turning 30 and other ramblings

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I wanted to write this post much earlier – like the day before my birthday – the day one decade closed for me and another opened. But the day before my birthday, Travis and I were unpacking and working on our house so it would look presentable for my ’80s-themed party they next day. I’d been running errands that day – buying pizzas, paper plates and prizes (including a Rubik’s Cube for best costume).

The next day – the day I turned the big 3-0 – was jam-packed with rafting in Taos with some friends, then putting the final touches on the party decorations and dressing up in a green tutu and pink leopard T-shirt before 20 or so people came over to celebrate with me.

To be honest, the last month has been crazy. The good kind of crazy where we’ve had one thing after another to be excited about or celebrate. There was our White Sands trip the weekend before Travis’ birthday, and his actual birthday with an Isotopes game and brownies. At some point in there, I drove to St. George, Utah, by myself to visit my grandma who wasn’t doing well at the time, but as fate would have it, she is doing so much better now!

We were packing, packing, packing, then cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, then finally moving after closing on our house Aug. 25. Labor Day weekend, we slept in our new house for the first time and celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Then, a week later, it was my birthday and three days after that, we went on this wonderful trip to Glacier National Park – the prettiest place I’ve ever seen.

Now we’re home and gearing up for some visits from our families, the Balloon Fiesta and fall in general. Before all that happens, though, I want to step back and write about the last decade and the things I look forward to next.

Let’s start at the day before my birthday again. That day, I went through and found photos from almost all my birthdays for the last 10 years. I thought about where I was living, who I was hanging out with, who I was dating, and what things I was up to each year.

There was the China year, and the year I cleaned the sink at Angie’s. There was the year I lived with eight other girls in one big house. There was the year I went to Vegas, and the year I got on the saddle at Texas Roadhouse with a good group of friends who were helping me through a rough patch. Then there was the birthday I spent in Virginia right after I’d quit my job in Logan, moved to New Mexico and flew out to drive across the country with Travis.

My 20s, which began in Ningbo half a world way, treated me really well. They were my college years, my first job years and my dating years. They were years filled with friendship, family and travel. They’re the years I learned to budget, grocery shop, run marathons, how to study, how to work and how to live off four hours of sleep when I’d been up laughing all night.

I found the love of my short life in my 20s, and hope we have many more years together in this crazy thing called life. We made a big move together, started new jobs together and we’re learning how to navigate this adventure together.

The last decade was 10 years filled with so much growth, and years of simultaneous confidence and insecurity. They were the years I learned how hearts break, how my loved ones and I could feel small sometimes, and how we’d learn to live through and overcome painful, confusing situations.

I wasn’t worried about turning 30. The number does not bother me, and actually, the more I talk to those older and wiser than me, I’m learning the 30s may be where it’s at. There is so much to embrace and look forward to as this decade begins. I have plans, I’m going to dream big, and will let go of some things that have held me down.

There are regrets from my 20s, sure. There are plenty of them in fact. However, I’ll never regret the friendships formed and the adventures taken. I’ll never regret checking things off my bucket list such as taking ice skating lessons, learning to make quilts, going to New York and writing music of my own. I don’t regret the moments I truly followed my heart, even when the outcome hurt or wasn’t what I expected.

I do regret the moments I hated myself and didn’t give others enough of a chance. Life is too short for that. Last night was a bit sleepless and I thought about how much time has been spent in the last decade telling myself the things I’m not good at and the things I don’t like about myself. The mind is a curious thing and we believe the things we tell ourselves, even if they are not true.

I think my 20s were years I focused a lot on adventure, and while I will never give up that aspect of myself, I want my 30s to be years of belief – years full of more confidence, kind words and service. I want to believe the things I do can make a difference and that part of this crazy world is mine for the taking if I truly believe that. I want to believe in the good in people, believe that learning is endless, believe excitement and foreign countries await my arrival, believe more in God and holy beings, believe in the beauty of the world.

I don’t want to rush through my 30s. I want to be brave and analytical and gentle with others. I want the fun to continue and I want to push myself and surprise myself with the things I can do. I want to remember the important things in life, create countless good memories and moments. I want to be more patient and accepting. I want my heart to open in ways it hasn’t yet, and I want it to feel full of life and love and all the things that make us human.

These 30s. They’re going to be grand. Goodbye, 20s!

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