My bones creak a bit when I wake up these days. I can’t stomach pints of beers mixed with unnamed vodka shots like I used to and yes, I’ve seen a few grey hairs. These are the things that let me know I’m not twenty anymore regularly. I recall as a child feeling like thirty was some distant age bracket for moms. It’d be amazing to go back to young Leslie and say, “jokes on you kid, 30 comes fast and by then you’ll be married with TWO babies.” But rather than commiserate on the ways my thirties have confirmed by adult status, dive into this post so I can share all the ways my thirties have made me better.
Months before I turned thirty a few years ago I felt nervous in a way I don’t think I was familiar with. I second guess myself in the way that I strive for perfection
fairly often, okay fine, daily. Yet as thirty crept upon me I was questioning everything. I didn’t feel worthy of many things, I was struggling with imposter syndrome in the places I was starting to see success, and overall I felt adrift. At 32, clearly the dust has settled and now I can say I’m comfortable with the changes that this decade brings. The more I settle in I’ve found there’s much to be thankful for.
My Life Is My Own
Sure, your life is technically always your own. Even when you’re under the watchful eye of your parents, teachers, and mentors; ultimately you’ve got to make decisions that come with consequences – good or bad. But in my thirties I’ve truly realized I am not obligated to anything or anyone. I’m not required to continue in friendships that aren’t loving or mutually beneficial, I don’t have to be places I don’t want to be, and finally I know it’s okay to walk away. Be it from people, jobs, or obligations; I am free to decide what I want and it’s fine. As a teenager I felt required to live up to the ideas people had of me and throughout my twenties, like most folks, I was just trying to figure it out. Enduring some things or not being equipped enough to them go. My thirties have brought with it a confidence that I CAN trust myself and I’m capable of choosing what’s right for me.
I’ve Owned What I Look Like
Have you ever looked in the mirror and been confused? I’m fairly sure I spent an entire decade and a half wondering what I could change to just up the pretty a touch. Then one day I woke up, and likely with the help of the husband’s constant admiration, I looked in the mirror and smiled. I’ve come to terms that this is the face God gave me and He didn’t do too shabby. Thanks to the ‘rents for their help too. In all seriousness, in my thirties I’ve stopped being so preoccupied with wanting to look like something else. Now my focus is on maintaining this mug in the best ways possible with great skincare and acceptance. Something I read once said, “we’ve never truly seen what we look like – only reflections.” Meaning we don’t look to others what we look like to ourselves, don’t be such a harsh critic of you. No one sees that.
I’m Worth It
It, all, and then some. For far too long I negotiated my worth, especially in relationships. I gave too much where it wasn’t valued and offered too little in some places where it likely could have been well received. Now though, cue up Hall & Oates I won’t go for that, no no. And if you don’t know who Hall & Oates is, you’re too young for me. Lol. In my thirties I’ve determined what I will stand for and what I won’t tolerate. That knowing stems from experiences in which I’ve been hurt or mistreated but now I know my value. I’m worth more than being someone’s option and not their only. In terms of career I’m worth the money, the time, and the investment. I understand how I can contribute which makes me most valuable. I’m secure in who I am and what I can offer. Growing older should bring that, if not, it’s time to do some soul searching.
I Am More Gentle
I was accused often as a young girl of being “too rough.” By friends, by crushes, and probably even some wayward peanut gallery members. No matter who said it, it hurt. It offended me because I didn’t view my assertive nature or straight shooter personality as something to be ashamed of. I didn’t see my willingness to tell the truth, no matter what, as a problem. What age has taught me though is that there is a way to be all of those things and still maintain a level of tact that brings respect. When people know you empathize with them they are more willing to hear your thoughts on their circumstance. Your ability to listen and be quiet makes them trust you. Over the years I’ve learned to quiet myself in an effort to be the listening ear many people need. Even with myself.
Happiness Is A Choice
We’ve all heard this and if we were in a place of sadness we likely scoffed. I definitely did. Then I realized it was true. For a long time I charged others with bringing me joy, until I understood that giving someone that amount of power over me was detrimental. Especially when the assignment is unknown. I think many women are guilty of this, waiting on someone or something to bring us the happiness we desire. Going into my thirties I often said, “If I only had…I’d be happy” or “If I was with so and so…I’d be so happy,” truth is no matter what I had or who I called mine it wouldn’t have filled that longing. I needed to decide I was going to happy regardless of where I was or what I was going through. When I decided that my happiness was something I could put on day after day if became a part of my daily getting ready routine. Shirt, pants, happy. Now I know that each day I have the choice of whether or not I will allow the world, any hardships, or anyone to take off my joy. Survey says, no.
If you’re not yet 30, in your 30s, or over 30 – what are some of the things that you can’t wait to experience, have learned, or lessons you took with you into your next decade? I’d love to know how thirty is looking for you. In other words, talk thirty to me!