The Truth About Turning 30

I’ve been looking forward to my thirties since my tween days.  I couldn’t wait to be grown up.  At 11, I thought all 30-year olds were mature and wise.

I’ve been looking forward to my thirties since my late teenage years.  I couldn’t wait to be established.  At 19, I thought all 30-year olds were stable, on course, and steady.

I’ve been looking forward to my thirties since my early twenties.  I couldn’t wait to be respected.  At 22, I thought all 30-year olds were wise, looked up to, and taken seriously.

But then something happened the day after I turned 29: I started dreading my 30’s.  It could have been some fear of getting older; I did start to see some eye wrinkles, and my bones started creaking more.  But I think the dread was more that I was only one year from being the age where I was supposed to be grown up, established, and respected, and I felt far from it.

However I thought 30 was supposed to look, was not how 29 looked, and the prognosis for that much change in 364 days did not look good.

So I spent the whole year dreading December 2.  I got sweaty pits and a racing heart every time someone mentioned turning the big 3-0.

But December 2 came, and it was a lovely day.  My husband lavished me with thoughtful cards (yes plural) and fun plans, friends showered me with texts and voicemails and messages, and nothing catastrophic happened.

December 3 came; first full day in my thirties, and nothing had changed.  I hit snooze one too many times, rushed around the house all morning, screeched into work a few minutes late and still felt very much like 29-year old Allison.

It occurred to me as I sat at my desk, reflecting on the fact that I still wasn’t fully an adult, that I had put too much weight in an age.  What did 11-year old Allison know about life that she expected she would have it all figured out at 30?  I spent an entire year dreading disappointing myself for an unrealistic ideal.

In fact, what I should have been doing for my last year in my twenties was reminding 11 -year old and 19-year old and 22-year old Allison that I had determined along the way that my life might not be so conventional.  Somewhere around 23, I decided that I’d rather have adventure and obedience than stability and guarantees.  Adventures grow me up faster than routine anyway.

The truth is, while 30-year old Allison isn’t all grown up, she has grown immensely.  She still doesn’t go to bed before 11, she doesn’t always eat organic, and she doesn’t have the same routine every day, but she has grown in knowing herself.  30-year old Allison knows her strengths and weaknesses, she knows what energizes her and drains her, she knows what she is called to do, and she’s confident in that.  30-year old Allison is way more comfortable in her own skin.

The truth is, 30-year old Allison isn’t established.  She has moved 8 times in 8 years, she has lived in 4 different cities, and she has held 6 different jobs.  But 30-year old Allison is established in her identity in Christ like 20-year old Allison couldn’t have imagined.  All of the moves, the “yes’s” to adventure, and changes in jobs has made her more dependent on God and less dependent on herself.  Transition has renewed trust and built faith like stability could not have.

The truth is, 30-year old Allison isn’t respected like 22-year old Allison had hoped.  30-year old Allison hasn’t taught a single college class nor has she started the draft of her first book.  30-year old Allison still has too much to learn about everything to be an expert in anything, and she’s actually ok with that. 

When I disband the ideals that I had placed on this new decade of life I’d have to say, I’m pretty ok with 30-year old Allison. 

Here’s to a new decade that I hope continues to be full of adventure, growth, and confidence!

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8 thoughts on “The Truth About Turning 30

  1. I remember in high school being asked all the time about “What I would be” when I grew up. I think that’s part of the fear of arriving @ 30 – our earlier idealism about the “what.” But as you said, the “who” (like of being grown-up, established, or respected) can be a problem too. I remember, though, hearing adults tell me that there was so much after 30 as well, so when I was in high school I threw my ideals ahead as far as I could think of them – 80 years old. I have all these ideals about who I want to be at 80. Perhaps it’s a better ideal age for the fulfillment of my goals, but I can only imagine what kind of mid-life crisis I’m going to go through on my 80th birthday!!! I’ll have to keep your 30 yrs post around to remind me of the truth you’re learning now. 😉

  2. Loved this post, especially since I turned 30 on Dec. 3. I feel like I spent the last month before my birthday stressing out about all the things that hadn’t happened in my life before my 30th birthday, instead of focusing on all the things that did. And I think that all the adventures from my twenties will make my thirties that much better. It just took me turning 30 to realize it. 🙂

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