This summer I am turning 30, and for the first time in maybe forever this birthday means more than a number. Not because I dread getting older, I’ve actually always felt a bit misunderstood by those my own age, but because I know in my heart that this next chapter will echo more truth. Things I am leaning: it’s an inside job.
Growing up I yearned for approval more than your average bird, finding out that following the rules made people happy. I sought after this form of acceptance like a puppy dog learning new tricks, and leaned into ways to get it. While hiding under the beautiful but itchy blanket of perfection, I figured out along the way how to be a chameleon to please others, shifting my personality this way or that to stay on the said of safety. I got good at it. If you want hop aboard a fast track to loosing yourself, learn how to blend in and turn colors. College gave me permission to break out of many of those constraints, by choosing what to study and how to spend my one wild and precious life, but even now, in motherhood and in life I find myself falling back into old habits of denying exploration and celebration of myself and who God made be to be, by trading it in for something safer, folded neatly and gently pressed. It’s easy to mimic others who seem like they’ve got it figured out when you don’t have a damn clue what’s going on or why life has so many paradoxes. Why does life have so many paradoxes?
I don’t see my 30’s as a time for me to turn into something else, or someone else, but to further embrace the return that is coming home to myself. I see this season as a time to keep working passionately to undo mortar and loosen the bricks I worked hard to surround myself with and build up over the years when I was learning how to find my way by reflecting the ways of others around me. From the big things, like asking hard questions about my adoption that nag me and learning how to homeschool our kids, to the little things, like keeping up with yoga and throwing away my straightener to let my unruly summer hair free in the humidity. This summer is a beautiful one because I am turning 30. I pray forever to stay soft, to find enough solitude in the day to hear out my truth, and to be okay with the discomfort that comes with such openness.
Did turning 30 change your perspective? Did you welcome it with open arms, or look forward to it even? I am. I am listening, and I am ready.