Thirty never intimidated me, and its onset never upset me in the way it did many of my peers. In most ways I have looked forward to being in my thirties instead of my twenties, thirty sounded like the age where you were taken seriously in your career, a day I longed for after being the youngest on account teams for a decade and regularly hearing praise that ended with “too bad you look so young.” The only environment I’ve ever heard looking young for your age to be a real problem is in a boardroom. My twenties were a time of growing pains, learning first hand what earth shattering loss really meant, that if you can laugh through it you can survive it, solidifying my values, growing into someone I was proud of, and a heartbreak sprinkled in here and there for good measure.
Thirty was the age I remember my half-sister being when we moved closer to her in Chicago. She was young enough for it to still look fun, pretty, married with one son, seemed established, happy, and like a real adult to my curious nine-year-old brain. Thirty equaled real adulthood, it meant having it all figured out… Because at nine years old you’re still allowed to believe that adults know all the answers.
Nine year old me was wrong. At age thirty you do not know all the answers, not even close, you are an adult in name and trade, but a far cry from having the answers. In fact most thirty year olds I talk to seem to question what they have in order more than they did at twenty-five, likely because with age comes self awareness. Let me say this loud and clear: THAT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL, ACCEPTABLE, AND EVEN PREFERABLE. How boring would life be if we had it all figured out at thirty years old?
The best advice my mother gave me a couple years ago, possibly in my whole life, was stop trying to get it all right, or feel like there is even a right answer to everything. She said, “Chrissy, I’m sixty-five years old, and I’m still figuring out what I want to be, and what I know and don’t know. The only thing you can do is keep learning, do the best with what you have, make decisions in good faith, take the adventure as it comes, and be at peace with all of it as often as possible. You know what? At 70, 80, 90 and even 100 I’ll still be figuring it out and growing because I’ll be open to learning more.”
As usual, my incredibly brave, kind-hearted, and when required brutally honest mother was right. We never know it all, and as soon as we think we have one aspect of our life figured out, life catches on and throws us a curve ball. It keeps the adventure interesting at very least, and makes it an adventure worth pursuing at very best.
Turning thirty this weekend I am still excited to start a new decade, still believe that it will be a great decade for being taken more seriously in my career, for learning more in every aspect, and to take the adventure as it comes wildly bearing down the years. So here is to thirty and all the learning and adventures that decade will hold!