On the eve of my 30th birthday I was panicked. I loved my twenties. Seriously, loved them. I had seen the world, been in love more than once, lived in four different cities, made good friends. I had a blast. And, to me, turning 30 would signal an end to all of that. It would mean a change. It would mean I was an old lady.
I'm gonna go back and explain a little before I go any further with this story. I was raised by two amazing people. My parents got married when they were 19 and 20. By today's standards, very young. And what's more surprising is that they're still together and still as in love as they were the day they were married. By the age of 28, my mom had three kids. My parents both had careers, they owned cars, and a house. They had everything they'd worked towards by the age of 27 and 28. I've lived my whole life thinking that my love story would happen that way too. I mean, hell, if it can happen for my parents, then why not for me...right?
So back to my story. Here I was, the eve of my 30th birthday. I was working at a health food store in Austin. I was dating a guy who was seven years younger than me (oy vey), and renting a two bedroom house in East Austin, I had no car and no kids. I had none of the things I wanted and I think deep down I really knew that more than ever on the day I turned thirty. And that's what I was afraid of.
I'd spent the entire span of my twenties being an artist, going to college, and then, being labeled as a gyspy traveler. I mean, I lived in four different cities, in four different states all within four years. I loved seeing new things and meeting new people. I grew up in the midwest and had very midwestern values despite my tattooed exterior. And although I tried very hard to fit into the southern carefree lifestyle my friends all lived, I just couldn't do it. I wanted to settle down, I wanted to be closer to my family, I wanted to have to work a little for things I wanted (how odd is that?). And on the eve of my 30th birthday this all landed on my head. I guess you could call it an epiphany. All I know is that I was headed straight for a wall and it scared the shit out of me.
I know that my fear of turning thirty is not unique. Lots of people fear turning thirty. My fear spurred from comparing myself to my parents for so long. I was using their life as a measure of my success, which was so wrong. My path wasn't the same as theirs, and I was living in a world entirely different from the one they lived in during those ages. Who's to say they wouldn't have done things differently had they lived in a different time? I was scared because I thought I hadn't done enough, when really I had just done things in a different order. I spent ten years learning about myself and the world around me and there is nothing wrong with that. I spent eight years in school for art and once I got done with that all I wanted to do was GO! I was afraid I hadn't done enough, but in actuality I had done so much. I had built a foundation for myself based on human experiences I'd had. I was actually in a pretty good spot.
Once the tears had dried, I came to. I found my bearings. A few weeks after my birthday I broke up with the guy, and started saving my money to move. Six months later I moved back to Missouri. I had gained vision of what was really important in my life. This year I will be turning thirty three. I live in a house with my fiancee about 90 minutes away from my family. I own my car and have two cats. I still travel, still act a fool with my friends and still get told I look 25. For me, turning 30 sparked a huge shift away from dreaming about what I wanted to actually going after it and getting. In hindsight it really wasn't that bad. Age really is just a number.