Monday, July 13, 2015

On Turning 30

I've been trying to wrap my mind about the latest birthday milestone -- the fact that everyone else seems to be so concerned about its affect on my psyche and the fact that I don't feel any sense of that same concern in myself.  The most common thing you'll hear when you turn 30 (and I'm supposing every birthday hereafter) is some quip to the effect of, "well you'll always be 29 in spirit" or "and so begins a lifetime of 29th birthday celebrations."  Or sometimes from a 21st birthday party at the bar you'll get an "oh wow you're way older than I thought."  Thanks sweetie.  Thus begins a lifetime of "you look good for your age," the ultimate backhanded compliment. But in truth, there are things that I know now at 30 that make me so excited about the next decade.  And if you have a chance to read this, don't wait until your next birthday to make these things happen!  You are never too young or too old to maximize how wonderful life can be.
  • Don't Settle.  Not happy in your job?  In your relationship? Where you live?  Stop giving yourself excuses for why you need to stick things out.  Making these kinds of choices are never easy, but if you know what you want, you owe it to yourself to start making it happen now. And if you don't know what you want but you know you can't take another day doing what you are doing now, just get out.  Other opportunities are always going to be around the next turn but don't make yourself live in misery any day longer than you have to.
  • It's not always about the money.  Yes, we all need money. And in our early 20s it's good to focus on that pay check. But at a certain time you have to start making decisions about happiness instead of just dollar signs.  Quality of life is near-priceless in my book.
  • Try new things.  Eat. Travel. Read. Learn. Watch cooking shows or PBS features like Ricks Steve's Europe (even if you never make it, you'll learn so much about the country he's visiting). Listen to NPR sometimes on your way to or from work -- I swear you won't feel old once you realize you actually know what's going on around the world. Even if you don't have the luxury of being able to travel internationally right now, there is so much to see in the US, and probably even in your own home town.  My husband and I are trying to go to a new restaurant in Raleigh for a date night once a week, and sure sometimes we end up ordering pizza and watching a movie instead, but already we have tried so many new places.
    When I saw this picture from our trip to Spain, I had a momentary feeling of
    dread -- was I pregnant?  False alarm, just a food baby, but that feeling was
    all I needed to know that I'm not quite ready yet.
  • Only you will know when the time is right.  Motherhood looms over the conversation on your 30th birthday like a Goodyear blimp.  We all know we're on a timeline here -- even if I insist upon poo-pooing the idea that at 30 I need to be worried about the health of my eggs.  But from close friends who are expecting their first, I know how wonderful being pregnant will be when I am ready for it. 
  • Get your body right. Seriously, a scary thing happens around 30 -- your hair is changing texture and graying at alarming speed, you try to bend over and realize you can't touch your palms to the floor anymore, and there is no illusion about your thighs ever going back to how they used to look.  Hair can be colored, but honestly you might just need to change up your hair care regimen to get better performance.  For me, that's meant slowing up on shampoos and doing more beachy waves/ dry shampoos during the week.  And you need to be using a good wrinkle cream and SPF to maintain your skin as of right now. If you are waking up with dark circles or puffy eyes, your skin is already changing around that sensitive area and you need to be using a great under eye cream every night ASAP.  And hydrating.  Wine and beer taste as good as they ever did, but your body doesn't recover from nights out quite the same.  You need more sleep than you used to, and you don't heal nearly as quickly.  But I have found that focusing on stretching and strength building with yoga are really making a difference for keeping my body feeling great and less prone to injury.  Plus you get to do the happy baby move at the end of your yoga routine, and if you don't find a way to let all of that tight, mental stress unwind while rolling around on your back with your feet in the air, you probably aren't doing it right.
These are my 2 favorite products at the moment -- the DayWear has an almost cucumber-esque fragrance and gives me that SPF boost in addition to excellent hydration.  At night, you can't beat the Advanced Night Repair cream.  It has a little tingle with application that really seems to tighten up the skin around my under eyes, and is intensely hydrating.

  • Question the status quo.  The only way we can make the world a better place is to ask ourselves, could this be better?  There is so much to improve upon in the world still -- there are still people being discriminated against due to their race, their gender, who they chose to love, their religion.  We can get so used to "the way things are" that we don't stop to question, "but is that right?  Or could it be better?"  The answer is almost always yes, so get passionate about making your world a better place, no matter how small or how big your ideas are.

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