I’m thirty today.
Not twenty-nine and a half, not twenty-nine and three-quarters, not almost thirty—just thirty.
I’m not telling you that I was born thirty years ago today so that you will celebrate my birth. I don’t want you to congratulate me on only turning thirty, and I don’t need you to tell me how young I am (I realize thirty isn’t old). They say thirty is actually the new twenty, and if thirty is the new twenty, then that makes twenty the new ten, and well…that’s just scary, but we’ll save that post for another day.
When I really think about it, my thirty-year old self feels thirty. My body feels thirty (on days I’ve skipped my yoga routine) and my heart definitely feels thirty. My heart knows that heartbreak doesn’t last forever; that it can double (even triple) in size overnight; and it can endure nearly anything life throws its’ way.
As I reflect on my experiences, it just makes complete sense that I have arrived at the thirty-year milestone.
I’ve completed 19 years of school, moved three times, celebrated my three-year wedding anniversary, had two sons, bought a house, bought life insurance, moved to a town I swore I’d never return to, and begged my dermatologist to remove my first age spot.
Speaking of age spots, I wish I could go back 15 years and force my younger self to invest in sunscreen (you were right, mom, I WILL regret this). Come to think of it, I wish I could tell myself a lot of things, so i am going to do just that:
Dear Younger Me,
You are so fresh and new. Your figure is perky and your skin is flawless–unless you have been in the tanning bed. Please stop tanning younger me.
You are blissfully unaware of what’s to come: Jobs, bills, fading relationships.
You don’t fear for the future because all that matters is today–the weekend, the hot date, what outfit you will wear tonight.
You don’t watch the news–it doesn’t apply to you. You get all pertinent information from a website run by a semi-famous comedian.
You don’t know heartache the way I do, but best of all, you don’t know the love I know.
This love comes at a price, but fear not, it pales in comparison to what is gained.
Your skin will become blemished and slightly wrinkled. Your figure will suffer from late nights of feeding babies and toddlers.
You will lather yourself in organic SPF and spend money on expensive creams hoping for miracle. You roll your eyes at tanning salons as you drive past in your mom car.
You work hard to raise good humans, keep the house from burning down, and pay for things like air-conditioning.
You work hard to keep friendships together, but let go of ones that no longer make you happy.
You fear for the future. You pray your children wake up in a safer world with more love and a lot more kindness.
You hope you have clean pajamas for the evening.
You still don’t watch the news, but your husband lets you look over his shoulder at night as he reads the news on his phone.
But younger me, you know love. Oh, how you know love. The all-consuming, heart-wrenching kind of love. The kind you dreamed about your entire life. You feel it in every ounce of your being when your husband smiles at you or your babies wrap their chubby hands around your neck.
The kind that makes you grateful for the younger years, because without them, you wouldn’t be where you are today.
Dear younger me, it’s impossible to fathom, but life gets so, so much sweeter. Enjoy the younger years because time is fleeting.