What Turning 30 Has Taught Me

Turning 30 has hit me like a ton of bricks.

I didn’t see it coming. “Age is just a number,” said I, “30 is hardly different than 29!”

Boy was I wrong.

30 sneaks up on you. You think you’re fine, you think you’re going to cruise into a new decade with grace and poise, and then wham. Suddenly it hits you and it sinks in: you aren’t going to be young forever. So cliché, right? Well let me tell you, the cliché is founded in truth, my friends. Cold, hard truth.

No one seriously thinks they will live forever (at least I hope not… delusions of grandeur, much?), but the way you view aging and mortality changes over your lifetime. I knew I needed to take care of my health, both mental and physical, so that I’d be happier and healthier as I aged, but those intentions never fully materialized into my life. They were sporadic, at best. When I hit 30, I was struck by the metaphorical lightening bolt of realization: You only get one shot at life. Let that just wash over you for a moment: THIS IS IT. You can’t rewind. You can’t go back and have a do-over. You have to make the most of your life while you can.

One of my favorite quotes came to mind, from the documentary Minimalism:

“When you recognize that this life is yours, and that it is your one and only, and when that ceases to be esoteric bullshit, when that’s not hippie poetry anymore, when the pragmatism of that statement seeps directly in your bones and you recognize that this is IT, everything changes.”

AJ Leon

I suddenly felt like I was out of control, careening to a future that I desperately wanted to avoid. I could easily see myself becoming the stereotypical 50-year-old bitter office worker whose job had caused her to gain 30 pounds. I wouldn’t be creatively satisfied, I wouldn’t feel like I was making a difference in this world, and I’d constantly be left thinking that there HAS to be something more to life.

I knew I had a choice.

I could keep doing what I was doing, feeling like I was never going to live up to my potential, being frustrated that this is how my life turned out. I could continue constantly chastising myself for not being more grateful for all the blessings in my life; after all, I have a roof over my head, food in my pantry, a loving family, and a secure paycheck. How could I possibly be unhappy? If I stayed on this path, that bitter office worker was going to be me.

Or I could change. I could finally stop living in fear and doubt and resentment and I could do something about it. I had to stop thinking that my life was going to magically change overnight and just start taking baby steps toward having the life I want to have.

I think it’s rather obvious which path I’m going to take.

I’m banishing fear and doubt. I have a tenancy to throw myself into things with a little too much vigor, only to have it come crashing down around me. I’ve tried to blog many, many times before. I’d get super excited and feel on top of the world for a few hours (“I started a blog!!”) and then crash a few hours later (“Why in the world did I think I could do this?”). I’d delete everything and fall into bed, not even trying to fight back my tears. My failure would hang over me as this oppressive weight for days. Eventually I’d pull myself out of it and get back to normal, but I knew I needed to face my fears.

I’m learning to take baby steps. I don’t need to know everything about blogging right from the gate. I don’t need to know how Google Analytics works. I don’t need to have a blogging empire. I just need to take it one day at a time, take pride in the fact that I’m doing it, and learn as I go.

It’s perfectly fine if no one reads this (oh, but I hope you do). It’s perfectly fine if this is never more than an online journal (oh, but I hope it is). I’m doing this for me. I’m doing this so I can prove to myself that I can learn new skills. I want to prove to myself I can push past the demon in my mind telling me that I’ll never figure any of this out and I might as well just quit.

So, thanks, 30. You hit me like a wrecking ball, knocking me off my feet and making me question everything. But from that rubble, I can rebuild.

Overflowing with love,

Cate

One thought on “What Turning 30 Has Taught Me

  1. this was really good! you’re right! you only get one life to live. – If you want more views on your post, download the wordpress app and search the hashtags. Try #writing and start reading / interacting with people who post on those hashtags. Eventually, that will be a way they can find you too.

    Liked by 1 person

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