Today is my 30th birthday. In the last month I have gone from not caring, to feeling like a giant weight is tied around my neck, dragging me along. This brings me to today, when I can no longer say I'm a 20-something. Those surveys that ask you the demographics questions? I'm in the 30-49 age group. Holy crap. I'm now lumped in with the almost-50 crowd — the old group. Or at least, it used to seem old.
See, that's the funny thing about aging. I just didn't get it when I was young. I felt invincible, like a thousand birthdays were still in front of me. I felt like the whole of life was still in front of me. What college will I go to? Whom will I date? When will I get married? Will I have babies or not? What will I do with my life?
But as I've flown through my 20s, things have started to become narrower. All of those questions are already answered or well on their way to being answered. The length of life itself seems narrower, in fact. One thing I know at 30 that I didn't at 20 is how time just keeps moving, without regard for how much we might prefer it to stay in place. I didn't used to understand that everything is fleeting, whether I want it to be or not.
Here is a short list of things I've noticed that are different at 30, from most superficial to least:
The fine lines and dark circles under my eyes. If I were a celebrity, I'd get some toxic under-eye filler for sure. At least I don't frown a lot, so I don't have those deep lines between my eyebrows YET (oh, I realize they're coming anyway).
The sometimes achy joints. Every once in a while my knees will hurt, or my back will get a twitch. I think it's when the pressure is changing. (Could anything make me sound more like a grandma than saying my joints ache when the pressure changes?!)
The being called ma'am. This happens so often now I don't even think about it, but now that I am I'm pretty sure the frequency has increased to a hundred percent.
The realizing I might never feel like I have it all together. I thought by 30 I would feel definitively grown up and everything would fall in line. But I don't and it hasn't. I feel like the same person, just older.
The feeling content. At the same time, I feel the most content in my life that I ever have. I'm married to my best friend, I get to explore various avenues that interest me, we have a lot of mobility when it comes to travel and experiences, and I'm living in an area I enjoy. I can't see things getting much better than they are right now, and that's a great feeling.
The being sure in who I am. I absolutely didn't know who I was when I was younger. I can only be sure that I am a better, more certain version of that person. Even in the last year or so I have become much more confident in knowing myself than I was even a few years ago.
I've heard that your 20s are about figuring out who you are, and your 30s are when you get to be that person. Well, I've figured it out and today is the day where 30 feels less like a burden and more like just a part of the journey. I'm glad to be here because, really, where else would I rather be?