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Lots of women lament the end of their 20s and view the big 3-0 as a milestone they’d rather not pass and keep frozen in the future if possible.
Me? I welcomed it! My 20s were nothing but a series of dumb choices and consequences that I could not wait to lower in the ground, cover with dirt, and mourn over a good ol’ Irish wake. I was so excited about turning 30 that I spent the weeks leading up to my birthday ruminating about all the stupid, terrible, immature, downright dangerous choices I made. I planned a cathartic, metaphorical birthday run to leave behind my horrid past and embrace my bright, hopeful future.
During my birthday run, as I gladly left behind my irresponsible choices and embarrassing consequences, I also observed good events, wonderful memories, and incredible accomplishments slip away to be buried too: finishing college and graduate school, uncovering my passions, meeting and marrying my life partner, discovering spirituality, and healing strained relationships with my family. Sure, some of these great game changers would have happened without the heartache and tough, anguishing lessons, but others would have happened differently, much later in my life, or not at all.
On that run, I realized that I would endure every drop of stupidity and immaturity again if I knew my current life was waiting for me on the other side. I stumbled through my 20s not knowing what would be waiting for me at the entrance to my 30s. My ability to dig up resilience and make it through my blackest, darkest days without knowing what was on the other side is amazing, but do you know what the most beautiful, most amazing thing about my journey is?
The best part about my bittersweet ride to 30 is that it’s not uncommon. In fact, it’s downright ordinary. You’re either on your way to 30 or past 30. Some have bumpier rides to 30 than others, but the cool part that is that we all have it within us to make it to 30 and be better, more complete women because of what our 20s taught us. It’s OK to want to bury the bad stuff, but don’t let the most difficult experiences of your 20s keep you from seeing how they contributed to the wonderful woman you are currently and will be 10 years from now (and beyond).
What was your ride to 30 like? What beautiful parts about you after 30 would not exist without some of your terrible 20s?
Minnesota native livin’ La Vida Loca with husband Andrew in Kansas. Fulfilling career in economic development with a side of professional coaching for millennial women: www.CeciliaHarry.com. Guilty pleasures? New Kids on the Block and George Michael. @Cecilia_Harry