If you had asked me 10 years ago what I anticipated my life to look like by the time I turned 30 my answer would have probably included words like “married”, “children”, “home” + “career”. Actually, they definitely did include those words because 10 years ago that is exactly the path my life was on. I had half of those things + was well on my way to snagging the other half before the “forever 29” birthday rolled around. At that moment, I was happy.
Oh, how life changes.
Currently, none of those words can be used to describe me, yet I’ve managed to find a few other things that I have come to really value in my life. Things like “friendship”, “independence”, “freedom” + “self-confidence”. Of course, I had some level of each of these things 10 years ago, I just had no idea how much I would come to depend upon them + how fiercely I would fight to keep them part of my life as the years flew by.
Today, I turn 30. I’m officially an adult, something people have been telling since I turned 18. I’m still attempting to wrap my mind around the concept of being an adult + failing miserably on taking on the traditional adult responsibilities. Yet, I’m somehow stupidly happy with where I’m at in life.
Leading up to this “milestone” birthday I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to celebrate. Run 30 miles? Make a list of 30 things that I love about my life? Create my first 31 by 31 list? Recap my favorite memories from the last 30 years of my life? None of them really stuck out to me, so I’m skipping all of them. Instead I’m just going to carry on with my life, because every single day I wake up to has the power to change the trajectory of my life…why give my 30th birthday all the power?
But don’t you fret! There will still be some celebrating the day of my birth with an excessive amount of ice cream, donuts + maple syrup. A girl can’t pass up an excuse to put herself into a sugar coma! It is definitely still a glorious day [probably my mom’s favorite day…] + worth being excited about, it’s just not the end of era for me. Instead, it’s the middle of this amazing sandwich of life.
In just the past three years I have learned to become more comfortable with myself by consistently leaping out of my comfort zone + hoping for the best. Sometimes I was prepared for the consequences + other times they slapped me across the face when I least expected it. Regardless of my preparedness, I have done an incredible amount of growing up in the past decade, even if only on my own terms. Most of that personal growth was on accident + out of necessity. From the outside I’m sure my life doesn’t seem very put together or planned out [spoiler: it isn’t] but from where I sit I am rather amazed by how far I’ve come. I’ve grown up, in my own way.
Oh, very much so “in my own way”, because on the traditional scale of success I am failing miserably. I have all my mail forwarded to my mom’s address + spends more nights a month sleeping in the back of a vehicle than in a room with four legitimate walls. Everything I need for any 6 month period can be tetris’ed into a duffle bag + I strategize meals around leftovers or free WiFi access. I am employed, but my current responsibilities at work are less pressing than what I did when I worked in food service in college + my income is even lower than “back in the day”.
I am okay with that. I kind of like that, but not because it makes me feel like a special snowflake. I am really okay with missing out on some of the essential must-do’s on that traditional checklist of life because every single day I am surrounded by all of the things that list forgets to take into consideration — all of that happiness, independence, freedom + self-confidence. But that’s not all my doing. No sirree…
I have fan-freaking-tastic friends. Seriously, I do not want to fathom experiencing this world without the friends that surround me + pick me up when I let the entire universe beat me down. They’re always there…for consolation, for encouragement, to enable, to mock, with bad jokes + with hot, running water. When I sit down + think about where I am in life at this moment it is 100% because of the friends [+ family] who help keep my head above water when I am struggling to figure out how to tread water in the deep end of life…in a wave pool…without any arm floaties.
They refuse to let me fail yet somehow manage to make this wide spread safety net, just in case I do fail. Seriously, if anyone deserves cake + ice cream on my birthday it’s the friends + family that have put up with me over the years…y’all are incredible. It might be my birthday but y’all are the reason I’m here + loving the life I’m lucky enough to live. So, here’s to another 30+ years of crazy + at least 8 times that many apologies for what I’m sure I’ll be putting you through as I attempt to figure out life as Heidi.
[because a part of me will always be 13, stop judging me!]