I just turned 30. Apparently, that is a big deal. Or so it seems, as a lot of people asked me wether I'd throw a huge party. A lot of people also asked me how I felt about turning 30, as if - over night - my life would drastically change.
Well, my birthday has come and gone quietly and not much has changed. However, I will say that the years leading up to my thirtieth birthday were full of change and that is probably what people commonly refer to when they say "you are going to be 30 this year? Oh boy, you are getting old".
In fact, I'm still quite young. With 30, one is (with exceptions) still rich with time. So rich in fact, that I can spend it generously on lazy Sunday afternoons and extensive coffee breaks and on dreaming up how my life is going to be when I do actually get older.
So, I don't feel old. However, I do feel wiser. And I chose the word "wiser" here quite intentionally over "wise", as I realize that my journey of coming to an understanding of myself and the world has only just begun. If age is comparable to a good cheese, my ripening process has only just kicked in.
When you think about it, 30 turns out to be quite the luxurious age. If life is a fickle balance between time and experience (where you can either have a lot of time, but no clue; or you have barely any time left, but you are full of rich experiences and wisdoms), then your thirties are where the understanding of oneself and the carefree lightness of being are completely evened out.
Sure, growing up comes with responsibilities. Mortgages, children, marriages - it's not just about Friday night's party anymore. "Adulating" has kicked in and the heavy burden of knowing that the choices we make now, will impact the happiness and stability and ultimately the fulfillment of our longterm dreams has slowly creeped up on me. At the same time though, I'm still convinced that lightness can be found, if you choose it. At 30, I can make my own decisions and if I chose to pack up and travel around the world tomorrow it would be no one's but my own little family's choice. Parental advisory, is now just that. Welcome advice, but no strict guidebook.
Of course how one feels about 30 may greatly depend on how wisely they spent their time in their 20's. "Wisely" being most certainly subjective. In my case, I spent my early 20's with crazy, wonderful, outrageous parties. My whole life was a celebration and my friends and I were always ready to rise to the occasion with a lot of dancing, a lot of drinking, a lot of laughter, and sometimes, with very little clothes on. It was a blast. It was the type of exploration of freedoms, that borders on stupidity. When I think of my early twenties, I feel the cold water prickling my skin that time, when we jumped the fence to the local pool in the middle of the night. I smell the warm summer air; I taste the wonderful combination of rum and juice on my tongue. I remember the giddiness before a first date. The heaviness of my head (and sometimes my heart) after a long night and the excitement of doing it all over the next day. All my senses are at work, when I remember my early twenties. A firework of tastes, sounds, feelings, touches.There are absolutely no regrets. Other than a few colorful tattoos, these wild nights have left no scars. In fact, I believe, that I was able to find love, settle down, and start creating a family of my own so confidently in the second half of my twenties, because I never felt like I missed out on anything.
The second half of my twenties I used to reflect, and to look around me. I took a good hard look at the world at large and the small cosmos' around me and realized I don't agree with a lot of things. Once I knew better, I did better. I created values for myself and standards to live and raise my family by. I tossed my career out of the window, to move across an ocean, get married and pursue a creative endeavor . Together with my husband, I'm figuring out how we want to live our life and which people and objects it will include. In short, I have and continue to find myself.
Now, that I have turned 30, I embrace being the best version of myself so far. I have grown stronger in my convictions and readiness to stand up for them. I feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever before. I start to learn who I am and I like her.
So let me end this with quoting a friend, that wrote for my birthday:
Welcome to 30. The water is just fine.