The Big Three-Oh
Oh, hey there birthday. So glad you made it on time this year. You know, in time to make it past a milestone date, even if I am not sure that I feel this old.
It has taken me a few days to process this. This being older thing. The whole age starting with a 3 thing.
Really. Most days I am certain that I am still 25. And then I have more than one glass of wine in a night, and I know I’m just a bit older than I used to be. Even if I don’t have the husband and children I was sure I was going to have by now.
When I look in the mirror, I am starting to see smile lines, They’re faint and quite fine, but they are there. I haven’t found any grey hairs yet, so my wisdom level is only basic. But I like to think that I’ve learned a few things in the past year. Important things. Things I shouldn’t ever forget. Things I tried to remind myself before.
It’s OK to need your mom. Sure, you’re not 5 and getting your pigtails pulled on the playground and you’re not 14 dealing with growing up and crushes on boys. You’re a grown up. A grown up without a whole lot of practice at it. Your mom knows things. Call her. Buy her brunch. Collect a few hugs.
Dads give good advice. When your computer breaks, call your dad. When you need help troubleshooting your toilet, call your dad. When you need help deciding which mutual funds to choose for your IRA, call your dad. When your basil just won’t grow on your windowsill, call your dad. He knows stuff. He can fix stuff. And he probably wants to hear from you – even if it means he has to come over with a toolbox on a Saturday afternoon.
Friends can be found in the strangest places. The girl you meet at a BBQ with a guy who dumped you over shoes might just become one of your best friends. Someone you meet at a birthday party can become your future roommate. A handsome professor could become an after work happy hour companion. A stranger from twitter (or a group of them) can be the worlds best friends. With epic group chats and emojis.
Text messages are not a substitute for real conversations. It doesn’t matter how frequent they are or if you are Emoji Level: Expert, hearing a voice keeps us closer to the conversation. It’s amazing what can happen when you can hear a voice on the other end of the line.
When in doubt, brown your butter. It makes your chocolate chip cookies better. It makes your risotto better. You can use it in pie crust and sauces. Instant foodie points.
Put on a little lipstick and mascara on the days you feel the absolute worst and you still have to deal with the world. No one else cares that you have it on, but it will make you feel just a wee bit better.
Trust your friends to be there for you. As much as they want to celebrate birthdays, promotions, true love and Tuesday nights with you, they also want to know when you are having major surgery or are chilling in the hospital for a few days. (Surprise instagram hospital photos tend to scare them.)
Embrace your nerdy side. It’s ok if you have seen every episode of every Star Trek TV series and all the movies multiple times. It is ok that you sometimes wish The Doctor could whisk you away.
Your mom was probably right. She thought you should go into computer science or engineering. You wanted to be a fashion designer or an artist. What are you doing now? Working as a web designer and obsessing over code and an accessible web. You might think she was on to something.
You are not behind. Just because you aren’t married, don’t have kids or own a place doesn’t mean that you are behind in life. It means that your life is just different. And that’s ok.
Always have a side project. Or five. You need somewhere to divert your excess creativity. Somewhere to try new ideas and stretch your comfort zone.
You don’t owe the world anything. Not an explanation for how you choose to live your life. Not agreeing to go on a date because someone asked you. Not staying out late with your girlfriends just because everyone wanted to go dancing when all you want to do is read a good book.
You’re thirty, and life is just beginning. You’ve got this girlie.