Thanks in large part to my little “ten 30” project, I have spent much of the last ten months with my upcoming 30th birthday somewhere in the back of my mind.
I’ve thought about life and how it doesn’t always take you the way(s) that you expect it to… how I haven’t reached certain goals, but I have attained heights (literally) that I never thought I would. In fact… I’ve thought a whole lot about the past. About my twenties.
A decade is a long time though, isn’t it? If I ever thought that I didn’t do enough or experience enough in my life up to this point… I don’t think it anymore. In retrospect my twenties were some pretty incredible years – full of a ridiculous number of big, life changing experiences… and several important firsts.
When I turned 20, I hadn’t travelled further east than Cape Breton or further South than Boston. I was in my first semester of University, working part-time at La Senza, having my wisdom teeth pulled out and watching my “points” (I lost 30 lbs that fall and found a body I didn’t know I had!). I still lived with my parents, and had already been dating Brandon for just over three years. .
When I turned 21, I was in my second year of my bachelors and busy proving myself in my student job (I guess I figured out how to impress them, since I’m still working there today!). I was also visiting an orthodontist for the very first time – signing on to have my extra tooth (yes. extra tooth.) removed and committing to 2 ½ years of braces. I was still dating Brandon – back together and all the more serious after a brief break up a few months before. By 21 ½ we were engaged – despite the terrible gap in my teeth and the silver grin!
When I turned 22, I was visiting home for one week – a small break in my student exchange to Grenoble, France (I finally made it farther east than Cape Breton!). Magical months… I lived in the heart of the French Alps for one semester, during which I (sort of) went to school… lived in a home run by a Catholic ecumenical community… and saw a little of the world… parts of France, Italy, Belgium and Morocco.
When I turned 23, I was married to my high school sweet heart, the proud co-owner of a teeny little condo, a university graduate, a masters’ student and soon to be public servant (officially). I had also made it a little further South when we travelled to Cuba for our honeymoon. True luxury, especially after the hostels in France! I was also officially a pet owner by this point!
When I turned 24, I was working on my career and my masters. I was also planning my next trips. First, a trip to the West coast and then a few weeks later, I was jumping back on a plane going in the opposite direction to visit my cousin, who was living and working in England’s Lake District. Together, we travelled to Belgium and then back to Scotland and England before I had to head back home.
When I turned 25, I was about 4-months pregnant with Layla, my little miracle baby, I called her, because it just wasn’t supposed to be that easy (and to top it off, she was due the following Easter!). My plans for completing my master within the following year were completely thrown off course, I was now the owner of a newer and bigger condo and had just surprisingly (!) survived my first blood test!
When I turned 26, I was a relatively new mom, enjoying my year long maternity leave, making pureed everything and considering calling off my masters’ degree entirely. I don’t know if it’s worth mentioning, but I think it’s also kind of interesting that I’d only had a facebook profile for a few months at this point in time.
When I turned 27, I was trying to achieve some sort of balance. We had just moved into our first house (which had us in renovations up over our heads), I was working full time on a special assignment, trying to find time to be a good mom and wife at home… and just getting over the fatigue of my first trimester of pregnancy with Meaghan. I had finally canned the masters and was VERY lucky to have just recently enjoyed an incredibly memorable family vacation to Costa Rica with Brandon and 16-month old Layla!
When I turned 28, I was the mom of 2, back on maternity leave and back to making puree) and a few posts in to writing my personal blog “a.o.k.”. At the time I had visions of someone important falling onto my site and falling in love with my writing style and storytelling… and becoming a “real” writer. In the end, I don’t think very many people “fall into” that kind of blog success. Most of the ones who do, work very hard at getting and maintaining their following. I just like documenting and sharing tidbits of my life.
When I turned 29, life was busy(er) again. Back at work, with two little ones and Brandon to love and take care of at home… I had had my eyes fixed with laser eye surgery and was now in the final steps of fundraising something like 18K for my “Summit for Wishes” project. Oh… and I had invested in a family owned and operated “snake breeding” project now known as Rodgers Pythons.
And now… as I turn 30, life is still busy but I am more and more conscious and grateful for what a “full” life it actually is. In this past year alone, I have managed to…
- host my first ever fundraising dinner/dance in November
- face an array of vaccinations (6 in one day!) in December (not bad at all for someone with a needle phobia)
- travel to Tanzania and climb all the way to the summit of Kilimanjaro in January (after a crazy fundraising project for the Make-a-Wish Foundation)
- chop off my hair to donate it to locks of love (and go blonder than ever before) in February
- experience “weightlessness” in March
- tile my basement shower all by myself in April
- start running regularly in May
- celebrate 7 years of marriage in June (and make it safely past the 7-year “itch”)
- go whale watching on the St-Lawrence River in July
- try sailing for the first time in August
- go on a girls only road trip and do the CN Tower Edgewalk against all better judgment in September
- see Niagara falls for the first time ever in October
… and that’s just the ‘one a month’ planned stuff. It doesn’t include the many special moments that I spent with Brandon, the girls, family and friends, the major projects that I completed at work… or the hard
and challenging times and the mistakes and hurts that I managed to make it through in one piece…
At 30… my life is blessed, my heart is full and I truly feel like I know and understand myself just a little better. Although I find it hard to believe that I already feel this way, I’m starting to understand what people mean when they say that they love their 30s even more than their 20s.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have it all together now that I’m 30. And I don’t think I have it all right. Goodness no. I still lose patience more than I would like and am not as good as I would like to be at showing love to others. I’m still figuring out how to stay on top of the housework and I find it harder and harder to maintain solid relationships simply because time is missing, everyone is busy… and strong friendships/deep connections take time. Spiritually – I have more questions than answers. And at work, I’m torn between loving my job and wanting to “move up”.
But you know? At this moment in time, my weaknesses, failures or downfalls just don’t seem to bother me as much. Perhaps I’m finally realizing that I can’t be perfect and I can’t always be who others want me to be (no more than they can always be who I want them to be). And though I still may not fully understand WHO I AM or WHAT I WANT TO BE, maybe that’s not what it’s all about.
I’m happy to be 30 (even if I have a hard time believing that I’m already here) and I truly look forward to what the next ten years have to bring. No doubt there will be less “firsts” for me, but when I turn 40 I will have two teenage daughters (!) and over the next decade I will have the pleasure of living a lot of their firsts… from their first day of school to their first crush… there’s a lot to look forward to (with excitement and worry!).
Happy Birthday to me!