Some Thoughts on Turning 30

Some thoughts on turning 30

So I know this is going to sound very basic of me… but I’ve somehow found myself watching “Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami” again for the first time in 10 years. It gives me so much nostalgia and brings me back to another time in life that maybe subconsciously I’ve wanted to reflect on a bit. A time when I was 19, had only had my cat Moo for probably 6 months or so, lived with my best friends, worked retail, was still in school… the list goes on but you get the idea. Life was SO different than it is now. I just can’t help but feel super sentimental and reflective lately, as my 30th birthday is now less than one week away. The first decade of my adult life is officially coming to a close. And I have some thoughts on turning 30.

I read somewhere that turning 30 signals the “end of youth.” And, I won’t lie to you, reading that panicked me a bit. The end of youth? What will that mean? Will aging start to kick in to high gear? Will I still be the same person I was in my 20’s? How will I feel in this next decade? What all will it bring? Will I feel…old? And what’s so funny about this train of thought, is that I think back to 19 year old Sarah watching Kourtney and Khloe live it up in Miami and how I just WISHED to be their age (about the age I am now). I couldn’t help but feel like they had so much more autonomy than I. And they did (and still do) for more reasons than just age, but at 19 years old all you want is to be “older.” More “mature.” And then you actually do get older and more mature. You’re in the sweet spot that you wanted so badly,  but now with the realization that time keeps moving no matter what you do. Soon you’ll be 40, 50, 60 and so on.

And here I am, at 29, about to be 30, years old, watching that show all over again, with such a new perspective. The only thing that’s really stayed the same since then is that myself and Moo are still there, watching it together. It’s wild to me how much can happen in a decade. And how life seems to move at a steady pace, but when you look back it seems as though it’s raced by. One of my favorite quotes is by C.S. Lewis: it goes- “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.”

Dan recently helped me to realize I’ve potentially been reflecting a bit too much. I have a habit of looking back on past moments and thinking about “the good times.” But lately, I’m remembering more and more of all there is to look forward to, too. We were at dinner the other night and, as I was cataloging all the things I’d done in my 20’s (trying to convince myself that it was enough) Dan asked me a very important question: “What goals do you have for your 30’s?”

That question helped get me out of a mindset in which it was sad that something was ending, and get excited for this new chapter that’s just beginning. I surprised myself with all the goals and dreams I had for this next decade, and was even more surprised at how possible it all felt. Not sure about you, but I vividly remember my early 20’s feeling like I was just trying to keep my head above water. I had just moved out of my parents house, was going to college and working full-time and I felt like I had no idea how the world worked- even though I’d been so confident that I did at the age of 18.. LOL. Everyday felt like a new adventure and a new problem to solve.

Going into your 30’s feels entirely different. We’ve stayed afloat this long, figured things out (at least more than we had at 20), and know how to swim SO much better. We have a foundation of knowledge, wisdom and connections that we did not get to start out with 10 years ago. We’ve learned more about ourselves and what we want out of life, and have even more power to make shit happen. And the thought of that makes turning 30 feel pretty damn good.

Actually, the thought of that makes getting older in general feel pretty damn good. Think about all you’ve done in your 20’s- that was just your first decade of really being a self-sufficient “adult.” Now you get to do it a few more times over and you get to keep solidifying your foundation, dreaming bigger, and experiencing more of what this life has to offer. Youth is nice and all, but I’d say living a full, long life beats that tenfold. That’s not to say I or you or anyone else will or should never find themselves in existential crises about getting older, but having this perspective will help bring you back around to the bright side. It’s not “aging” that scares me about the years passing by- it’s the years passing by at all. The lack of control, how we can’t rewind the clock and go back ever again. But the bright side is that we have this perspective NOW, not at the end of our lives when we look back and realize we never thought of it like that, and let some of the most precious moments pass us by without a second thought.

If you have this perspective now, it means you can truly live. You know our time is limited, and it can encourage you to take risks, not take yourself so seriously, love yourself and others fully, and trust that there is a bigger picture, even in the darkest of times. It’s a fine line to balance upon- one that runs between feeling absolutely terrified about the passing of time and letting that fear paralyze you, and feeling apathetic toward it all together, never the wiser that each moment is precious.

In between those, is a perspective in which we know time is limited, and so we lean in and ENJOY each and every precious moment. Everything is brighter, more beautiful, more magical. Even the simple, mundane things. No, we can’t stop the passing of time, but we can slow it down just a little bit when we pause in the moment- hug a little longer, say I love you one more time, and look at our lives with an “outside looking in” perspective to remind ourselves of all that we’re grateful for. These are the moments that remind us that the more years we live, the more opportunities we have to do all these things and more. Which means that the more years we live, the more beautiful moments, love and gratitude we have.

Maybe to some leaving your 20’s might be the technical leaving of “youth,” but regardless, what an honor it is to be here at all, and to be blessed with another year to grow, to experience, to change, and to live. That’s something I’ll take over “youth” any day. So cheers to getting older and appreciating all the moments we have gotten to experience, and all the ones we’ve yet to. May we soak in each and every one of them and not ruminate on the “good ol days” or wait to be happy in some hypothetical perfect world we think is coming for us in the future. May we stay present to slow down time just enough, so when we look back many many years from now… we know we lived our lives fully and well. That’s the real goal, if you ask me.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: 28 Things I’ve Learned in 28 Years

Dress is old from Resa.

2 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Turning 30

  1. Beautiful thoughts, Sarah! Life has so many ups and downs and I love your thoughts on staying present to enjoy what life has to offer.

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