I’m turning 30 this year, and the birthdays that end in 0 are always good for making one take greater note of them than one might otherwise. This one feels milestoney and appropriate: I’m a mother, a wife, a homeowner, a business partner – I’m ready to be done with my 20s, which I associate mainly with moving (over a dozen times since I graduated high school and left my parents’ house) and desperate love affairs (though this will be our five-year wedding anniversary, so I guess that one really bleeds back into my teens).
What I’m thinking about now is the next third of my life. What have I learned about myself and the world in 30 years that will help me be happier, more effective, less afraid? What have I learned about love that will help me love more, more openly, more often? What do I know about my own strengths and weaknesses, and how can I accept and use that knowledge?
Because, let’s face it: This thing where sometimes I forget to do what I’ve said I’m going to do? I’ve been doing that for 30 years now. So it would probably be more useful to work on strategies for managing that tendency than stockpiling shame and defensiveness about each and every “single isolated mistake.” Ditto to getting depressed in the winter, getting grouchy when dinner is late, and feeling overwhelmed when I haven’t balanced the checkbook in too long and the pile of receipts is too big and we’re broke anyway so I might as well put it off until next week but I won’t ask for help because it’s supposed to be my job. Pointless.
And yes, there’s the mortality thing. Our friends have slipped disks and hernias and cancer - I know half a dozen people under 40 who have cancer, some of them younger than me. I want to see the next 30 years and then the 30 after that, and not from a hospital bed. I want to play with Sonora’s grandchildren. What can I do now to help that happen?
I don’t think I did this, ten years ago. I suppose I was still invincible and immortal then and didn’t need to.