I turned 30 in December. I was actually really excited about it. I figured not much would change. Truthfully, we had been living beyond our years for quite a while, and I figured by turning 30 I was really just catching up with the 30-something lifestyle we had. And that has been true. Not much around me has changed since I turned 30. My life is largely the same as it was when I was 29. Lately, though, I’ve noticed small changes in myself. Little things that always make me stop and think, “Well, I AM 30…”
Superficially, I’ve noticed that I am 30 in my appearance. For the first time in my life, I am wearing my hair straight every single day. My whole life I have believed that because I had thick, naturally curly hair, it was impossible to do anything with it. Plus, I am pretty lazy. So, I just washed my hair and let it naturally dry. And get frizzy. And big. But a few months ago, my sister introduced me to Moroccan oil for my hair and my life has never been the same. I can now wash and straighten my hair every other day, rub a little Moroccan oil in it, and – voila! – it stays straight and smooth for days! I think it makes me look older, and bit more put together than my crazy curly hair did. I always looked a bit like a college kid who had slept past her alarm, and now I think it is a bit more polished. And that makes me feel 30 years old.
I am also noticing what other 30-something women are wearing around me and, for the first time in my life, I am not put off by it. My shorts have become a smidge longer. My shirts have become a tad looser. My shoes have become a bit more practical. Personally, I still think I look young and even cute on some days. It’s not that I have ever dressed inappropriately (except for that one time in college that I wore jeans to a meeting when everyone else was in a suit…), but I’m just not in my 20’s anymore. My clothing has a different purpose and different needs. I don’t need short shorts. I need shorts that I can get on the floor and play with my kids in. I don’t need a tank top that shows off my tan. I need a shirt that won’t bunch up or hang open when I bend over a stroller. I don’t need shoes that make my legs look longer. I need shoes that will hold up throughout a day of teaching, and afternoon of chasing my kids, and an evening of running around the neighborhood. I used to think to have those kinds of functional clothes, I had to give up the cuteness and instead had to look frumpy. But that’s not true. I can still look cute. It’s just in way more comfortable and age-appropriate clothes.
Another thing that turning 30 has done for me is opened up the “who the heck cares” side of my brain. I love to sing and dance, but I am equally as bad at both. But who the heck cares? I now sing and dance all day long in my classroom. I sing and dance while I run. I sing and dance when I’m driving my car. If I feel the need, I sing and dance no matter who’s around to see. Same goes for how often I blog. This one I have struggled with because I do loves me some blogging. But I’ve been blogging on almost a daily basis – often more than one post a night – for over five years. And who the heck cares if I don’t get a post up one night? Or two? Or even seven? The world isn’t going to end without my daily rantings. I was doing things like turning down plans with friends because I knew I hadn’t blogged the night before, so I needed to blog that night. Or I would spend almost every evening with my face in a computer screen while Chris sat by himself watching TV. Now, I sit with him and we read or talk or watch TV together. And who the heck cares? I blog and you all graciously keep coming back. And, oh how glad I am that you are here, imaginary friends! But I am willing to bet that the universe will continue if I slack up on my blogging.
Along the same lines, I am cutting myself some slack in areas where I have always been really hard on myself, and I’m learning to say no. The other day, I sat in a meeting where they were looking for a volunteer to do something really simple and I literally had to BITE MY TONGUE – for real – to keep from speaking out. But I didn’t, and I left that meeting feeling really good about that. I am learning that just because I CAN do something doesn’t always means I SHOULD do something. Taking on something new may seem easy and small, but when I take on 50 easy and small tasks, I am suddenly overwhelmed and I don’t do anything well. Same thing with birthday parties from Bean’s class at school. He gets a ton of invitations to birthday parties these days, and you would think, “Well, it’s just a birthday party…” But one birthday party means buying one present, figuring out which parent is going to stay home with Gracie and which is going to go with Bean, and then giving up at least the afternoon. And every once in a while that isn’t so terrible, but do it every weekend and it can become draining very quickly. So, now we only RSVP to parties of kids that Bean talks about at home a lot. And I don’t feel guilty about that. I mean, I AM 30, you know…
I don’t know if these things are tied to being in my 30’s now or not. Maybe it is just a shift in perspective I’ve had lately. Or maybe I’ve reach some kind of limit on my self expectations and so I’m finally giving myself permission to lower them. Whatever it is, it has given me some real peace of mind. I’m sleeping better, laughing more, and feeling good.
My Grandma is in her 80’s and is still a world traveling, charity volunteering, card playing, department store shopping, cake baking machine. We all have a hard time keeping up with her pace, and she is forever telling us, “You’re only as old as you feel.” If she is right (and she usually is), then I am loving the feeling of 30.