Next week, I turn thirty. I have been waiting for this moment, probably for most of my twenties. I didn’t hate my twenties, or anything. A lot of good things happened in my twenties. I met and married Michael. I got this amazing job working for an incredible boss. I live in a beautiful community. I’m part of a loving church family. I’m pretty blessed.
However, there are a lot of expectations in the twenties decade that bring a lot of pressure to the table. You are expected to graduate from college, start your career, get married, own a home and start a family. It’s not just the expectation of these things, but that you do it well. You have to be accomplished in so many areas in your first three short decades, and frankly, that’s a lot to put on anyone.
I know some people with pretty amazing lives that didn’t complete these things in their twenties. While Gwyneth Paltrow did have several movies under her belt in her twenties, she didn’t start having kids until her mid-thirties. She was thirty one when she married Chris Martin. Martha Stewart didn’t start her catering business until she was 35, which then led to her wild success and became a household name. Kristen Wiig wasn’t acting on SNL until she was 35, either. Tina Fey was 34 when Mean Girls was produced. Twilight was published when Stephanie Meyer was 32.
Society is so obsessed with youth, that by the time you are thirty, it’s almost as if you don’t matter anymore. No one is watching to see what amazing things you will do, and that’s when you finally have the freedom to do them. I think the real epiphany came to me when I had my miscarriage. I realized that I was running on a timeline that wasn’t my own, but was one dictated to me by my culture. I had to start having kids before thirty. I didn’t even know why. There’s nothing wrong with having a plan or even following in the footsteps of others, but I needed to begin making decisions for myself.
I still want children. I’m incredibly sad that I lost my child. Yet, I didn’t realize how much I had focused on trying to live this imaginary way of life that people intentionally or unintentionally dictated to me as the right life. I allowed it to tell me not only how I should live, but what I should be interested in and when I should be interested in it. The only way I can teach my children to live their own lives and take time to decide what they want to do with those lives is if I allow myself to do the same. That’s why I took off the month of May. That’s why I’m determined to slow down and be still. That’s why I’m still discovering how to gracefully fail and make mistakes, while still learning from them.
I can’t wait to be thirty. It will be a time when I’m not focused on deadlines, but can truly pursue the things that interest me. No more expectations. It’s all wonderful surprises and adventures to discover. And I can’t wait.