Monday, November 28, 2011

These Thirty Years

I turned thirty years old today.

"How does it feel?" That's the question I keep getting.

Actually? Pretty fantastic.

I've never been one to get upset over birthdays. The way I feel is however old you get, it's better than the alternative, right? Like, someday November 28th will roll around, and that autumn I won't be there to greet it. This autumn I am, give me my cake and let's celebrate enough to make up for all the years before 1981 and all the years after (super secret death date) that you won't have me!

My life so far has been really wonderful. I'm happy to be turning thirty. Truth be told, my twenties were ten years I feel good closing the door on. They feel completed, and any regrets I collected along the way I corrected by the conclusion.

When I look back on my early twenties, it's with a cringe. I don't like who I was then, I don't like where I was going. I played it too safe, and ended up in the wrong job and a relationship that was falling to pieces. In playing it safe I never realized how many mistakes I was making. Then, unrelated and out of nowhere, life gave me a big ol' benign tumor. And I was sick for two years. I look back on that time, weirdly enough, more fondly now. I grew then.

Again literally, but in a more serious sense, I grew a lot as a person. As I spent time in and out of hospitals, receiving blood transfusions and riding in ambulances, a lot of the young girl melodrama had to melt away. Suddenly the hysterics that I'd pulled over things as stupid as a fight with a college boyfriend or getting scheduled on a day off at work lost their place in the face of an actual problem. I wish you no harm, but everyone should have at least one real problem early in life. It does wonders for the ego. You come out of the forest a humbled rabbit.

Everyone should have to weather one real scandal too, it lends perspective. You're less likely to reach for a stone when you've been on the other end of the aim.

By my mid twenties, playing it safe had completely blown up in my face. And I recovered by, you guessed it. Playing it safe. I worked a 9-5 as a personal banker, I rented a little apartment by myself, and I was actually pretty content. In the evenings I painted and worked on comics. It was enough.

Then I fell in love, with Ryan (you know, my husband). We'd been friends for years, but it took one date for it to click that he was the one. Five days after that first date, Ryan asked me to move 3000 miles to live with him in Washington.

What insanity, right? What if it hadn't worked out? It was absolutely crazy, but I said yes without hesitation. I can't explain it. Sometimes all the pieces just fall into place. Sometimes you just know someone is 'the one'. I had played it safe for years, and here was my chance to take a huge risk.

And so my late twenties saw me packing up my apartment, my cat, and my life and moving out west with a friend turned true love. I quit the bank, said good bye to health benefits and retirement plans. Once in the west, encouraged by Ryan who would remind me my degree wasn't in banking each time I thought of applying to a job in finance, I began to paint full time. In a few months I began selling prints of my work.

Falling for my husband made all the difference in my life, and I feel like that's the person who is meant to be your partner. If we're lucky at some point in our lives we meet someone who sees us through the facades, through the sum of our failures and struggles, and pushes us to be the person we would have been before all the stuff that got in the way. We can be ourselves one hundred percent with them, the way we were when we were children, before we were told how to act, before we were told what would hurt us. And that's the person you should marry.

I wish I had moved out of state earlier in my life. It's hard to fall back on negativity and excuses once you realize we really do have complete control over where we are and what we're doing. Sickness and death remain uncertain, but that just goes back to loving every birthday. Pray for good health, and go choose your own adventure.

Now on my first day of my thirties, I just mailed five--FIVE--Etsy packages to customers from all over the country. New York, Michigan, Oregon, and two to California. I live on the west coast, I've still got my cat from RI and now we have a cat from Washington too. I have health benefits again. I spent Saturday night singing karaoke with west coast friends, and today on the phone with east coast friends. I'm going to dinner with my wonderful husband, who I love to pieces. It doesn't get better than this.

And if it does, I bet it will be called "Forty".

So, I'm feeling on top of the world today. I've been listening to this song the past few weeks, and I'll share it here, because it feels right for the occasion!

1 comment:

  1. You'll rock your 30s! When I hit 30, I was a bit blue. Chuck asked why, I said I felt like I had to act like a grown-up. "No you don't! Just be YOU"
    No more blues, and one more reason I love that guy.

    Many Happy Returns on your birthday. May the good Lord bless you with many more, and loving people to share them with.


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