As you might know, a few weeks ago I turned the Big 3-0. Yes, I know, it’s hard to believe, the girl that recently got carded for being old enough to sit in the exit row on a Southwest flight (you have to be at least 15 years old) is now double that age. But, just because I might not look it, doesn’t mean I’m not feeling it and the significance of it.
Those of you that know me well know that I love birthdays. A birthday is an entire day that is all about you (although Ryan would say that I think every day is all about me). But most importantly, birthdays involve my four most favorite things in the world: (1) getting cake; (2) getting to see all my friends; (3) getting my way for the whole day; and (4) getting presents. Wow, do I sound spoiled! :) And, of course, this year was no different in that respect. Ryan surprised me by getting us a suite at the Four Seasons and arranging an elaborate dinner party at Sleek in Lumiere Place with my closest friends, followed by a night in the casino. It was a blast and I had a fantastic time! However, despite the killer party, the realities of turning 30 took some time to get used to…this birthday was a little harder to swallow than most.
No matter which way you slice it, turning 30 is a significant milestone birthday. Unfortunately, I haven’t done all that well with milestone birthdays in the past. To me, “milestone” birthdays (18, 20, 21, 25) have felt more like the end of an era than the beginning of another great year. On each one I've done a whole lot of moping and no small amount of soul-searching, trying to figure out what I've done, who I am and where I'm going. And I’m always amazed at how silly and naïve I now think I was at the previous milestone birthday, reflecting on all the things I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown since the last one.
On this milestone birthday, I finally realized why I felt so mournful and worried about turning 30. I was grieving for the memories and times I was leaving behind and worrying about what the next year (and decade) would bring. Each milestone birthday (and each birthday for that fact) is the end of something - the end of another year of memories and achievements. The next year is unknown and can be pretty terrifying. At 18 I was sad to see the end of high school and scared of leaving my friends and moving to college. At 20 I was sad to see the end of my teens and nervous about “becoming an adult.” At 21 I was sad to leave behind all the memories of college and worried about what I was going to do after graduation. At 25 I was sad to leave law school and terrified about finally entering a career that would last the rest of my life. And now here I am at 30, not just mourning my 29th year, but sad to leave behind my entire 20s, a decade of having fun and just figuring out who I am. By the time you turn 30, you’re supposed to have it all figured out…right? Hmph.
However, there are some things I have figured out and lessons learned in the last few years that I would like to pass on to you and future generations:
- Hard work pays off – whether it’s dedicating time to studying for exams or training for a marathon, any job worth doing is worth doing well
- Laughter cures everything – seriously, everything . . . surround yourself with people that make you laugh
- Money doesn’t buy happiness – however, it sure helps to buy a lot of other pretty things that can temporarily make you happy
- Don’t compare yourself to any one else – chances are they’re either lying or you’re not getting the whole picture about their life. Just be grateful for what you have and feel free to lie to others about just how great your life is.
- Quality is more important than quantity – translation: 1 pair of Gucci shoes is way better than 5 pairs of non-Gucci shoes. (see also #3 above)
- The more I am just myself, the more people seem to like me – go figure!
- When life gives you lemons, make lemonade – then add vodka and call your girlfriends to bitch about those goddamn lemons and who the hell do they think they are, anyway
- My parents aren’t as stupid as I thought they were – actually, they might even be able to teach me a thing or two if I’d just be patient and listen
- I don't have to be friends with people who make me feel bad about myself – life’s too short to waste it trying to impress people who are just trying to impress other people
- My favorite place in the world is at home on the couch, snuggled up with my dog, my cat and my Ryan – absolute heaven
And I truly believe that even though my 20s were great, my 30s are going to be even better. There are still so many things to experience, see and do. During this next decade, I plan to marry the man of my dreams, start a family, make new friends (and keep the old), read more, travel more, challenge myself in new ways, and somehow (if it’s even possible), become a better person. I’m hoping my 30s bring me inner peace, grace and patience…and if not, at least more lemonade.