When I wake up on September 28, I will have turned 30. I may not have the life the 10 year-old me thought I'd have (Married to Joey McIntyre, living in Beverly Hills, and being a teacher who also rescues whales). Nor do I have the life I imagined at 20 (Married to John Mayer, getting paid to write short stories, living the bohemian lifestyle in a Mediterranean town). And I don't even have the life I envisioned just one year ago (New apartment with the boyfriend, perhaps an address in a different city, traveling to other countries).
But I do have this life: kick-ass librarian, finally loving her hometown, building a reputation, smiling, writing, friendships, exploring, traveling, knowing my inner strength and kicking the sh*t out of life. Hell, John Mayer is still single. So you know, I still have a chance with that.
Many people tell you that "30 is the new 20" and how much better their 30s are than anything that came before. I'm not sold yet. On my worst days it's hard to see how my single, struggling world can compete against those of you who are settled down, house-owning, child-bearing, etc. But I'm a lot more confidant than I was even just three months ago. Because the grass is always greener on the other side. And chances are if I had what the 29-year old me, my birthday would be a couple of cupcakes that I wouldn't eat and a gift someone didn't even wrap. Instead, the past two weeks have been filled with night's out, plenty of drinks, dinner, dates, family and friendship.
So tonight's list are just some reminders that are going to help make 30 and beyond memorable.
What do I strive for?
1. Inner peace. Understanding that whatever fates are thrown my way that I can handle it. I want this to be sustaining, not fleeting. And a peace I can share with others.
2. A return trip to Europe. I read an article in the Herald Tribune when I lived in Greece that talked about how a man didn't want to visit the Acropolis until he could take his significant other. I made a similar promise to myself when I left. But now, I'm revoking it. I'd like to see my Greek roots again, walk the streets of Paris with Hemingway and Hadley, and ride a bike in Denmark. If I wait around for someone to share it with, I may miss it all completely.
3. Another degree. I haven't quite figured out which one, where and why. And that's okay. I'm already enjoying the fun of exploring. Will I try for my MFA, prove naysayers wrong and write a book ? Will I go back for my PhD and find myself in academia in an unlikely way. Oh, I love school.
4. Become fitter. I'm a fan of my body. I talk about my curves a lot. But I want to charge my way into the next decade feeling healthier. First step? Well, I just signed up to walk a half-marathon in 3.5 hours.
5. Be a better friend. Write letters once again. Buy those gifts I was meaning to send. Call more often, not text. Be the shoulder to cry on after I've cried on so many. Throw elbows on the dance floor. Whatever it takes.
6. Kick the Sh*t out of Life. Because living beyond 30 isn't a guarantee for any of us. Because I want to smile and laugh every day and none of this is a dress rehearsal.
Alright, 30. Here we go: low-Fat, whole wheat, green-tea. Bring on what you've got.
And readers? Why IS 30 the new 20? Let's discuss.