healthy food, and enjoy helping others learn to love it too. But I also love to have fun—which doesn’t always include healthy food and calorie-careful choices. I’ve been a healthy eater and have been physically active all my life. I’ve also been adamant about maintaining healthy habits in order to maintain my physique, which includes compensating for an ever-slowing metabolism.
I’ve been going through a mental change lately, though, trying to prepare myself to grow up a little more as I reach thirty. Allow me to explain: I’ve been promising my husband children for a couple years now. Last year I said, “Maybe by the end of the year.” Then it was Spring. Then it got pushed to Summer. See the trend? I want children; I really do and always have. But here’s the trouble; I’ve been great as a babysitter, great as “Aunt Lizzie,” but never have I pictured myself as a mother. For me, becoming a mother also marks the time in my life when I must define myself as an adult. I thought I’d easily be “there” by the time I reached thirty, but I haven’t been until just recently; and I was beginning to worry I might never be ready (for motherhood). I don’t want to push it off any more because I don’t want to miss it entirely and I also want to be physically young enough to be vibrant with my children as they grow. I’m also very fearful, as I’m sure is totally normal, of the changes this will bring into my life and admittedly, to my body. Have I accomplished all I should have? Is the fun over?
Long story short—the date is set: in July I will be stopping birth control. So I’ve been living it up—more like when I really was twenty-two—until then. It’s as if I’m trying to make sure I experience everything I want to in my twenties before I become forever responsible for someone other than just myself; trying to discover things I may have overlooked or missed before I get there.
So what’s wrong with that? I’ve been a lot more easy-going about how I spend my time (ie. not so much time on work, more time on play), which means going out more, relaxing more and allowing myself to indulge in food (and drink) more. Naturally, trying to keep things in check, I’ve been pushing myself to exercise more too to try to balance these indulgences, however purposeful they may be. But I’ve found that as I reach my thirty spot, my body isn’t so forgiving of all those extra calories anymore. Hence, the ever-slowing metabolism. As I write this post, I’m five to ten pounds heavier than the weight I like to be. It’s not a lot, but it came on quick and it’s enough to make me uncomfortable. Plus I know that if I don’t get it off now, it will only be harder in the future. Just this week, I’ve come to the realization that I’m going to have to pull in the reigns a little. Find some sort of balance. After all, it was another goal of mine to rock my bikini this summer before I get pregnant!
What have I gained from all this thought and worry (besides a little weight)? I’m happier with life. Or maybe it’s just the extra vitamin D I’ve been soaking up lately from taking the time to lay out in the sun. Whatever. But I’m not as happy in my body—and that affects my life. So this week I’m starting fresh. Pulling it back together. Getting back on track. This is the good thing about reaching my thirty spot—I feel more empowered and in control than I’ve ever been. Through this mission of self-discovery, I’m refining who I am and I feel good about it. I’m learning what’s really important to me, letting go of what’s not and trying to figure out how to balance it all. I’m starting to realize why women say that their thirties is their best decade. Maybe I am starting to grow up a little; and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. So thirty spot, here I come! Perhaps thirty marks the beginning of something great rather than the end. No matter what, I’m ready for what’s in store.
Liz Patton is the chief blogger behind the GoodFood blog, where she writes to inspire a healthy lifestyle through simple, flavorful, enjoyable, affordable and achievable choices. It’s her mission to help clients learn how to live a healthier life without sacrificing time and taste.