Friday, February 17, 2012

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving*


So it happened. I turned 30 last week. And it honestly wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I don't feel any different really. If anything, I feel more confident and in control of my life than I ever have.

After I ended my engagement, there was a brief period where I felt like my life was in a bit of a holding pattern. I'm not sure what exactly I was holding out for. If I'm being honest, I was probably so used to being in a relationship that I waiting for the next one even though I was not even close to ready at that time.

Shortly before Christmas two years ago, I was thinking about replacing my dishes and mentioned that I had thought about putting new ones on my wishlist, but didn't know if I should since I would eventually register for them when I got married. My mom gave me a very valuable piece of advice. She told me "No, absolutely not. If you want new dishes- get new dishes. You cannot live your life in a holding pattern waiting for something that is out of your control."

Over the past few years I've taken that advice and applied it to several areas of my life, and I've never been happier. Now I don't wait to cook for a date as an excuse to open a $20 bottle of wine. I don't wait for the perfect house to buy a new piece of furniture. I don't wait for a permanent travel buddy to galavant across Europe.

I'll drink that nice bottle with nothing but a cheese plate and call it dinner.
I'll stick a fancy Crate & Barrel hutch in my urban rental.
I'll plan a trip with damn near anyone that wants to see a part of the world I haven't been to yet.

I think it's a much better way to look at life than fretting over being 30 and single.

I was talking to one of my guy friends the other day (who is 33) and he said that he wouldn't date a girl younger than 28 because he thought that most women grew up immensely between the ages of 25 and 30. His observations were that women around the age of 30 were significantly more confident, independent, and interesting to have a conversation with than women in their early 20's.

I couldn't agree more.

When I was 25, I pretty much defined train wreck. My finances were a disaster, I was in a toxic relationship, and I had absolutely no direction professionally. I had a hard time behaving like an adult because I didn't feel like an adult. I think that had a significant impact on my professional life in particular. It's only been in the last year or so that I sincerely feel like I can walk into a room and take control of it in a professional capacity. I have no idea if it's the lessons learned or the ever so slight lines that have started creeping into my face, but I find that people have begun to take me seriously. I don't feel like I'm pretending anymore and that is such a nice perk of this getting older business.

My whole point being, 30 is not so terrible after all. Is my life where I thought it would be when I was 18? No, but in some ways it's a lot better than I could have imagined. I've always thoroughly enjoyed having the freedom to do as I please- so I feel like in a lot of ways, my life is very fitting. Maybe I will get married, maybe I won't. Who knows, but over the last two years I've made the conscious decision not to live life in a holding pattern hoping that I will wake up on the set of a romantic comedy. I am going to embrace 30 with everything I have and travel, cook, explore, and live life as thoroughly as I can.

If I've learned one thing from watching my friends, it's that the whole marriage thing is very sneaky. One day you're single and the next you're saving for a college fund. I hope to eventually have the incredible honor of saving for a college fund, but until then I plan to spend my money on adventures and plane tickets so I'll have some awesome stories to tell my kids one day.

Older, ever so slightly wiser, and looking forward to the future... Bring it, 30!


*Bonus points if you can name the movie without cheating.

6 comments:

The Waspy Redhead said...

To say that I love this post would be an understatement. I never thought I would be 29/darn near thirty and where I am right now. But I recently decided not to wait to see if I got married to get my shit together. I'm fixing my finances, am at a GREAT place in my career and trying to do all my thinking and planning based on just me. Because maybe there will be more than just me someday, but maybe there wont... and that has to be ok too.

I was a trainwreck when I was younger too. Still have shades of that from time to time.

Happy Happy Happy belated birthday to you friend. Wishing you a very blessed and fun future.

L A C E Y said...

happy birthday! it's really easy to get stuck in that holding pattern... regardless of your age or relationship status! i'm glad you are loving life - you deserve it!!

Tiffany said...

First of all, happy birthday! Welcome to the 30 club!! This post is so great. And I relate to it so much. I have put many things on hold waiting for a baby and in the past year I've gone through the same "live MY life" transformation and it's so freeing. I still want a baby, it's just not dictating my every day and holding me back from things I want to do. Maybe one day we can drink that nice bottle of wine over a cheese tray together and chat! Enjoy 30!!

Jodi McCauley said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!! You are an amazing woman and I'm so happy to see you comfortable in your skin. It's a beautiful quality!!

Xoxo

PS: how did the 30 by 30 turn out?

The Connaughton's said...

Natty,

Hope you had a great bday! Very well said, and I think you are amazing, beautiful and so very confidant!! Here's to a wonderful year............

and is it Sex and the City line?

Whitney

Maggie said...

As a veteran of the 30s now (I'm almost 34!), I'm so happy to see you kicking ass and taking names. I can't tell you how many people I've watched approach so many things you wrote about here in exactly the wrong way. You're doing everything right... I mean really, you should teach a class on this stuff :-)