This is not going to be a post about all the things I've done in my life that I'm the most proud of (that post was last year, on my Golden Birthday).
This is not going to be a post bemoaning the fact that my twenties are now a thing of the past, an age never to be reclaimed again (at least, I'm hoping that's not what it will be a post about).
This is also not going to be a post about how 30 is the new 20, or a post on how to endlessly try and come to terms with the fact that I'm mortal, and thus, susceptible to aging.
This is a post about choices.
When I was a teenager, I was asked the typical questions in church and in school of "where I saw myself in 1, 5, and 10 years."
And I thought about it. Brainstormed. Responded in kind.
But no one really ever asked me about BEYOND that--
Maybe because they figured that as long as I didn't make too much of a mess of my 20's--that decade of self-discovery and massive personal growth--I would probably turn out okay.
I actually think there's some great truth in that.
That's not to say that now, as a fresh, new 30-year-old, I have it all figured out
Cuz no. Just no.
But I think I have the general DIRECTION figured out, the right order of priorities.
I've talked about it before, but when I was younger, especially in my early twenties, I THOUGHT I had my priorities all figured out. While I would have claimed that the people in my life and my faith were most important, I didn't treat them as such---in fact, my real order of priority seemed to be school, work, church/faith, people.
In other words, all of my outer responsibilities basically always took priority, and only after I fit in everything that I felt I "had" to do was there time left over for people and spiritual growth and fun and memories.
I'm not sorry for that time in my life. I do think that there are certain seasons where we HAVE to devote more time and energy to things that are not where we really want to be devoting so much time and energy (ask any student or medical resident). But I'm also thankful that I was given trials that forced me to see quickly that my real order of priorities was NOT currently the best order, nor the one that would bring me the most happiness.
I'm glad that I'm in a season now where my life choices have made it possible for me to be in the best place I can be in order to actually carry out my real priorities. Those life choices have included a very conscious effort to simplify where possible, to cut out the unnecessary, to pursue the highest goals (only), and to make time to enjoy the now.
I've often read people's answers to the question, "What would you tell your 20-year-old self?" I actually toyed with the idea of doing just such a post for this Turning-30 edition.
But the truth was, I needed to make all the mistakes I did and have all the experiences I had and meet all the people I met in order to be right where I'm at today.
And I'm not sorry for any of it.
Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes, so it's all too easy to spout out the wisdom of your age to those who are younger and less experienced than you are.
But as a 20-year-old, I heard all sorts of advice and wisdom and "start this now"s, but I didn't always really listen (except for when it came to taking advantage of saving for retirement as early as possible, which I am SO GLAD I did).
So here I am now, at 30, and feeling pretty good about the direction my life is going. I'm truly happy exactly where I am, and I credit that happiness to these things:
1 - My parents. They taught me moral principles, demonstrated the value of hard work and sacrifice, and always showed me love and support. I could never thank them enough for their examples and teaching!
2 - My faith. I have stayed active in my faith (in the LDS church) throughout my life, and it has saved me from a lot of needless suffering and pain since it is built on the teachings of Jesus Christ. I made a vow to myself a long time ago that I would always keep the commandments and stay active in the church, and it has proved to be probably the most important decision for my happiness that I could ever make.
3 - My marriage to Matt. I heard countless times growing up that the person you choose to marry is one of the most important choices you'll ever make, and I can definitely see the absolute truth in that wisdom. So much of my day-to-day life now hinged on that one crucial decision to make Matt mine forever, and I have never had cause to regret it. He is my whole world, and he makes every day a gift.
4 - My decision to make the leap into parenthood. This was a hard one for me, but I knew the value of motherhood and knew it would further help me to become the best version of myself. Since having Raven, my heart has seemingly quadrupled in its ability to feel love and joy (as well as absolute anxiety, if we're being honest!), and I know that THIS is the way to become the version of myself I've always wanted to be.
I don't know what the next 10 years will bring. I tried, in fact, to sit down yesterday and draw up some goals I had for myself over the next decade, but there were very few that came up.
The fact is, I know that as long as I'm staying firm to those four things mentioned above--my family, faith, marriage, and child(ren)--I'm going to be living a life that I can be proud of, forever.
Here's to my thirties!