Last week I turned the big THREE OH and I’ve been trying to write a profound post about it. I mean it’s a major milestone. It’s the end of an era and the beginning of the rest of my life. I’m expected to “know better” and “do better” now because I’ve spent three decades wandering on this planet.
Apparently, 30 years of being alive is enough to have it all figured out. For some reason we think that our lives are supposed to be “together” by then. But that’s not my story, in fact my story is quite the opposite. My story is that I’m starting over at 30. I’m just beginning to know who I am at 30. I’m finally honest enough to pursue what I really want for my life at 30. And I think I may be ready to cut all the bullshit now…at 30.
To be honest, I don’t have anything really profound to tell you. I don’t know the magic answer for getting through your tumultuous twenties. But for what it’s worth, here is what I have figured out so far…
1. SHIT HAPPENS! Despite my best intentions, shit happened. I fell in love with the WRONG man too many times. Been arrested too many times. I had a baby out of wedlock. I was a married and divorced. SHIT HAPPENES and it continues to happen. It’s a part of life. And I hope I’m not bursting any bubbles when I say that there is NOTHING you can do to prevent it from happening. It just does. At some point you will fuck up. You will have your heart broken. You may lose someone you love. Your boyfriend may cheat on you. You may flunk out of college. Or spend five years studying something you really have no future in. You may have a life-threatening illness. You may lose your job. Any number of things may happen in this life. But you must fight the negativity and the hardship with all you have. Never surrender, never give up. Never let a current situation take away your will to live or to do better. Shit happens to everyone. I am not unique or special because of the things that I have been through. I wasn’t dealt a bad deal. IT’S LIFE! And I had two choices in the matter. Let it control me (which I did for a long time) or take hold of it, learn from it and use to be a better version of myself. Truth is, I am so much stronger because of the crap that happened to me. It made me who I am and continues to inspire me to higher heights.
2. Be true to myself. Society has all these expectations. My parents have expectations. My friends have expectations. But none of it means a damn thing unless they align with my heart’s desire. I have spent far too many years trying to meet the expectations of people and institutions all the while failing to meet my own. Somewhere along my journey I switched gears and started to do things that made ME feel good. And along the way I have chosen paths that some people in my life did not support. I have stood alone in decisions that I’ve had to make. It wasn’t easy. But every night when I lay my head against my pillow I feel at peace. I can’t tell you the last time I have truly had a restless night. Definitely not in the last two years. Because I learned the value of being true to myself. I started to make decisions that aligned with my purpose and my heart’s desire. I focused less on what other people expected of me and more on what I expected of myself. And in focusing on me, I found peace, serenity and genuine happiness.
3. You get more than just two chances. In fact, you get as many chances as you give yourself. I learned recently that I can start over whenever I want to. I can reinvent myself as many times as I need to. I can change my mind when something doesn’t feel right. I have more than just two chances. I don’t have to settle for the life I have, I can create the life I want. If I want to I can make the same mistakes repeatedly, so long as I am prepared to suffer the same consequences. And even better, I can forgive myself for my mistakes and do things differently next time. If I am breathing, I have another chance to be something great. I don’t have to live in regret. I’ve made tons of mistakes but I found my purpose through them and they are the best lessons I have ever learned and the only real lessons that I can share.
4. I will love again. I remember when I had my first real heartbreak. I really believed that this man was my soul mate and I did not know how I was going to live without him in my life. I remember the tears I cried for him, thinking that I would never love another. But I did. I got over it. I met someone new. I loved him too. We got married and had babies. And that didn’t work out either. For a while, I thought that this whole love thing probably wasn’t for me. But then I fell in love with myself. For the first time in my whole life I learned what love was. And in loving myself I realized that I am bursting with love to share. My heart just keeps healing itself, even after all the hurt it has felt. And I am such a hopeless romantic. I live for the happily ever after. So it doesn’t matter how many more heartbreaks I must endure, I KNOW I WILL LOVE AGAIN. My King will come. He will give me butterflies. He will take my breath away. I will love again and He will love me back.
5. God is real. Whatever face or name you put to it, God is so freaking real. Over the last few years I have developed such an awesome relationship with the God of my own understanding. And it’s not the same as what I believed as a child, adolescent or even young adult. It’s not the same as it was last year. It continues to evolve and change because it’s so personal. The relationship grows as I do. And now the God that I seek on a daily basis exists within me. God is the power that wakes me up each day. He is the laughter of my children. The ray of sunshine through my window. The melanin in my skin. God is love. God is everything that is good in my life. And God is real. The most important thing I’ve ever done was to seek God and find Him on my own. My purpose is validated every day through my connection to Him. I am sustained by it. It awakens my spirit. It gives me life. When I feel lost, I find direction in it. When I feel hopeless, I find hope. When I am afraid, I find courage. When I am confused, I find clarity. I find everything I need within my relationship with God. And if I have that, I know everything else will fall into place.
And you know what, that’s it. That’s what these 30 years have given me and I couldn’t be more grateful. I have a beautiful, unconventional family. My three sons are the light of my life. I have some awesome friends. An amazing job. Life is good and I am blessed.
The road to 30 has been one awesome hell of a ride. But I’m more excited about the next 30. The lessons I’ve learned, the success I’ve achieved…it is all going to be the perfect recipe for an epic mid life crisis! (Come on…laugh with me!) And I can’t wait. I really cannot wait to experience more of life. To learn some more. To laugh some more. To love some more. To spend a little more time being strong, being courageous and being GREAT!!!