I have been dreading my 30th birthday for over a year.
There is something that seems so grown up about being 30.
Something that whispers about how I should have my life together by now and how I should totally have that retirement fund started.
Something that mocks my credit card debt and my student loans (which I'm still accruing at 30).
Something that looks over the vast, beautiful landscape of the miles I've traveled through my 20's and says, "What the hell have you been doing for the last 10 years?!"
Part of me wishes there was some magical potion you could drink on your 30th birthday that erases the past ten years of mistakes, returns your credit card balance to zero, and forgives all that student loan debt you'll probably be paying on until your 65.
But, the other part of me-the part of me that has been weathered and worn over the last ten years and who has watched herself grow up through each and every storm-wouldn't change a single thing about the last ten years for anything.
Because over the last ten years:
- I've watched myself go from spoiled child bride to an independent, driven woman who knows what it truly means to be grateful for every single penny you basically kill yourself to earn.
- I've given birth and realized just how much a tiny human can teach you about yourself, sleep deprivation, patience, and how little you care about the world's opinion when it comes to your crying baby in the middle of Wal-mart and the puke on your clothes.
- I've fought tooth and nail for every single college credit I've earned. I've pretty much worked full-time and had to take care of another human being throughout my entire college career and I am here to tell you that I am better because of it. December 2016 cannot get here soon enough!
- I found a career that I love and that is so completely different from anything I ever thought I wanted to do. I am living proof that it's completely okay if you don't know at 18 years old what you want to be when you grow up.
- I have known young love. The kind of love that is exciting and so full of promise, but is not strong enough to withstand the challenges that come with growing up.
- I have known real heartbreak. The kind that still lingers years later, but makes you better, stronger, and wiser.
- I've learned that not all promises are based on truth and that all lies even the most beautiful ones always hurt. Always.
- I have come to know that for some things in this life you will never get an apology, and that part of growing up is learning to accept apologies your never going to get.
- I've struggled through my first three years of co-parenting and learned what it means to find common ground with someone you have so little in common with anymore, because it's just better that way. Trust me.
- I have found that honesty really is the best policy and I have come to prefer this no filter version of myself.
- I have embraced the awkward, crazy, beautiful woman-girl who stares back at me from my mirror. I wouldn't trade the self-acceptance and self-confidence I now have for anything...not even another walk through my twenties.
- I have finally found a love that is good and true. A forever kind of love. A grace for this moment kind of love-the kind of love that makes me feel safe and accepted no matter what the days or years may bring.
It's been a good run, and you know, I'm really proud of her-the woman I've become.
I may not have it all together and my life may not appear to be as grown up as it's supposed to be, but that's okay.
In my book, I still get another ten years.
Because whether or not you can see it, I have done a lot of growing over the last ten years, and something tells me that my thirties are going to be the best years yet.
I can't wait to watch my beautiful first grader grow into the brillant young woman I can already see her becoming. I can't wait to help her pick out her first dress for her first dance, and help her study for her driver's license. I can't wait to see what her hobbies will be in ten years or to help her start making decisions about college.
I can't wait to marry the man of my dreams in 232 days. The man whose going to build dreams with me and make babies with me. The man whose going to love me through my best years that have been made possible by my crazy, reckless years. The man who has taught me more about God's grace and mercy than I ever knew was possible. The man who sees beauty and strength in me even when I can't see it myself. My forever love. My future.
I can't wait for our life to start-me and him and her-all of us together. I can't wait to see how our family is going to grow and to experience all of the blessings I know are coming. I can't wait to weather storms with them, and cry with them. I can't wait to laugh with them, and experience the joy that will come from a family that is just ours. Me and him and her.
I can't wait to see where my career takes me, and to see where each door He opens leads.
I can't wait to finish school and finally get my degree.
I can't wait to finally write my book. THE book. The world should just start preparing now.
I can't wait.
The next ten years is going to be amazing.
Just you wait and see.
So, this post is for my twenties.
Thank you for all the lessons learned and all the memories made.
Thank you for helping me find the woman I was always supposed to be.
And thank you for bringing me to this place that isn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.
Because today is less about what I'm going to miss about my twenties, and more about all the things I have to look forward to in my thirties.