Friday, September 30, 2011

Three Cheers for Thirty

This week, I thought I'd share a few reflections on turning thirty because as of yesterday, I am thirty years old.

My first thought about turning thirty has always been, "That's so OLD!" I guess to enter a new decade can be quite a shock. For ten years, I've been a twenty-something-year-old, and now I'm a thirty-something-year-old.

When I dug a little deeper into my thoughts on thirty, however, I started thinking back to everything that happened in my twenties, in my last decade of life, which is the first decade of adult life, in which a lot of important, life-changing events happen and important, life-changing decisions must be made. Have you ever realized how much happens in our twenties? For many people, at least one, or maybe all, of the following experiences are generally standard:

  • Going to college or university (which means deciding what career path you want to follow - although many of us end up changing our minds on which program we want to take)
  • Getting your first "real" job or starting your "career" (and we all hope that the program we took in college or university ends up being applicable to this first job) 
  • Moving out of your parents' house into either a place you rent or have bought (either way, paying for your living space)
  • Falling in love, dating seriously, and/or getting married (which means thinking about and deciding who you want to spend the rest of your life with)
  • Having children (which, if you are the mother of said children, often means taking time away from the job you invested schooling and experience into to do something completely different - taking care of a baby, which is more important than your job, but ironically, you likely didn't take college courses or gain work experience in child-rearing)
There's five major, life-changing, significant circumstances that are the result of major, life-changing, significant decisions we are often prompted and prodded to make in our twenties.

Sure, being twenty-something is fun in a lot of ways: you're young and in your prime (so you look great), you have lots of energy, you are constantly facing a new opportunity, life is constantly changing, even as an adult, you are constantly growing up and maturing and gathering new responsibilities, and you are experiencing some pretty amazing life events. 

When I looked back at all the firsts and all the new experiences and all of the changes I experienced in my twenties, though, I kind of felt tired afterward (maybe it's because I'm thirty and I'm getting "old," so I tire easily). Either way, I felt tired. I felt the trauma of all of the thoughts and emotions and experiences and change, I felt the stress of the many decisions and transitions (wondering and hoping beyond hope that I made the right decision each time), and I felt the dizziness of the ups and downs: the continuous rising of emotional reaction to a major life event, and the subsequent dip of emotion when things went back down to normal, only to rise up again to meet a new opportunity or change. Yes, I sure felt tired to think back on all of those things.

I learned a lot in my twenties. I experienced a lot in my twenties. Thankfully, though, I feel quite refreshed to be in a brand new decade of my life. I hope that my thirties hold many new opportunities and excitement in my life's journey through the decades, but I am looking forward to a sense of stability and balance that only comes from having established a lot of things in my life prior to turning thirty.

Thus I must say, "Three cheers for thirty!" I'm really looking forward to what God has in store for me next.

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