I told a friend of mine today, “I didn’t have a problem turning 30 because I barely remembered how to keep myself alive after the breakup. And now that I’m turning 31, I feel a little strange. I’m really in my thirties now. There’s no turning back.”
She said, “Look at what you’ve accomplished in the year you turned 30, though. Our twenties kind of just sucked. I think our thirties are going to be a time of change, growth, and awesomeness.”
Today, I’m turning 31. And it’s not really a milestone birthday or anything. I’m only really blogging about it because I didn’t blog when I turned 30. I didn’t do much of anything when I turned 30. I saw “Snow White and the Huntsman” with Anne and we laughed our heads off at Kristen Stewart and shared fries in a half-empty food court. I was trying to remember how to keep going after a hugely traumatic event in my life. I barely remember that birthday. I don’t remember the presents I got, and I don’t remember anything but that movie.
And over the past year, I have pockets of time that I just don’t remember. I maintain that our minds are so freakin’ amazing – they soften and slowly erase the hurt and the pain so that you just have blank, soft, grey pages with nothing written on them. Or maybe there is something, but it’s faint – so faint that you don’t want to bother to read it because it doesn’t really matter anymore.
But I’ve done so much. I’ve published a book. I’ve become stronger. Started writing in earnest, discovering stories and characters I would have never discovered if I hadn’t been pushed. Met some great people, got a great job, spent time with great kids. I got lucky, is what I’m saying. I don’t need those blank grey pages anymore. I’m only looking ahead.
And I’ve become more confident. I am starting to love myself, my body, my mind. I’m starting to be proud of the woman that I am and do my best to improve to just be better, smarter, more fearless and more compassionate. I’ve found my voice as a writer and I’m honing it, making it memorable.
And damn, it’s so much fun.
I wish I’d been able to give myself advice when I turned 30. I wish I’d been able to tell that broken woman that she wouldn’t be broken a year later. That things would get so much better – the lifeboats would come. But I couldn’t, and I didn’t. I learned it anyway, though.
Here’s my advice to myself for this year:
- Be fearless. Learn not to care about what others think of you and learn to speak with your own voice about things that matter. You were given a voice and the power of words. Use them as you have been, except use them better and be louder. Change the world.
- Be proud of yourself. It’s okay to have pride in your accomplishments. It’s okay to say thank you to someone instead of looking down and away and mumbling some excuse when you’re given a compliment.
- If life gets hard, you’re strong enough to get through it. You went through hell and came out the other side. You have great support, family and friends who love you. Don’t consider giving up – it’s not an option, ever. You know it will get better. It always gets better.
- Be present. Always strive to improve the skills you have and to be aware of what’s going around you. Be a friend, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a niece, a granddaughter – and be a good one.
- See yourself as beautiful. Because you really are. You really, really are. Bodies are beautiful and you have a beautiful body. Don’t let anyone tell you different. They’re projecting their own insecurities onto you, and that’s on them, not you.
- Be kind. To yourself, to others, to everyone. Be kind and considerate and compassionate. Always remember to consider someone else’s viewpoint. Hold your sharp words and be lavish with your gentle ones. Speak kindness.
- You’re pretty amazing. Don’t forget it – and don’t forget those who help you every day to remember it.
Here’s to being 31. To more happy golden days and dark rainy ones. To grey soft blank pages and yellowed vintage pages filled with hopes and dreams and thoughts and words. To laughing and tears, to silly fangirling, to meeting new inspirations, to being inspiring. Here’s to getting older and healthier, to finding my own beauty, to ignoring the haters and enjoying my friends. Here’s to my beautiful city, my amazing family, remembering things in their seasons, enjoying the smell of wind and water.
You know, I think I’m going to love being 31.
Here’s to life.