Friday, December 12

On turning 31 ... and finding the time

Friday, December 12

Today is my 31st birthday. There's something about 31 that feels so much more adult than all the other ages that have come since "officially" becoming one at 18. I can now say that I'm "in my thirties," rather than just 30. Next year, I will have been out of college for a decade. I have a ton of grey hairs.

But, I do not feel 31. At the same time, I'm not sure what 31 is supposed to feel like. 31 is by no means old, but it certainly falls in that nebulous "adult" territory. When you're "supposed" to have things like a career and a mortgage and kids. I suppose feeling younger could be a byproduct of my lifestyle: I'm married to my high school sweetheart, we live in a house full of toys (and none of them belong to children), I read mostly young adult books ... I don't think I'm consciously trying to hold on to my childhood. But I do strongly believe in that old saying, "Just because you have to grow older doesn't mean you have to grow up."

When I was young, I'm not sure if I every really though about where I'd be at 31. Coming from an upper-middle class, practically nuclear family living situation (minus the whole other 1.5 kids, that is), perhaps I saw myself married, in a good career, owning a house, having children. Two out of four certainly isn't bad—and there are many things that come with the latter two that I'm not sure I'm ready for.

Then again, my mom and dad were 36 and 40, respectively, when they had me. Although both had white-collar careers when I was born, when I was 8, they packed our small family up and opened a bed and breakfast in Oregon. They supplemented this dream with a job as a handyman and a teacher. When I graduated high school, we moved again. And when I was 22, they got divorced. I suppose, thinking back on it, that my childhood wasn't cookie-cutter at all, so perhaps the reason I can't remember ever having a set plan for myself is that I didn't ever make one. I might have never seen the need. My parents believed in following dreams and making tough decisions when they needed to be made. Instead of a set of stereotypes I needed to have met, they showed me that being an adult really meant taking leaps and making mistakes and being true to yourself, through the hard times and the good.

I found the illustration below when I was thinking about this post, and it struck a chord. I don't always "find the time," and I often complain about the lack of it in my life to do the things I'd rather be doing. Perhaps I'll focus more, in my 32nd year of life, on the lessons I learned from my parents, and on being cognizant of the blessing—on finding the time. That's certainly sounds way more fun than worrying about reaching antiquated milestones when I'm "supposed" to.

(via)

What up, 31? Let's do this.

14 comments

  1. It's funny how the older I get, the more I forget I'm older? If that makes any sense. Like when I say a crowd is made up of "older people," I don't realize I'm talking about myself! LOL

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  2. Really good post. I'm 32 and don't feel like it at all despite having the husband and 2 kids. So often I feel like I'm "supposed" to be one way or another or that I should be doing this or that because I'm in my 30's, but to heck with it. I think I'll always feel like I'm in my mid 20's, and if I want to act like it at times then I will. ;)

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  3. Happy birthday! And good post. I turned 30 this year and I mostly don't feel like an adult, either.

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  4. Happy birthday (again, in a non-FB capacity)! I don't know what any age is "supposed" to feel like, and I'm struggling with it in one sense (Shouldn't I have a job right now!? Why aren't I like a 'normal' 24-year old in other ways!?) but at the same time have come to accept it and just not give a damn. Life is weird.

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  5. Happy belated birthday! My 28th birthday is in a few months and I have the same feelings. I have a good job (I'm a special education teacher), pay all my bills, have my own place etc., but I don't feel my age at all. Maybe 'adult' is something we are taught at an early age is years away and expect something bigger than what does happen?

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  6. I meant to send you a message on your actual birthday, but got caught up in other things that I didn't get on social media in time to do so...so happy belated!! (and really, how could I top the awesome gif you sent me? :P) Hope your day was as fabulous as you are!


    Your post definitely resonates with my and the reflections that I had turning 30 this year. I think it's so important for us to be content with who we are and where we are in our adulthood, regardless of any stereotypes or expectations that are set up by ourselves or others.


    Here's to another year of adventures!

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  7. No worries, lady! I appreciate well wishes anytime.

    And you summed it up so well! Thank you. :)

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  8. Visiting from Kyla's comment crawl :) I too am 31, and when I hit 30, I had a VERY brief panic mode of "What?! But I haven't done ALL THE THINGS yet! I need to catch up!" so I started a blog with all these goals I wanted to accomplish in my 30th year that I guess I somehow thought would make me more of a "real" adult? Needless to say, that blog died after like 4 posts, haha.


    I'm with you on never really remembering a time where I set myself a specific life plan by a certain age. Other than when playing with Barbies... I was oddly and inexplicably specific then. I remember thinking all of my dolls should be married by 22 and have babies by 27. I married at 31 and have no kids yet, so clearly my 6 year old self wasn't predicting the future ;)

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  9. The one thing you'll find about aging is that you never *feel* differently. Most of us can think back to how it felt to be a little kid, a teenager, and in our early twenties without a problem. We might smile at some of the dumb mistakes we made along the way, but ultimately we're still the same people.


    What does change is how society reacts to you. People associate certain ages with certain things, however misguided that might be. Whether it's time to grow up, as you said, or time to retire, or time to slow down. People are aging better and better in general, but society's ideas of what you can or should do or look like at a particular age haven't caught up.


    So screw 'em, I say! Do what makes you happy, what feels right for you. And enjoy your thirties. Just know no one's actually got life figured out by their thirties, even though the prevailing myth is that you're supposed to have a handle on things by then. Ha! :)

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  10. I still find my inner 6 year old, 18 year old, 31 year old… You are all the ages you ever were. They are layered in you, and depending on the day, you can access any one of them. The only thing about getting older is that the forks in the road narrow a bit. Not unbearably so, but I think its a given that I won't be, for example, an olympic figure skater. Do what feels right to you. Don't waste your days - each day is precious.

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  11. The thirties are, in my opinion, so much better than the twenties. You know more about who you are and what you're doing, and you've done all the embarrassing social mistakes that teach you how to be a grown-up. You've got the momentum to actually get stuff down, and people take you seriously. Enjoy it - this is you in your prime.

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  12. Those life goals do indeed linger, and it gets weighty at times but just keeping the "do whatever we want when we want to" in mind helps :)

    Though, I happened to catch a few minute glimpse of some of my baby videos the other weekend and had the realization that my mom was exactly the same age as I am now in the videos and it freaked me out. I just went to Toys R Us last week for myself, I am in no way ready to have a kid right now.

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  13. I'm lucky that my mom was a late bloomer of sorts, so I still have time. ;) I'm holding onto that fact with a death grip, haha!

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