Today is my thirtieth birthday. It is a surreal feeling switching into a new decade of life. I do not feel thirty, or perhaps thirty doesn’t feel like I imaged. When I was turning twenty, thirty seemed so much older and ages away – now thirty feels young.

Since we entered into 2019, I have watched as my fellow 1989’ers turn the big 3-0. It has been interesting seeing people’s reactions to reaching this milestone in life. Some people have viewed it as no big deal. Others have agonized over it, dreading it, and groaning when it has happened. Some people just do not like getting older. I enjoy getting older. I have felt older most of my life, and now it feels like I am catching up to the age I have always felt. Plus, with age comes wisdom.

My twenties were a remarkable decade. I graduated from college and graduate school. I moved out on my own and fell in love with the city in which I still reside. I became an aunt, wife, and mom. I had incredible moments with friends who I now consider my family. I watched those same friends buy houses, get engaged, get married, get their dream jobs, and start families. I started having a better relationship with myself. I grew in faith and love. I had super high highs and low lows as well. But, overall, my twenties were fantastic, but I’m ready to bid them adieu.

Each year on my birthday, I take a moment to reflect on the past year. I like to acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses and determine where I can improve. However, this year was a little different. Throughout 2019 I have reflected on the past ten years and written down these observations, lessons, and understandings I have acquired. I have decided to share them with you today.

  1. Putting your trust in God can be tough, but it is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. Throughout this decade and especially over the last two years of getting pregnant and having my son Q, whenever I have felt overwhelmed, sad, frustrated, and confused – I have prayed and given it to God and things work out. I’ve also found that in giving my troubles to God, it lessens the burden on my shoulders, and that is a beautiful thing.
  2. From my observations, it seems many people struggle with turning 30 because they had an idea in their mind of where they would be at this age, and they aren’t there yet. I too have felt at certain times throughout my twenties that I was supposed to be at some subjective point and felt disappointed in myself that I wasn’t. But I have come to realize that all those times I felt that way, I was exactly where I needed to be. Every struggle, every triumph, it all happened for a reason.
  3. Perfection is an unattainable goal. You will never be perfect. Striving for perfection, I would argue, can even be detrimental. Instead, aim for your best. At least at the end of the day, you know you’ve given it your all.
  4. Strive to be healthy, not skinny. When I was in my early twenties, all I wanted was to be thin. Unrealistically thin. I measured myself by a number on a scale. I no longer feel that way. Instead, I focus on what makes me feel healthy. Movement makes me feel healthy. So I move as much as possible.
  5. There is a lot of negativity in the world, being able to recognize the positive and hold on to that is one of the healthiest habits you can master. It is also healthy to be able to know when to remove yourself from unhealthy and negative situations, people, and things. It doesn’t make you a bad person to remove negativity from your life.
  6. Everyone has a right to be happy. Maybe you are not happy all day every day, but if you find that you are unhappy more than you are happy, it is time to make a change.
  7. Fear will handicap you if you let it. Instead, lean into it as much as possible. I have done this for the last six months, and I have had many new fun experiences (like playing paintball) and tried new exciting foods (like Thai). I have overcome more anxiety this past year by leaning into fear than I have experienced throughout my entire twenties.
  8. You can change whatever you need to change about yourself; it is all about the amount of effort you are willing to put in. And if you are going to change something about yourself, make sure you do it for you and not for another person. Doing it for someone else will not make the changes hold, and it could make you feel resentful.
  9. How you see, think, and talk about yourself affects everything else around you. If you consistently put yourself down and think negatively about yourself, no one else will be able to help you see yourself differently. It will also drive people and opportunities away. Change your self-talk.
  10. Feeling your feelings and emotions is fine but being able to control your feelings and emotions gives you power. I struggled with anger for a good chunk of my twenties, and I recognize now that letting my anger get the best of me gives away all my power. It took a lot of mindfulness to change the way I dealt with my anger, but I am better for it.
  11. Women supporting other women is the best. Since becoming a mom, I have found that the support I receive from other moms, even if it is just a “Hey, you are doing great” or a “like” on a post, feels fabulous. In my early twenties, I’ll admit I had moments of envy towards other women, and it transpired negatively, but I no longer feel that way. I have discovered that supporting other women feels so much better.
  12. Asking for and seeking out help when you need it is a strength, not a weakness. Throughout my twenties, when I have struggled with things, I have sought out help, and it has honestly been the most significant thing I have ever done for myself. I am not sure why asking for help is still so stigmatized or why people feel ashamed of it.
  13. Finding a balance, especially as a new mom is tough. I completely underestimated how exhausting motherhood could be. Don’t get me wrong I love every second of it, but I struggle with striking a balance. I get rundown, sometimes I need a break even if it is just going and doing something for fifteen minutes without Q, but I feel guilty. I have been working on doing little things here and there for myself, and that has helped. My husband Bernard is also wonderfully helpful and encourages me to go and do too. 

Everyone tells me that your thirties are the best decade of your life – I have a feeling they are right!