Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What 30 Means to Me

Remember that book I got last year, Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Know by the Time She's Thirty?  Well, my time's up.  I am sitting here in my office, as a woman.  An official woman!  I have entered a new decade- A new decade and an entirely new chapter of my life.  One year ago, I was probably crying myself to sleep.  I had a hard time turning 29.  I felt like the clock was winding down, sand was pouring through the hour glass, the grandfather (and biological) clock was loudly ticking, and what did I have to show for it?  Nothing.  I was wrong. This, my friends, is what I have, what I'm working towards, and what thirty means to me.

  1. An old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you how far you've come.  We've talked about this already...let's not beat a dead horse.  That's so graphic, right?  Geeze.
  2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.  A few Christmases ago my mom and grandma offered to buy me a couch and chair to fill my front room.  At the time, a rocking chair was the only piece in it.  And the window seat if that counts.  Usually, when my mom buys me things, I let her choose, but this time, I decided that although it was a gift from her, it was going to live in my house and I wanted to pick it.  I did.  I picked this little velvet chair in a pale blue that reminds me of my great grandmother.  It has a low back and no arms and is totally impractical.  Both Mom and Grandma hated it, but I think it's gorge.  I LOVE it.  And eventually, they came to see how it works in the room with the other pieces and now they like it too.  But that doesn't matter- I love it. I picked it, pursued it, fought for it, and I love it.
  3. Something perfect to wear if your employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.  Oh, yes I do.  Several things, but I found the perfect LBD on sale for $65 a few years ago, and felt my wardrobe, and my life, was more complete.  My style has evolved greatly in the past few years.  Jeans with intentional holes in them and sparkles on the bum have been replaced by dark denim that emphasizes my long legs.  Mini skirts under leggings have been replaced by classic and structured dresses that I don't have to wear things under and over.  I've moved on from Wet Seal to having to really search for classic and timeless pieces.  I've learned to dress for my body...mostly just my boobs.  I can't pull of scarves or long flowy tops without looking like a box, but damn do I look good with a peplum or in a pencil skirt!  I  passed Forever 21 yesterday and laughed with my mom...I can't shop there anymore, but I don't really want to.  I've grown up and so has my style.  I still can't abandon my VS comfies though...
  4. A purse, a suitcase, and umbrella you're not embarrassed to be seen carrying.  Oh, basic black Samsonite is fine with me, and we bought a black umbrella last year that covers two!  As for purses....ummm.....I've got about 50 and I kindly ask you to not hurt their feelings by even mentioning the phrase, "embarrassed to be seen carrying" around them.  The (second) to last one I purchased, I actually said, "Hello, Gorgeous," when I said it.  I have an addiction.
  5. A youth you're content to move beyond.  My best years were the college years...unlike Saved by the Bell.  I will continue to tell stories, to visit Logan and all of my old sites, to watch Aggie games and wear my hoodies.  I'll never stop talking to my best friends, all who I met there.  But I wouldn't go back, because I'm too excited to start this new chapter of my life.  This one will be one for the books too.
  6. A past juicy enough that you're looking forward to retelling it in your old age.  So, so much.  I was a good girl, but that doesn't mean I have some good stories...like really good.
  7. The realization that I'm actually going to have an old age and some money set aside to help fund it.  Nope.  The realization part is there...but we're just working on the present.  I'll set a goal for that one by 40.
  8. An email address, a voicemail box and a bank account-- all of which nobody has access to but you.  I have all of those things, but Spencer has access to them too.  I'm not into only me being able to access them.  What if I die or something?  Or forget my password?  ;)  He is my eternal companion and whether it's smart or not, I trust him implicitly. 
  9. A resume that isn't even the slightest bit padded.  Check.  And it rocks.  Sigh. If I could drive I would not STILL be unemployed.  I'm very proud of my experience and my career so far.  I have worked very hard and built a great career for myself.  I'm highly qualified and experienced.  I'm even talented.  I just think it might be time for a change.
  10. One friend who makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.  I think they all do both because I always cry anyway...
  11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra. Check, check, check.
  12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself just because you deserve it.  In this economy I don't think ANYONE is doing that.  Maybe that will be a goal for 50.
  13. A belief that you deserve it.  I know I deserve it, but it can wait till I deserve it even more.
  14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those other facets of life that don't get better after 30.  We've talked about this too.  My skin revolution was freaky.  I still find it weird, but strangely empowering every night when I put on my night cream.  I own my face now.  Boo ya!  As for the bod, can I get an eye-roll?  I have to work REALLY hard to lose weight now.  I have really tried to eat more healthily in the past year, focusing on vitamins and protein and calcium!  Not just calories and fat content.  I need strong bones and strong muscles to support those bones.  I'm really taking care of and VALUING the body God gave me.  Sure, I still eat ice cream and junk food...but not as much.  ;)  It counts more than working to be skinny.  I work to be healthy!  Go me!
  15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all of those other facets of life that do get better after 30.  Well, I spoke about my career earlier, and as for a "satisfying"relash, I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we've never been happier.  I love him more than I ever though possible.  Last night when he snuggled up to me in bed, I got butterflies and I thought to myself, "I get to have butterflies, every single day.  For forever.  I get to have eternal butterflies.  How lucky am I?"  Very.
  16. How to fall in love without losing yourself.  Colby really taught me this.  I only existed in him.  There was no me without him.  After him, I decided I wasn't going to do that anymore.  I'm a great person with a lot to offer.  I'm funny and smart and sweet and feisty...but I only learned that after I let him go.
  17. How you feel about having kids.  Have you noticed that new ticker on the sidebar?  Yep!  It's true!  We officially put our papers in for adoption on Jan 3rd.  We are now just working through mountains of paperwork on our way to approval.  It's so much fun...and I'm not being sarcastic.  We are so thrilled to finally be on this part of our journey, and each step is awesome.  I wrote this letter to baby the week we applied.  (P.S. We're on step four now.) 
Dear Baby,
Six days ago, we applied for you. We've completed 2 steps and have 13 more to go. I AM SO HAPPY. It's almost like I can feel you jumping around in my heart, or hear you whispering from heaven. I know it will get hard. I don't know how long we will have to wait. I'm going to be strong and try my hardest to be faithful and push out discouragement. But for right now, I'm going to bask in the light that is you and treasure my happy heart. I love you. See you soon!

It's going to be amazing.  Right now we are in the paperwork stage-- "pre-home study."  Then it's the home study, classes, then we create our profile and then someone picks us!  It's going to be amazing.  Did I say that already?

  1. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship. One of the best classes I've ever taken was a communications class in High School.  We talked about "I statements."  For example, "I feel that I deserve more money," instead of "You don't pay me enough" or "I feel neglected when video games are played instead of us hanging out," instead of "You neglect me when you play video games all night."  We talked about how to non-aggressively and non-passively and best of all, effectively, communicate.  I can most definitely say I can confront a friend and quit a job without burning bridges, and have!  As for breaking up with a man, I think that gets a little more complex.  I didn't do that very well in my 20's, what with the strutting into my Ian's place of work in a sexy LBD and handing him a letter, or the episode with Nate, where I "came straight out of Steel Magnolias with all of my assholin' and slapping," but I don't think I would have changed anything.  I was planning on actually talking to Ian...he was just at work and my psyche couldn't handle one more minute.  As for Nate, that asshole deserved it!  Presently, Spencer and I are definitely never breaking up, but when there are serious (or stupid) issues to talk about, we do so very effectively.  I even hold my tongue and ask for a cool-down period when I'm seriously mad.  Why? Because I don't want to say something out of anger that will hurt him.  Hurting each other isn't the goal, fixing the problem is.  How grown up is that?!
  2. When to try harder and when to walk away.  This is a really good one.  I think the demise of a friendship in my mid-twenties taught me this.  I'm not good at change, failure, or letting go.  I could hold onto something unhealthy forever, but not anymore.  Sometimes, if something, or someone is toxic to your life, it's ok to walk away without feeling guilty that you should have done more.  Maybe you could have done more, but it probably wouldn't have worked.  Set deal breakers.  "If this, then I'm done."  Follow through.  This helped me actually let go, actually walk away.  Actually free myself.  I'd wish I'd learned this a long time ago.  It's not always your fault and when it is, apologize.  If your apology isn't accepted, then let it go.  (Let it go!! Let it go!!! Turn your back and slam the door!!!  Not really.  Don't slam it...leave it open and calmly walk away.) 
  3. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn't like to happen next.   Let's just say, "check."  I even showed Spence a few moves the other night.
  4. The names of the Secretary of State, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.  John Kerry, Eva Adams, LaManda Ray, and Chong's
  5. How to live alone, even if you don't like to.  Before Spencer wooed me, I was planning on getting an apartment by myself.  I was ready for it.  I would advise to get a dog.  Working from home is nice and people ask me all of the time how I stand being alone all day.  But, I'm not.  I have my iPod, I have my work, my hobbies, and I have Belle.  (And chores...hello, things need to get done!  It's much easier to be productive when your by yourself.)
  6. Where to go-- be it your best friend's kitchen table or a yoga mat-- when your soul needs soothing. Usually, it's a bubble bath, a good book and and some Phish Food (Ben and Jerry's).  But it differs from situation to situation.  Sometimes it's a phone call to my mom, sometimes it's a heart-to-heart with Spencer.  Sometimes it's just a good long nap.  Sometimes, it's all of the above!  
  7. That you can't change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.  This one is so important, and I wish it didn't take most of us so long to learn it.  Trends are just that...trends.  What is beautiful changes and the cycle starts again.  Right now it's the 60's, 90's, muscles, and a gap between your thighs.  *eyeroll*  I don't have a gap between my thighs or a six-pack and I'm not going to obsess over it.  I've learned to accept my body the way it is.  I want to lose a little off of my tummy and my arms, but I've got huge boobs, long legs, and a nice ass.  I'd call that a win, and everyone has one.  Everyone.  You just have to find it and cherish it.  As for my parents...this has been a really hard one for me to learn. when you're little, your parents are always right, they know everything, and they're the ones teaching you everything you know.  As you grow into adulthood, I'm not sure if they lose their minds as you develop yours or if you just start to notice the difference, but suddenly, you know things they don't.  If you're lucky, they're teachable and can have adult conversations.  Most likely, you're not that lucky.  In the end, all that matters, and all you have to keep in mind is that they mean well and always have the best of intentions.  You could have the best parents in the world, (mine!) and they can still hurt you sometimes.
  8. That your childhood might not have been perfect, but it's over.  Mine kinda was.  My teen years are another story, but they are also over.  A lot of people hurt me back then, and I can still hold a grudge when they are probably perfectly nice people by now.  Everyone's horrible in high school.  The only person holding onto that pain is hurting, is me, not them!  I'm still working on completely forgiving people for things they did.  They did affect me for a really long time, and maybe in some cases, still do, but, it's over.  Let it goooo!
  9. What you would and wouldn't do for money or love.  Thankfully, I learned early that I will not sacrifice my virtue for love.  I wish I wouldn't have sacrificed other things for love, like my feelings, parts of my personality, and even my thoughts sometimes.  As for money,  it's tight, but I won't sacrifice my happiness, my family, my marriage, or my values.  I'm continuing to look for work every. single. day.  There's not much I won't do when it comes to the job, but how it affects you is very important and should be a priority.
  10. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.  Seriously.  Add not wearing sunscreen to that list.  I saw this girl from High School at a wedding reception...she was super tan but SUPER wrinkly.  Like SUPER.  As for the others, many people that Spencer went to HS with are worse than wrinkly; they're dead.  Take care of the body that God gave you.  Otherwise you'll be wrinkly with no teeth and dead, or at least on your way there.  
  11. Who you can trust, who you can't, and why you shouldn't take it personally.  This was a hard one for me to learn as well.  I feel like it relates to #19.  I learned this same thing from #19.  My mom is a lot more private than I am.  I'm more of an open book.  I like to connect with people and share things, but sadly, as Mom told me it would, life has taught be to not be too quick to share things dear to my heart.  You can still make connections, but guard the things in your heart like the treasures they are.  If you are betrayed, it really sucks, but it's not you, it's them.  You can't worry about what they will or will not do with your treasures, you just have to learn that you can't trust that person because they're a bad person!  You aren't.  Then you have to be more careful next time.  
  12. Not to apologize for something that isn't your fault.  I'm good at this one.  Ask Spencer.  ;)  As women, somehow, I don't know for certain when, we are programmed to apologize for EVERYTHING!  "I'm sorry, can I scoot past you?"; "I'm sorry, do you have these in a size seven-and-a-half?"; "I'm sorry, can I refill your drink?"; "I'm sorry, I really liked Angela" or, "I'm sorry, I think Juan Pablo is weird."  It's like when we ask a question we have to apologize for it.  (I'm sorry, Kari.  I have no idea how to format that and don't wanna look it up.)  Apologizing for things we don't need to apologize for makes us look weak.  Especially in the workplace.  Try, "excuse me," for a change.  I realize it's a form of an apology but it comes off as well-mannered, not weak.  Use it when calling someone's attention, or when you burp or something.  Don't burp though.  It's not lady-like.  As for arguments, apologize for your mistakes, but stop apologizing for things that aren't your fault.  "I'm sorry you're mad at me," is just cray.  I used to apologize endlessly when Colby was mad at me.  I never knew what he was mad at me for, so I'd just apologize for being alive or something.  (Ps. I realize I make that relationship sound so traumatic!  But it wasn't, really.  He'd have weird freak outs and get mad at me, but besides that...it was your typical unhealthy teenage first-love relash.  He was just as obsessed with me as I was with him.  I'm sure he looks back at it now and has the same realizations that I do.  We didn't exist in our minds as individuals but only as a whole, and it was unhealthy for us to rely on each other for happiness...but, unhealthy as it was, we got each other through a lot.  Personal realization only came with growth, and time.  I digress.)  The point is, apologize for your mistakes, but not for being, thinking, feeling, or wanting something.  
  13. Why they say life begins at 30!  I sit here as a woman 30 years and 30 days old.  Almost.  March was busy with a cake order every week, sometimes two.   Belle had surgery.  Things got busier at the end of the month when my grandmother contracted pneumonia and passed.  I can barely write it.  My grandma died.  It doesn't feel plausible that she's gone.  We were incredibly close.  Losing her has been one of the hardest things I've ever experienced.  But, I will not crumble.  I have an amazing family and we're all experiencing the same loss of the keystone of our family, but quickly rallying together to hold ourselves up by holding onto each other.  I am stronger in my thirties.  I am prepared for the life that God will have me leave.  I know who I can count on.  While that list is dwindling, I know it won't always be small and it doesn't affect me as much as it did.  Relationships all have peaks and valleys and ebbs and flows.  I won't change my love for people because of it, because that isn't who I am.  I know who I am and I'm not afraid to say that I like myself.  This generation of thirty is a new frontier, and I'm ready to conquer it.  I feel there will be more joy than hardship, but who knows.  It started out with a great one, but it's up to me to decide to have more joy.  I understand that better now.  I'm done waiting for my life to get better and I'm ready to make it better!  Let's go, life!  We have a lot of living to do!


Elsie Boyer said...

Oh my goodness. Thank you for reminding me that growth and age are not punishments but accomplishments. You are always an inspiration! Thirty Flirty and Fun! Love you girl!

Anonymous said...

Turning thirty sounds amazing! My sister in law always told me that twenties are to work hard to make your thirties great. I have been working my ass off, so hopefully when I turn thirty I can be ready for my womanhood to begin. Enjoy it! I will be joining the club soon enough ;)

Ruby in the Rough said...

I love this list!! It's amazing. 30 isn't so bad. I love the things I've learned, and I wouldn't really want to go back. You have accomplished so much in life! You are an inspiration!

Seantae Jackson said...

So I'm totally late in reading this- but I love it! I just turned 30 in June and because my mom was '29' for 11 years I thought turning 30 was a horrible thing. But I, too, am realizing it is amazing. (And I may steal your main points and blog this myself- how fun will it be to read at 50!!) And super duper congrats on adoption steps!!!!! Loves!