On Turning 30

Sunday, August 5, 2018
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It finally happened. This last week I left my twenties behind and traded them in for a fresh new decade -- my thirties.

I started out my twenties in the UK, living on my own for the first time. At the time, I was used to living on campus only a few feet from the building most of my classes were held in, and working just across the street from that. When I studied abroad, not only was I learning about Victorian-era British novels (my concentration) in the very city most of them were written in, but I was also learning basics like doing my own grocery shopping and cooking, traveling alone, navigating public transport and remembering to request vote-by-mail ballots. Looking back now, I was basically a child pretending to be an adult in a brand new country.

When I returned to the US, I finished school, I got accepted into grad school, didn't go and took my first adult job instead. I broke up with my first boyfriend. I moved into an apartment by myself. I bought a car. I spent almost every summer evening with my best friend lounging in the sun at my apartment pool until sundown and then making something unhealthy, cheap and easy for dinner around nine and maybe doing a chore or two. Every weekend all my friends flocked to the downtown bars. We were such staples that bartenders started making our usuals when they saw us walking down the street, heading toward their bar. It was a fun, carefree, probably irresponsible time and we all had a blast.

I got a little older and instead of hitting the bars every weekend, we started opting for dinners at restaurants instead. We were growing into our foodie ways of today I guess. Almost accidentally I bought a house and suddenly had to start thinking about things like interest rates and liability. My 250k+ mile 1995 Honda Civic got traded in for a car that wasn't covered in rust, missing rear-view mirrors and rocking half-broken stereo speakers. I started a small garden. I got promotions at work and started making some decent money. Another serious relationship came and eventually went, but left me actually thinking about things like marriage and kids as I never had before.

Now we're all settling down. Friends have gone on to get advanced degrees, get married, get divorced, suffer loses, talk about having kids, buy houses and start retirement accounts. We consider ourselves party animals when we make it to midnight whenever we get together. Gone are the nights spent seeking out the high energy parties, and instead we gather at our homes and share homemade meals and a few drinks.

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I know we've been indoctrinated to believe that our twenties are our best years and we should be sad to leave them behind, but I'm not at all. I had a great time in my twenties and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but this sense of self I have now makes me very excited for the future. A sense of calm seems to have swept over all of us. Our friendships are firmly rooted, we know who we are and what we want and we're okay being frank about it.

Obviously big changes are already in store for me in my thirties since I'm getting married next year, but after that I really don't know what life will bring. I'm undecided on having kids, I don't plan on making any big career changes anytime soon and I'm already living in the house I can see us happy in for several years to come. All I know is that I want is to continue to travel and see new places, read as much as I can, make a home that feels like my own and enjoy simple but fulfilling time with my friends and family. I hope I'll continue to be as lucky in this next decade as I have been in this past decade and that I'll carry on growing this strong sense of self I'm starting to enjoy now.

Bring it on thirties.
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