List # 98: Through the Ages

If you're a regular reader of blogs you are probably familiar with the meme that I'm taking on today. Since this is THE WEEK I'll be turning 30 that will probably be the theme in my posts for the next few days. People keep asking me what I'm doing for my birthday, or how I'm feeling, and the answers are pretty simple. I don't have any immediate plans for my 30th birthday. It's on a Wednesday, I have lunch plans with my coworkers and plans to eat pie in the evening. I'm meeting some new friends on Friday night and some old friends and I are road tripping it to WV next month.

There won't be any flowers sent to my office, no gifts to unwrap when I wake up, no surprises from someone who cares enough to plan surprises. And right now, I'm okay with this. My brain is just telling me it's another birthday and my heart is telling me that reaching another decade doesn't mean I have to freak out.  We'll see if that holds up.

But for today, a recap of 30 years:

30 years ago: I was born to my parents who have now been married for 31 years. I was the first grand-baby on my father's side of the family and my parent's first child. Our family is large; I have over 40 first-cousins. I cried and babbled a lot. In some respects not much has changed in 30 years.

20 years ago: I was a Catholic school girl in the fifth grade. My favorite things to do were to play Barbies and read. And my best friend and I would play house every weekend and pretend that we were poor and had to scavenge her backyard for food to feed our baby dolls. I took ballet lessons and my littlest brother wasn't even one.

15 years ago: I was a sophomore in high school. I'd been kissed but wouldn't have sex for another five years. And though I was crushing hard, I had never had a serious boyfriend and really wouldn't until my final years of college. I was an above average student and had yet to hit the point in high school where I was desperate to leave and ready for new friends.

10 years ago: 20 years old, a college junior. 9/11 and the world was different. AOL instant messenger was an integral part of my day, I was my sorority's VP and I loved living in a large, turn-of-the-century barnhouse with my friends. I made out a lot.

5 years ago: 25 and I was back from living in Greece. I was a teacher and already realizing it wasn't quite for me. I would be quitting at 26.  I was trying on a person who was too boring for my taste. I'd travel to Texas, support friends through break-ups and celebrate friends with engagements. And honestly felt that my real person was waiting just around the bend.

3 years ago: 27 and I had just met the man who I thought was going to be the love of my life. By October he would be telling me he loved me. We were getting ready to elect a President we believed was going to change the world. I had been rejected and accepted into graduate school. And for the first time in my adult life, I was excited and happy to be living in Pittsburgh.

1 year ago: 29 and I was just about to start applying for a new job that I would earn and love. Graduate school had changed my life and I met friends who "saved" my life. The man I thought was going to be the love of my life was sleeping next to me every night. I loved him with all of my heart, even if we were poor and stressed and we weren't having much sex. I remember my birthday being sweet but the relationship would end in just 4 months and the rest of 29 would be nothing like I pictured.

Today: I'm going to be 30. And for the first time in my life I would agree that the adjective jaded describes me. I go to work every day loving my job and my wardrobe has dramatically improved. I'm not afraid to wear red lipstick but I can be very afraid of what lies ahead. I've had a rotating list of men who want to spend time with me, but sometimes it's just boring. I try not to feel lost and am thankful for a strong (though sometimes annoying) family and wonderful friends with more patience and heart that I even knew existed.

Tomorrow: I hope to move onward and upward. I want to write and travel more. I want to embrace new things and keep meeting new friends. I might be scared, but I have faith that everything will settle and my place will be found. I desperately want to believe that someone is looking for me too, but am realizing that life doesn't have that ended for everyone. And I'm going to buy my own card catalog one day.

So, wise readers. Do you have any advice for a girl in my shoes as she tries to hit her 30s running?

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