Archive | April, 2015

Cheers to Being 30

2 Apr

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 30th birthday. Now, generally speaking, I don’t mind getting older. I mean, let’s face it, I’ve always acted more like a 60-year-old than a 20-year-old anyway. That being said, 30 was a harder pill to swallow than I expected it to be. Something about turning 30 seems to proclaim “I AM AN ADULT,” like someone somewhere has decided that my youth is over. Gone are my chances at being a prodigy, at achieving success at a “young age.”

It’s easy for me to look at turning 30 and think about all the things I haven’t yet done. I haven’t gotten my Ph.D. I haven’t traveled or “seen the world.” Forget about publishing a novel, I haven’t even finished writing one yet. I’ve got a bucket list several miles long, and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of it. It’s easy to hear the clock ticking. (Literally. There is a cuckoo clock ticking behind me as I write this.) I know that realistically I probably have not even reached the halfway point in my life. But that doesn’t stop that feeling of panic, that I’m running out of time to DO SOMETHING and BE SOMEONE.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why that is. What do people even mean when they say they want to “do something” with their life? My best guess is that they mean they want to contribute to the world in a way that will last. To be remembered beyond their time. To do something “important.” But what the hell does that mean?

I have made and maintained incredibly strong friendships. I have found and married the man of my dreams. I have given birth to two beautiful children. I work hard, daily, teaching sixth grade students that the pronoun “I” is capitalized, always. Are these things not important? Are these things not worth remembering?

As I move into the acceptance phase of turning 30, I am going to try to focus not on what I have not yet done, but on what I have achieved. I’m not saying I’m going to stop trying to accomplish more; I do still have ambition. It’s just that if my life were to (God forbid) end tomorrow, I like to think it’s been a successful one. I suppose by most standards it’s been pretty ordinary, but there’s something extraordinarily glorious about that.

Here’s to (at least) another 30.