A letter to myself & anyone else struggling with birthdays and numbers and feeling ill-prepared.
I wanted to write you a letter, but I’m having trouble with the words. I’m not sure what brilliant or witty 30 pieces of advice I can come up with. I feel a little unprepared for this.
Turning 30 feels so big. I know it’s been tough to stop equating turning thirty with all your ideas of what it’s supposed to look like. (You’re supposed to have it all together by thirty, aren’t you??)
Really, I wanted to tell you is that it’s all ok. You don’t have it all figured out — what you’re passion is, what you should be doing, who you really are, why you’re here on this earth. And that’s ok.
Sometimes, people don’t find their answers until later. It’s easier to hear all this stuff than to really know it. But it’s true. I’ve seen it. People make big career changes. People go back to school. They move across the country. Some people never ask themselves the big questions, or give themselves time to come up with their answers.
Sometimes, I think there might not be specific, perfect answers. It’s ok to change. It’s even ok to drift a bit. And it’s ok to feel stressed out or anxious about it. Trying to force yourself to stop will only make it worse. I know you always try to get things “perfect,” and get down on yourself when you don’t. But you never will. And you aren’t supposed to. So give yourself a break.
I know looking around can be painful. I know you’ve Pinned that quote, that “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and you really love how it sounds. But it’s hard for online quotes to really sink in on the level you want them to. Sit with it for a while. Seriously remember it.
Maybe shut down Instagram for a bit, even if it feels like it’s inspiring. Maybe wait to read blogs, even the ones you love, until you’ve had the time to write your own, with no one else’s words or pictures in your head.
I love the idea of sharing our lives with each other in this bizarre way that we have online. And I think there can be a lot of beauty in it. But at the end of the day, you have to shut it all down, and just be with yourself in the actual moment of it.
My wish for you this year, as you’re falling into your 30s, is to remember what it feels like to love yourself. As a thirty-year-old, you do not have to have your shit together. You don’t need to feel regret or guilt for not being on any other timelines than the exact one you are on right now. (But I know sometimes you will. And like I said before, that’s ok, too.)
You are not wherever it is that you had in mind. When you were ten, and you considered thirty, maybe you imagined that you would feel like a grown up, have a husband, and a house, and be someone’s mom.
But there was no real life in that scenario. Life at thirty-minus-two-days is a hell of a lot messier than you probably ever thought it should be. But you’ve also learned more and felt more and grown more than you probably ever thought in your thirty-year-old scenarios when you were younger, too.
So, good job getting right to this point. It is exactly where you’re meant to be. It does not necessarily mean you’re closer to any endings (even though you can’t get that dread out of your thoughts this week). And it doesn’t mean you’re any farther from fun and light-heartedness and a body that you love. It just means that you have all these memories to cherish — the great ones and the awful ones — for bringing you right to this moment.
It means you’re lucky enough to have been here for another beautiful year.
As a thirty-year-old, you can wear a silly birthday hat that your mom bought you (no? just me?), and invite your college roommate down for a sleepover, and write a rent check to your very own second-floor-with-a-balcony apartment that you share with your boyfriend. That’s definitely not what you thought thirty would look like, but you can be so glad that it does.
So seriously, good job. When you turn thirty in two days, please get out of your own head (which is the only place these number-induced issues are happening), eat a slice of cake, hug the people around you, and just celebrate the possibilities of this next awesome year.