Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why I Don't Mind Turning 30

via
This is one of the many pieces I'll be re-sharing here over the next year. This originally published on Hello Giggles, but since I am not writing for them anymore, it's important to me to have all of my writing in one place. If this is the second time you've seen this, I hope you don't mind too much! Enjoy.  

Today is my 30th birthday, and I can’t even tell you the amount of times I’ve had people make a huge deal out of this shift into a new decade. Nine times out of ten, I hear my peers commiserating over “30," saying it in whispered tones, turning 30 into the Voldemort of birthdays. Growing up I can still remember a friend’s older sister who celebrated her 29th birthday four times, and I have a cousin who to this day won’t recognize the fact that she entered her 30s…in the ’90s.

But why do we have such an aversion to ending our 20s?  What about 30 is so scary?

As for me, my 20s were amazing. Wild. Beautiful, even.  In between all of life’s important moments, the bullet points on the broad timeline of this past decade, there’s been a whole lot of figuring it out – “it” being, you guessed it, life. Now, at the fairly young age of newly-30 I still have a long, long way to go, but I am fairly certain that as my life goes on, I will look back to my 20s as a time of self-discovery. And if that is indeed the case, then I am hoping that my 30s will be a time to enjoy all of the “stuff” I figured out.

I think some people are scared of 30 because it feels like the end of youth, that it’s a distinct marker between being young and getting older. I’ve talked to a few girl friends about it, and some have told me that it’s a birthday that makes them feel not only old, but as if they should be doing something. And more often than not, their something doesn’t exactly match up to their fantasy of what a 30-year old should be doing.

It’s hard trying to measure up when you’ve created an imaginary ruler in your mind. And I think it’s easy to get caught up with dreading birthdays rather than celebrating them. But when you really think about it, is there a more joyous occasion than marking the passing of a year, noting all of its lessons, trials and triumphs, and gearing up for a new one?

As I leave behind my 20s, I’m excited. I don’t mind turning 30, and here’s why:

Like I said above, I loved this past decade. But so much of it was spent trying to find myself, and with that comes a roller-coaster of emotion. During these past 10 years I became an adult. I went away to college and learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined. I dated the wrong guys and figured out exactly the kind of qualities I wanted in a partner. I made new friends, I lost some old ones. I realized that the only constant in this world is change, and sometimes the hardest part of growing up is letting go of relationships that I thought would last forever.  But the silver lining? Realizing that life is all about meaningful connections. And knowing this allows me to keep “quality over quantity” in mind and put time and effort into those who matter, forging strong bonds with just a few people rather than many.

To me, turning 30 is exciting. I know who I am, I know what I want out of life and for the most part, I’ve figured out how to get there. It’s not even about accomplishments; married or not, children or none, career or still figuring it out – it’s about self-realization and being able to say, “Hey, you- I love you!” to that reflection in the mirror. Accepting myself has been the hardest journey of all, and although I’m not there yet, I’m a heck of a lot closer than I was at 21.

And the best part? I’m at a point where I fully realize that I am the master of my own destiny. The maker of my day. The determiner of my future. I’ve grown up and away from blaming others for my mistakes or unhappiness. I’ve learned that I can look to no one else when I fail or succeed. It’s all me. And I now know that it’s futile to try to live up to anyone else’s idea of success or happiness. This is my one life, and I’m sure as hell not going to waste it trying to people-please. Everyone will always have an opinion, but unlike my 20-something self, my 30 year old self now knows to take what others say with a grain of salt. I will never be able to please ‘em all. Each individual in this wide, wide world has an idea of what living this life is to them, and my choices will always, always go against someone’s, somehow.

So as I look back and think about all of the things I’ve learned, I feel lucky that everything I’m taking away from this decade I get to practice in a new one. My 30s are a time for taking care of myself and being healthy.  It’s about enjoying the time I have and savoring every single moment with my loved ones. It’s about being kind.  It’s about looking back at the beautiful naivety of my 20s with humor and acceptance, and realizing that it’s all brought me to this very moment.

And so I welcome in this next decade. I’m excited. Bring out the party hats, the noise makers, put up the streamers and blow up the balloons!  I couldn’t be happier to enter this next chapter, a time that I wholeheartedly believe will be the best yet. And I hope you’ll join me. I’m so over feeling like I should dread each impending birthday, especially this one. I want to celebrate everywhere I’ve been and everywhere I’m going. I want to live this one life of mine- really, really live it- and at the end of my journey I want to look back down the road and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that I truly did.

So I say bring it on 30, I’m ready for you!

46 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Danielle! I look forward to reading about how the next amazing decade of your life unfolds!
    xoxo!
    Chrissy

    ReplyDelete
  2. LOVE this post. And I totally get how you feel. I'm a little bit away from 30 (I just turned 24), but I see 30 as a good place. I feel like I am still finding myself, still settling into my skin, and I feel like 30 is going to be about that time I might get it right. My husband, on the other hand, believes that once you hit 30 "your life is over." I don't know why, but he feels like he has to do everything and have all the children before he's 30. I love your outlook though. I hope I'm saying that in six years...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy Birthday to you.. I too will be turning this year (in November) and I've been absolutely dreading it. 30, single, no kids and still trying to figure out a career, eek! But I like how you're focusing on putting the reckless, ignorant 20's to rest. Now that's a train of thought I can get behind! Thanks for such great advice :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. beautifully written, and happy birthday to you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, this was said perfectly D :) I was nervous about turning 30 too, but like you said - you finally know what you want out of life and you know how to get there. I look forward to creating our lovely home and extending our little family in the coming years. My goals have become less about myself and more about my family on a whole :) thank you for sharing.
    toni xo

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved this post the first time, and I love it again now. As I approach the oft-dreaded four-oh, I do so with this mind frame. I look forward to what the next decade holds for me, as I think everyone should. It's the beginning of a new chapter, a door for new experiences and personally, I can't wait.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy birthday, Danielle! I'm excited over how excited you are :) I was one of those people who was afraid of leaving my 20s behind because like you said, it in a way feels like the end of your youth. but i certainly wouldn't want to go back because i know who i am now and where i'm going in life compared to in my 20s and teens. Enjoy your day :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Happy Birthday! I hope it's a great day for ya! And as always,I love reading these kinds of posts. PS. This post made me cry for some reason... :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy birthday! It's funny, because I'm nineteen and terrified of turning twenty this year! I have all these ideas and preconceptions about what I should have been doing by this age, with so many accomplished people having done so much already! I'm scared for my twenties, because I see an 'end point' which I hope to get to (career, marriage, babies - being a mum is my number one goal) but then the idea of the journey to it is just so terrifying. This time last year I would have said I could see myself eventually getting married to my boyfriend (who I was with for five years), but things change so quickly, like you say. I love reading your blog because you are open about how sometimes things are difficult, but focus on the positive and look forward to the future - you have such a great outlook. This post has made me a little less scared about growing up, knowing that other people need time to 'sort things out' too. Thank you! (sorry for the ridiculously lengthy post!)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love this! I just turned 30 a couple of months ago and wow...i freaked out! But I came to grips with it and COMPLETELY agree with letting my 30's be a time of taking care of myself and being healthy and the most beautiful I have ever been.
    Thanks for this...I'm not alone! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I turned 30 a few years ago and it is shaping up to be my best decade yet. I've figured out more about who I am, who I want to be, and other's expectations enter into that equation much less. So yeah, I know how you feel. Enjoy your birthday. : )

    ReplyDelete
  12. Happy birthday! I'm a few years into the "dreaded" decade, and I can't tell it apart from my 20s. Age really is just a number.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I totally agree with every word in this post. I'm really lucky that even in my late teens/early twenties, my wonderful stepmother told me how amazing 30 is. "The thing about turning 30" she said "is that you stop giving a damn about what people think you should be doing - you've got just that little bit more confidence, and a little bit more savvy, and you just stop listening to what everyone else says and live for yourself and those you love".

    I hope you enjoy this next decade as much as you did the last!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I felt the same when my 30th rolled around....almost two years ago! Happy birthday - I hope it's a wonderful day :).

    ReplyDelete
  15. happy birthday dear! i know i mentioned this before, but my 30s have been the most amazing times of my life. i feel so focused on the important aspects of my life. family. children. friends. good health.

    cheers!
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy Birthday to you! This post was written beautifully and so truly inspiring. Here's to hoping you totally rock your thirties!

    xo, Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  17. I was really excited to turn 30. It was such a huge blur - I had just had a baby and wasn't in the most rested state of mind. But you know what? Being in my 30s is awesome! I am enjoying the freedom of just being me.
    Happy birthday! Hope you are having a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
  18. happy birthday, dani! i loved this post esp since i am approaching 30 in a couple of years and want to approach the day with the same attitude. thanks for this - and i love the way you write!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Happy Birthday!! i hope your day was filled with love and happiness:) cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hahaha 'the voldemort of years'! nice :D Happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Happy Happy Birthday to you :)
    I love how embracing you are of this new chapter in your life.
    I especially love your comment "I’m at a point where I fully realize that I am the master of my own destiny"... beyond exceptional.
    Enjoy this new chapter of your book of life.
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  22. Happy Happy Birthday beautiful lady. I hope you have a wonderful amazing day.

    Kacie

    ReplyDelete
  23. Happy Birthday!
    This is so inspiring, its sad how we're made to dread getting older and feel pressured to have achieved certain things by certain ages. This has made me realise that that's all a load of rubbish! x

    ReplyDelete
  24. Happy Birthday !! It's true, I'm only 20 years old at this point but I know for sure I won't mind turning 30 in 10 years! I'm really happy your looking at things the way you do! I think it's really inspiring and although your 30 now, I'm sure you're going to continue to accomplish wonderful things in your life! Anyway! Happy Birthday and enjoy your day! :D
    Love, Saar

    ReplyDelete
  25. I hope you had a really wonderful birthday and can't wait to read all about it. Your blog is amazing and I always look forward to your next post. Happy birthday again. x

    ReplyDelete
  26. I hope you had a great birthday! I am glad you are turning thirty with so much positivity!
    I can't wait to be into my thirties and out of my twenties, I feel like they have been happening for way too long :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Commented a day late, but Happy Birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Happy birthday. I wouldn't want my 20's back for all the money in the world. I am 3 years out from 40....not sure I will want to leave the 30's behind :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Happy Birthday! Your blog is wonderful and so inspiring, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Happy birthday! Your 30s are awesome; here's to a wonderful decade!

    ReplyDelete
  31. "The Voldemort of birthdays." Ha! Yes, that is what most of my peers made 30 sound like. All of the Facebook statuses leading up to their 30th were...well, kind of miserable and depressing. But there I was bouncing around alone in anticipation for 30! I couldn't wait! So far 30 hasn't proven me wrong. It's been the year I've gotten engaged and I feel like I've never been more true to myself than I have this year. I'm certain that this decade will be an amazing one. I hope it is for you, too! Happy Birthday! :)

    - Jessica V.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Just started reading your blog a week ago and I hope to be as positive as you are throughout life! Happy birthday and I hope you have a great day surrounded by the love of family and friends.

    ReplyDelete
  33. happy birthday, it seems like every 5 years i have a major panic attack on my birthday. at 25 i thought i was already too old and had wasted my life going in the wrong direction. then i turned 30, and still hadn't figured out where that direction was supposed to be. just in my mind, i wasn't where i was supposed to be. then last year i turned 35. 35!

    i sat questioning how another 5 years had gone by. why had i not met my goals. why was i still not happy. it was at that point i said no more! i know i am always going to be thinking the "what if's and the shoulda, couldas", thats just how my brain operates. but i need to put me first. i need to sit back and do something for me. i need to work toward a new goal, a goal of just living simply, and simply being happy. if i get there - who cares what that number is? i still look like i'm 18 anyway. if i really wanted i could definitely tell someone i was 10 years younger than i am and no one would ever question it - though they might still think i'm not that old, haha.

    but good for you! good for you to embrace that "step". embrace your 30's and learn from your 20's. i wouldnt necessarily go back into my 20's i'd just like to have an additional 10 years at that age, knowing what i know now =) happy birthday again!

    http://veranellies.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Just turned 30 myself last week! Totally agree! And I am happy my 20ies are finally over :) Happy Bday!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I think I stumbled upon your blog and this post at just the right time! I'm currently 'staring down the barrel of 30" as a few of my friends have called it and it does scare me a little. Like you said, you feel like you should be a fully fledged adult and have accomplished all the things the naieve teenage you envisages at such a 'grand old age'. But like you as much as I've loved my 20s I wouldn't want to relive them and I'm excited about what my 30s will have to offer. So an early happy birthday and thank you for encouraging me to embrace this next birthday and not cower away from it as so many people seem to think one should!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Happy 30th ma'am! Rock on! I personally think the 30's and are gonna be the best anyways. Remember 13 going on 30? "Thirty, flirty, and thriving!" ;D

    ReplyDelete
  37. happy happy birthday, beautiful!
    you have been such a light in my little life here. 30 has never looked lovelier!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Happy Birthday, Danielle! My 30's have been really good to me so far and just keep getting better!

    xo
    cortnie

    ReplyDelete
  39. I totally agree with you on, I think, every point. Although I just turned 25 this year ;-) The thing about letting people go, making new friends and making the choice between quality and quantity. I've been there. And still figuring out - for some people - to which group they belong. It's very hard to make that choice sometimes, but in the end, you'll always feel better. AND there's more time to spend with the people who really are important.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your writing is really inspiring.

    Love, Sari

    ReplyDelete
  40. I've just found this post and I know I'm seriously late to the party but whilst googling 'how to cope with turning 30' I found your blog and MAN AM I GLAD I DID. I was awash with articles about how men only want women in their twenties, about how my biological clock is going to kick off like Big Ben. I was ready to throw myself off a building. In 6 months I turn 30 and I have no idea what I feel about it, I'm panicked, scared, I've always been someone who is mentally 17. Still loving the music and shows I watched at that age, but I look now and I feel still I haven't accomplished enough. I'm engaged to a wonderful man, I've just finished my PhD, and still I don't feel like it's enough, I'm still terrified that I've wasted my 20s, wasted my youth in books and diets, in hating how I looked and not knowing what to do about it.
    But here I am, and I genuinely am so glad to have found your post, the countdown is on, I will be taking your advice, this is a new decade.

    Thanks for an amazing post.

    Dp
    www.inanityandthegirl.com

    ReplyDelete
  41. Well said, thank you. I hope I can come visit this blog again 10 years from now to feel better about turning 40. :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Just found this. I wholeheartedly love and agree with everything you said. The last 5 weeks of my 20's are upon me and I am so grateful for everything I experienced...messed up...did right...learned from...etc. Such a time to celebrate! Thanks for your post!

    ReplyDelete
  43. read my story on being 30.

    http://30akki.blogspot.com/2014/10/mystic-digit-thirty.html

    ReplyDelete

 
Blogging tips