I turned 30 yesterday.
I know that among women, 40 is supposed to be the most-feared birthday, but my personal dreaded birthday has always been 30. This is because at the age of 11, I watched a close relative, upon turning 30, suffer a complete mid-life crisis of sorts. It thrust my entire being into chaos and I knew all of my life I was destined for the same fate.
I dreaded my birthday so much that I hid my date of birth on my Facebook profile months ago so that I wouldn’t receive the hundreds of friendly greetings I get each year. I wanted no reminder of the demise of my 20s and my increasing age.
Boy, did it work. My 20s went quietly. The day passed without consequence. My phone was mostly silent. Close family even forgot my birthday. I spent the day recovering from a week at the beach, cleaning house, eating Mexican food and last-minute school supply shopping. (Lesson learned: Don't last-minute school supply shop.) At night, I cracked open a Sam Adams and sat on my couch to catch up on Breaking Bad. (My suitcase is still not unpacked.)
My 30th birthday was the most uneventful of all of my dreaded days.
Lying in bed last night and reflecting on the non-event that was my day, it occurred to me that while I am sad about getting older and the old-people ailments that accompany aging, I’m really not sad to see my 20s go, at least not in the way I thought I would be.
I tangoed with my 20s — a few ups, lots more downs — high and total chaos. It was a decade spent laughing, crying, learning, growing, (lots and lots of growing!) stumbling, stumbling more and getting back up again. That all sounds really depressing. I should clarify: There were marked moments of happiness — marriage, the birth of children, watching my younger brother and sister grow, new career ventures and so on and so forth — but when I really think of my 20s, I see a reel of death, broken relationships, depression and a handful of other moments I don’t care to rehash.
My 30s seem spectacularly promising in comparison. Struggle, sure, it’s still happening in new and different ways, but I’ve shrugged the insecurities of youth and a lot of emotional baggage along the way. I’ve mostly figured out what I want for my life and who I am at my core. I’ve both admitted and come to terms with my own personal spiritual beliefs and I’m at a point on my journey where I’ve started fresh and new. I now accept chaos as a sign of change and I hope I never stop learning.
Onward and upward and bring it, 40.
(Sidenote: See, “30 Signs You’re Almost 30.”)
(Megan is a staff writer and can be reached by phone at 501-505-1277 or by email at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @LCDOnline.)