Oh, how I wish I could do the title of this post justice. But, try as I might, I simply can’t come up with that thing. That thing that would have guided me into my thirties with ease.
I definitely can’t offer any sort of sage advice or words of wisdom that a certain
girl (ahem) woman doesn’t seem to already know in her very self-assured being. You see, the lovely Stephanie turns the big 3-0 today. (Sorry Steph, if you were trying to keep it “hush-hush.” I’m pretty sure Darcie and Nicole have other plans…)
I’ll never forget that particular birthday. For months, I’d been determinedly proclaiming my excitement about entering this new decade. “My thirties are going to be great!” I would assert, certain that this would be my era of confidence, purpose, of something beautiful.
And then the actual date. The details of the entire day are a bit hazy, but I vividly remember that evening. And a rebellion in my closet. Literally.
My husband was taking me on a date to a high school musical. I was mildly underwhelmed by the glamor of the destination, but still determined to look my best. Finally through my first trimester of my first pregnancy, I stood in the middle of my closet.
And smack in the middle of a perfect storm of hormones and nothing-fits-right. As I flung aside yet another cute clingy wrap dress that was now wildly immodest, I wailed “And I’m thirty!”
In that moment, it sounded so much older than 29. I’m certain that I stomped my feet, clenched my fists, and shed more than a few flushed selfish tears before pulling it together. Then I sighed, grew up a teensy bit, and we went out.
I suppose I do wish I could have hugged my tantrum-having, newly-thirty, mom-to-be self and whispered: “Shhh. Shhh… Do you know you are on the brink of beautiful? Yes, it may get messy… but it will be magnificent.”
Almost five years later, I’m in awe of the lessons I’m still learning and the way life marches out. I never would have guessed that all those high school extra-curricular events would now figure so prominently (and happily) into our family life. I never would have guessed that pregnancy and birth could provide such body image healing. Or that the experience of mothering two girls would demand careful scrutiny or joyful rejection of so many beauty ideals.
I would have told myself “Yes, these next few years might age you a lot, but what you gain will be just so priceless.” I would’ve breathed a reminder that the truest self-discovery is the journey towards selflessness.
This is the confidence, the purpose, the something beautiful.
So today, as I look at my friend who is gorgeous inside and out, I know that she already embraces this life most full. She has learned lessons well beyond her years.
Although she ponders much and has ideas that keep her restless, she steps into her thirties with rare confidence and grace. She has a third little girl on the way to punctuate a third decade. She has countless joys, experiences, and memories already beautifully chronicled.
She dreams fearlessly, gives continuously, and loves with sheer abandon.
I, for one, can’t wait to see what thirties look like on you, Stephanie! The very happiest of birthdays to you, my friend.
Got thirty? How’s it treating you?