I told myself years ago, I refused to fear turning 30. When I was 27, I began mentally rounding my age up to 30 — much to the annoyance of my husband. Once I was 28, I started telling people I was 30, unless their knowledge of my specific age really mattered. I figured this would make the closure of my second decade less unsettling.
It isn’t that I'm particularly excited about the impending 3-0. It’s that I have heard, repeatedly, from friends and acquaintances, that 30 hits hard, especially for women since our culture refuses to acknowledge that women do, and should, age.
Therefore, I'm not exactly excited about being in my thirties, but I'm certainly not upset about it either. In reality, I really like being an adult. Sure, I have to do boring things like pay rent, bills, and taxes. I have to fuel my car, buy groceries, do dishes, take out the trash, fold laundry, and all those other mundane chores that gradually become introduced throughout our adolescent lives. But suddenly, I'm a moderately self-sustaining human — for the most part. I feel like I fit into my own life now. At my age, I'm comfortable with myself.
As I grow older, I embrace so many more simple things that make me happy. I like to dance, so I tend to dance a lot — and I'm not even good! I love my funky, thick-rimmed glasses, and dying my hair bright colors that most would assume aren't natural. I have tattoos, and I really like them. When I get old, maybe they won't look so great, but neither will the rest of me — and that's okay!
I love that I have more confidence in my movements. I'm very tall, but I no longer shrink. I hold my shoulders back, and I make eye contact with strangers. I still have lingering social anxiety, and I’m nervous when faced with unfamiliar situations. But, I've learned to embrace those uncomfortable experiences as learning opportunities that I wouldn't have dreamed of overcoming at age 20.
The older I get, the more I realize that I don’t have to let people into my life. That sounds cold, but I don’t mean it in a negative way. I have grown from past experiences, and I can recognize the warning signs of sketchy personalities. I am able to maintain civil, kind interactions with people while avoiding the unnecessary drama some people inevitably crave. I don’t have to be friends with everyone. Human interactions aren’t all or nothing. If someone isn’t my friend, that doesn’t make him or her my enemy. We simply exist on different terms.
I have found many convictions I intentionally hold close to my heart, defining me as the person I want to be in this world. In turn, I know this world holds so much more I don’t know. That is what I have learned, having lived on this planet for almost 30 years. I am 29 for two more months, but I'm certainly not afraid of what's ahead.
This post was authored by Carly Swenson.