On the eve of my 30th birthday, I’ve found myself on a flight to Mexico, sitting next to my husband Matt, who is absolutely engrossed in whichever Ironman movie he’s watching for the 100th time. Tomorrow I’ll start my day early with yoga in the shala of an eco-lodge built into the treetops of Tulum. After class, I’ll meet Matt down at the beach for a smoothie bowl with fresh tropical fruits and we’ll plan a day balanced between adventure and relaxation. *Bliss*, am I right?
I know what you’re thinking. Good try with the grand distraction from the inevitable, but one cannot just skip over a birthday and pretend it didn’t happen. Sadly, it is what it is no matter where I wake up. And tomorrow morning, I’ll officially no longer be in my 20s.
Thirty is a big number, and there’s no denying it. All year, the idea of 30 has left a tinge of uneasiness in the pit of my stomach. It’s not that I’m trying desperately to hold onto my youth, but as my laugh lines become permanent and my hangovers worsen, I can’t help but feel lost.
30 isn’t just a new decade, it’s a milestone. And, surprise-surprise, the ‘life goals’ of my teens and 20s haven’t exactly panned out as I had envisioned. But wallow in pity I will not. And I sure as hell won’t let our society’s unrealistic pressure make me squirm in my uncomfortable airplane seat any longer. I refuse. And thus, my solution: A manifesto of sorts, for 30, and beyond. A rough guide to living out the rest of my days unencumbered by some of the encroachments of my 20s.
Seven Things I’m Leaving Behind in My Twenties
<< D E A D L I N E S >>
Can we have a PSA to younger generations that 30 is not meant to be a deadline? Why does every statement prior to 30 begin with, ‘before I’m 30’…. I wanted to travel the world, write a book, become an actress, and a blogger, fall in love, get married, have a family, own a house. Did some of this come true? Sure. But do the goals that didn’t quite happen have to expire now that I’ve reached doomsday? No, no they don’t. Over the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years, I’m still going to set goals. But this time without the unrealistic pressure to accomplish everything by some arbitrary date in the future.
< < T H E P A S T > >
Our memories are both a precious gift and a terrible curse all rolled into one. Reflecting and reminiscing is one thing. Living in the past and agonizing over missed opportunities, wrong turns and bad decisions? Definitely not hopping on my 30 party train. Despite whatever poor choices I’ve made in the past, I’m not bringing those regrets with me. Every single decision ‘good’ or ‘bad’ has led me to this exact moment, and for that I am grateful. There are a few things I would have done differently (like I don’t know, not use tanning beds), but I’m not going to dwell on them any longer. What’s done is done and I am only looking forward.
….But let me clarify:
< < L O O K I N G F O R W A R D > >
I want to set goals for my future, plan trips, stop procrastinating. But looking forward doesn’t mean being stuck in the future, an all too serious epidemic in our society. I don’t want to be someone who doesn’t enjoy my current disposition because I’m always anticipating or worrying about the next thing. I will not be this person. I want to be grounded and present in every single moment. Whether it’s actually listening when someone tells me a story, or enjoying each and every bite of my morning oatmeal. The time is now, and I vow to make that the priority. Life is too precious and unpredictable to hold off doing the things I’ve dreamed of. I’m not ‘waiting for retirement’ in any sense of the phrase. I’m going to live my life to the fullest each and every day; so that if this plane falls out of the sky, I won’t have any regrets for the things undone or the things unsaid. (Insert mental note to text everyone dear to me the minute this plane lands.)
< < B O D Y I S S U E S > >
I don’t always love looking in the mirror. My face is puffy, my pores too big. I’m pale, plain, and for some reason my all natural deodorant has been giving me BO (but what’s worse, aluminum poisoning and breast cancer?!) And getting dressed usually ends in me yelling – from inside a spare bedroom I’ve turned into a closet nonetheless – that I have nothing to wear. I have to seriously restrict my calories if I want to eradicate my love handles and soft stomach pouch, which just sucks, because I absolutely love pizza. But you know what? That pouch will one day come in handy when I’m carrying my first, and second, child. And when those children grow, they’ll use those love handles to pirch their legs around while they snuggle me tight. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Not being rail thin by way of starvation… for what? To live up to some photoshopped ideal on instagram? We are all different. And that is a beautiful, wonderful, special thing. That out of all the zillions of people in the world, we are each entirely unique from one another. Yet, we’re taught so young to obsess over achieving ‘perfection by sameness’. And I am done. I’m leaving self-hate and body dysmorphia in my 20s. You’ve seriously wasted enough of my time.
<< P R I D E >>
Blame it on only child syndrome, but I’ve spent the last few decades being pretty stubborn and kinnnnnd of a know it all. In these next thirty years, I’m going to take some advice from my favorite play, Hamilton, ‘talk less, smile more’. Because the truth is that I don’t know it all, and I certainly don’t need to keep pretending I do. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, taking advice, or opening my mind to differing opinions, now is there? Less prideful, more humble.. that’s the goal.
<< G R E E D >>
I have taken collecting ‘stuff’ very seriously throughout my life thus far, and now I’m ready to find a new hobby. I don’t need a fancy car, dozens (and dozens) of shoes, closets that are stuffed to the brim. Materialism and adolescence kind of go hand and hand in America. And I apologize to my parents for throwing hissy fits over needing Abercrombie & Fitch clothes… but this next chapter I choose to be more mindful of gluttonous spending habits. Because in all honesty, I rather save my money for experiences. And anti-wrinkle creams. I still need those.
< < S E L F D O U B T > >
We don’t hear it enough but: You. Are. Enough. I Am Enough. What’s with this comparing myself to everyone else? Jealousy is never cool. You know what is? Being happy for others. I don’t need to spend my thirties comparing myself to anyone else, I am who I am, and I’m perfectly capable of achieving whatever I put my mind to. No more holding myself back out of fear. No more getting lost in someone I barely know’s instagram wishing I had her style, body, job, passport stamps, whatever it is. It’s self-destructive. I’d like to spend that wasted time more wisely from here on out. Perhaps investing it back in myself by fostering my talents and dreams. More photography classes, more giving 100% in acting auditions, more blogging from the heart …and less taking myself so damn seriously.
<< F O M O >>
I’ve always had a burning fear of missing out. Always have said yes to everything and everyone. Always wanted to fit in, be good at everything, achieve it all. But in doing so I’ve handicapped my success. I’ve spread myself too thin, and as a result, never poured all my energy into one goal. I can miss a birthday here and there. I don’t have to be best friends with everyone I meet. If I never make it to Burning Man, so be it. But I can’t live with not writing the book I’ve had outlined and ready to start for over a year. I want the next decade to mark a priority shift. Everyone is on a different path around this world, and I’m going to let them do them, and I’m going to do me.
Speaking of doing me… what I am bringing along with me into 30:
You know, it hasn’t been all bad. Actually, quite the opposite. These past thirty years have been pretty magical. And while I’m excited to shake things up from here on out, there’s a lot of things that I’m planning to take with me in this next chapter. Not just the memories made and lessons learned, but the things that truly make me, me.
A marriage filled to the brim with love and laughter. Family, friends and two pups who bring me immeasurable joy. Memories from around the world, and a passport to prove it. This blog.. that enables me to pour my heart out without fear of criticism (thank you, truly). An innate positivity and outrageously outgoing personality. A flexible mind and spirit. An absolute awe of mother nature and a feeling of groundedness. A well rounded education and insatiable thirst for learning. A passion for fostering my creativity. An unshakable determination. A try-anything-once disposition. A difficulty holding in laughter or a smile. And lastly, and above all, a burning desire to always be the best version of myself.. to continue to grow and adapt, to flourish and bloom.
…Oh right, and my sharing & love of inclusivity! From the bottom of my heart, I invite you to come along on this ride with me. Whether you’re turning 30 tomorrow, using your AARP card, or just threw your graduation hat, we’re all in this ‘growing old’ thing together. Why not make the most of it?
I’m going to write my own destiny. One I can trace back to this moment in time.. the day I took control of my future.
Okay, enough’s enough… time for tequila and sunshine – got to start working on that whole living in the present thing, after all. 😉