On Turning 30, Losing Hope, & Finding Peace
From the time I was young, age was just a number. Some numbers were more important. 10 meant I was a decade old. 13 meant I was finally a teenager. 16 meant I could get my driver’s license. 21 meant I could drink legally. Beyond that, I didn’t focus much on a number because that is all it was. Even as a teen, I didn’t consider my parents old. Sure, they were in their 40s, but 40 was just a number. (Yes, I might have been a bit unusual.)
When I neared my 30th birthday, I thought nothing about it. Unlike my sister who, when she turned 25, was in a panic about turning the big 3-0, I remained unconcerned. Yeah, 30 was a “big” birthday, but there was nothing special and nothing bad about it.
So, on the morning of my birthday, a beautiful Sunday in October, I woke and went about my day. As I got to my bathroom and looked in my mirror, I noticed something distressing. Very distressing. There at the top of my head was a grey hair. My first grey hair. “How appropriate,” I thought to myself as I plucked that nasty thing out. I wanted nothing to do with grey hair. Not yet, I was too young.
Then, I mosied into the kitchen to get breakfast. While I grabbed a bowl, filled it with cereal, and poured milk on top, I felt a deep punch in my gut. I was 30. Tears welled up in my eyes that could not be stopped. I was 30. It finally hit me. It had nothing to do with the number. Not really. It had everything to do with where I thought I would be in life by the time I was 30.
Don’t we all dream and plan out, to some degree, where we want to be in life? I know as a teenager I had it all planned out. By 17, I’d graduate high school and head to college. By 21, I’d graduate college and get a job. Somewhere along the way, I knew, in my heart, that I would meet “The One.” He would be there. He would be in a class or at a party while I was at college. We would graduate from college, get jobs in the real world to save money, and get married within a year or two. After a few years, we would start a family. I would be a mom. And, all of this would happen by the time I was 30.
But, he wasn’t in college. I went to graduate school and he wasn’t there either. I didn’t meet “The One” in my twenties like I knew I would.
So, on my birthday, I sat on my couch eating cereal with tears rolling down my face and wallowed. My life sucked, I told myself. Nothing turned out as I expected. I wasn’t married. Hell, even more depressing, I hadn’t had a date in two years and no dates looked forthcoming. I wasn’t a mom. I figured the odds were against me in that ever happening. My life was so far away from where I wanted and hoped it to be.
Instead of celebrating that day, I cried, pouted, and got angry at the world. That day, I grieved for the loss of my dreams and expectations. No one told me I would feel like this on my 30th birthday. I had no idea. I thought it would be a happy day like every other birthday I ever had. But, life had not turned out how I thought it would. Life sucked, turning 30 sucked, and the future looked bleak.
Eventually, a few days later, I stopped feeling sorry for myself. So life didn’t turn out how I wanted it to? At least, I had a life to live. Life was not following the script I had made. Instead of trying to follow an imagined timeline for my life, I reminded myself to focus on the day-to-day living. My hopes and dreams could remain, but I needed to accept where I was in life, at that moment, and not look back with regrets. I might also want to create new dreams, new plans.
Now, over 14 years later, I am where I always hoped I would be, with no more expectations. All I dreamed and hoped for came to me later than I thought it would. Life turned out even better than I imagined as a teen or on my 30th birthday. In my late 30s, I found “The One” and married him not long before my 38th birthday. Six months before my next big birthday, 40, I gave birth to our first of three daughters. I became a mom. And while the timeline was different from my expectations, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m right where I want to be.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Today’s sentence is “”I thought that by this time in life, I’d…”
Now, on to a recap of the last two weeks….
My Writing Around the Web:
#Throwback Thursday Link Party 2 I have a fab new blog hope where we share older posts every Thursday.
Date Night In When you have littles, sometimes going out is impossible so you have date nights in.
Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Pesto Penne (With No Pine Nuts) A recipe perfect for Lent or meatless Monday.
#Throwback Thursday My first week of the new link party.
Pork Schnitzel My recipe for this delicious German dish.
Waiting for Spring I’m so over winter. Am I alone?
Not-to-Miss Articles from Around the Web
Here are some great posts you should check out, if you haven’t already.
Dear Grammar Nazis, Shut Up. I love this perspective on grammar from the amazing Kate Hall!
Raising an 8-Year-Old Boy With a Smile This post is warm and funny. A must read!
Having It All Kind of Sucks A great perspective on parenting, particularly our expectations of mothers.
Reading With Wild Things A wonderful post I found on my Throwback Thursday link up about why we read to kids, even “banned” books.