July 01, 2014

Lesson 190: Why I Don't Want To Turn 30

In two days, I will turn 30.

And to be honest, I do not want my birthday to arrive. Y'all, I don't want to be 30.

I have friends, who have nonchalantly entered this new life phase, free of care, full of ease. What's 30? Who cares? It's just another year.

"30 is a great age", they say. "I'm finally beginning to know myself. I'm so much less awkward. I make so many less mistakes and dumb decisions."

That's all well and good for you, but y'all, I don't want it, (which is just silly because this is a blog about growing in wisdom.)

All the time people are saying, "40 is the new 30." "50 is the new 40."

You know what no one is saying ever. "30 is the new 20," and there's a good reason for that. No one says it, because everyone knows being 20 is very different than being 30.

Admittedly, the 20's decade is a strange period of life. There's a lot of change, a lot of uncertainty, times of no money, no time, no clue. The weirdness of the 20's decade is the entire premise behind the first half of this blog's title, "I don't have a clue."

20-year olds are clueless.

But, as I reflect on making the move to a new decade, there's an unpleasant loathing in the pit of my stomach, and I've been trying to figure out why it's there.

I've come to one conclusion.

As long as my age has a 2 in the front, I can identify, in a sense, with an entire decade of life. And y'all, awkward or not, I loved my 20's  and I still want to identify with them. They were full of travel, new adventures, friends, and measurable achievements.

Though I am obviously not 20, there are aspects of my 20-year old self (or 24-year old self, or whatever), that I still want to identify with, that I still want to claim, even if they are no longer true.

I've thought of a few areas you might do this as well, so you don't judge me too harshly. Haha.

It's like how long after you graduate from university, you still claim membership or identity with that school. You wear your class ring, faithfully watch weekly football games, and continue to say, "I'm a Hokie." (Present tense, not past.) In truth, you are no longer a part of your college's community, but you still claim identity in it.

It's like how I am still considered "from the north" here in South Carolina, even though I've logged in more years living in the south. The very fact that my formative years were spent on the other side of the Mason Dixon line forever ensures that I am from there, not here.

We continue to identify with segments of our past long after they stop being an active part of our daily lives.

Is this making sense?

So the question arises, why would I want to identify with my 20's?

I've thought of two very distinct reasons.

1. My 20's included real adventure.

Tomorrow, I'm going to post a rundown on the specifics of the decade, but I can say now, in general, my 20's were full of spontaneous road trips, nights spent in dirty trains and dingy hostels, open mornings ready to be filled, beauty and wonder to be discovered in far-off places. It was a decade of new love. An unfolding of love for Mark, the first love of my children, and a freshness in my love for the Lord.

And there was a lot of travel.

Friends, there is very minimal spontaneity with three children in tow. I understand that my life looks and functions differently now. It's not so much that I want to go back to the times without my family (I would hate that), but I still want to be able to identify with the girl, who packed a backpack, said farewell, and disappeared for a few months.

I feel like in leaving my 20's, I'm leaving behind my adventurous self. The next decade just promises to be a bit more staid.

2. My 20's included vigorous health.

I know that we as humans have a tendency to idolize health, and I also know that in the grand scheme of life, I am still a very healthy person. But, an excellent part of my 20's, especially my early 20's, is that they were full of great health and energy. I was strong and had endurance.

I didn't even drink coffee.

Unfortunately, in the words of my oh-so-eloquent brother, pregnancy ruins girls' bodies.

And he wasn't talking about looks. There is a sense in which a post-pregnancy body has a beauty incomparable with anything else. It looks different for sure, but that body carried and brought life to the world, which is nothing short of miraculous.

In my case, my post-pregnancy body is a full 10 pounds lighter. That's a positive in the eyes of society.

But, there is no denying ... pregnancy, nursing, raising children ... is taxing on your body. Think about it. For 50 months, or over 4 years, some other being has taken its entire sustenance out of my body, literally eaten off of me. It's draining, and there's no real time of recuperation.

I also had that year with cushing syndrome, and those three emergency surgeries, and significant muscle loss and the truth is, my body has never fully recovered. I am thinner, weaker, and have far less energy.

Again, I've accepted this. I am so grateful that I've been healthy enough to carry three babies, but I simply am not as strong as I used to be.

In leaving my 20's, it feels like I'm leaving the time in my life when I just felt good. I like being able to identify with health and energy, regardless of whether or not I am experiencing those things.

Y'all. I'm not hopeless. I know life has many adventures awaiting us and I know that I can work towards improved health in the future. I also know that the Lord is good and sovereign, and that ultimately, his plan for life is not about adventure or health, but about sanctification. I know that I will grow in a life of constancy and weakness, just as I grew in one of uncertainty and strength. And I'm grateful for that. There's a sense in which I'm even excited about it.

But today, on one of my last two days in my 20's, I'm mourning what feels like a bit of a loss.

Maybe I'm just acting like a clueless 20-year old. Maybe when I'm 30, I'll know how silly this all sounds.

Lesson Learned: I am not quite as unaffected as I often seem.

*Linked up at Living Well, Spending Less.

1 comment:

  1. Ahh yes! I feel like my apprehension though was the lack of adventure in my twenties that I had hoped to have but didn't. 30 sounded sedentary, which was supposed to contrast my 20s, but they were also sedentary. As much as I dreaded it, 1 month in isn't too much different than 29.


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