Numbers are such a relative thing. When I think about "thirty" most of the time I don't think it's that large of a number. Thirty M&M's--not very many. Thirty cheese puffs--uh, not nearly enough. $30--a sweater from Target (or two if they're on sale), not so bad. But thinking of thirty as my age is entirely different. Thirty suddenly seems like a lot of years.

Yes, today is my thirtieth birthday. Yesterday I went to bed still in my twenties and this morning I woke up in a whole new decade. I am thirty. 30. Wow. I don't say that in a bad way, just in a sort of surprised way. How in the world did thirty years of my life go by already? What is it about hitting this decade in particular that makes it feel like such a milestone?

Maybe it's because when I turned 20 I was still busy making plans for what I would do with my life. Now, I'm right in the midst of living my life. Thank God the naive ideas my twenty-year-old self devised turned out to be less than accurate.

I knew that someday I wanted to get married, but not until I was at least 28. How could I have known that I would meet such a smart, handsome, incredible man who would become my husband when I was just 26?

I knew that someday I wanted to have children, have a family, be a mom. But not until I was at least in my early 30's. Not until I was sure I did all that I wanted to do while I was "still young". How could I have known that my body and my heart would be ready to have my first girl when I was 27?

I knew that I would be a successful career woman who would make a difference in the world. I would never have guessed that I'd somehow have my dream job when I was 25. But how could I have possibly predicted that I would fall so in love with my daughter(s) that I would leave that dream behind to chase something that would fill my soul in ways I could never imagine.

The past decade has brought me so much heartache and self-discovery, so much joy and surprise and peace. Now, at thirty, I can say that I am happy and I feel settled. I have no idea what the next ten years or more will hold, but I think the difference today is that I don't have any intention of making plans.

I don't know how many kids we will end up having. I don't know how long we will stay in this house. I don't know if I'll get to live closer to family one day. But I do know that I feel great where I am right here in this moment. And I have the utmost faith that God will lead me where I'm supposed to be. That feels so much better than clinging to an amature map for my life that would surely take unforeseen turns.

After all, those turns are what make life interesting and oh so fufilling and leave me looking forward to all that is to come. Thirty years of life. So many years, yet so very few. I have so much yet to learn, discover and experience. This time, unlike my twenty-year-old self, I don't feel that I can hardly wait for all that life has to offer. Instead, I am wildly content with sitting back and letting life lead me.

Welcome, 30. It's nice to be here.   


em said...

Happy Birthday, big sister.

I loved you so much when you were 20, and I was 15.

But I had no way of knowing that i could love you so much more in 10 years.

I can't wait until your 40 :)

love and happiness on your day,

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

Happy happy birthday. If it makes you feel better, I have a few years on you and it isn't so bad. My babes have aged me, though! :)
I have been offline. Huge congrats are in order. She is gorgeous!

Ginny said...

I hope you had a great birthday!

sara said...

Em, you made me cry.

Nicola and Ginny, thank you for the well wishes! It was such a great day that I almost can't wait until next year. :)