Every year I do a birthday post. You can read my thoughts on turning 27, 28 and 29 and my goals I wanted to accomplish before 30, too.
But here we are, on the day I turn 30 and enter a new decade. And WOW, it’s hitting me hard. I feel so dumb saying that, as my WHOLE LIFE, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be older. But there’s something about this birthday that feels different.
There’s a lot of talk about your 30s being much “better” than your 20s. That you’ve figured more things out, you feel more settled and sure of things. I’m sure anyone actually in their 30s right now is thinking LOL, so I’ll just preface this entire post with the fact that I’m aware of that! Ha! But…
And I actually DO feel more sure of some big and small things in life. I feel sure that I made the right decision in scaling down my team and moving out of my office space. I’m grateful for less pressure to support a team and maintain an in-person work culture. It was not for me, and I know that now, being on the other side of it. I also feel sure that being a stay at home parent is not for me. Having spent six weeks this year without childcare has taught me that, through and through.
I feel more in touch with what being an introvert means and my needs as one, something I never gave much thought to before. I feel sure that for the most part chocolate desserts are the only desserts I find worth eating. =) I feel sure that interior design is one of my passions, and long has been even though I forgot that for most of my twenties. I feel sure that a “jet-setting” lifestyle is not for me, that I like feeling grounded and rooted in one place and feel lost when I have to frequently leave said place. And I feel sure that I was given this platform to do something bigger in the world than I initially thought, even if I don’t know what that is yet.
Realizing all of these things has felt very empowering and I’ve never felt clearer about them.
But on the flip side, the “weights” in my life have felt heavier as this date has approached, as if a new decade is going to cement them in their heaviness and uncertainty.
The weight of being the “bread winner”, of being an adoptive parent, of being a transracial family, of being an introvert and a mom, of raising a child in 2019, of having chronic health struggles, of the world as a whole deteriorating and what I’m doing (or not doing) to combat that, of money and what it means to me and how much is “enough”, of the toxicity of social media, of living a “public” life, of being far from most of our close friends and family and of feeling like I completely threw away my professional identity and haven’t found it again yet.
I always had lots of (albeit dumb) goals in my teens and twenties. To make it through high school (I did) so I could make it through college (I did) so I could start my own business (I did). To be married by 25 (which I was) and to be a mom by 27 (which I was). But I never thought past those in as concrete of a way. This is the first time in my life that I don’t have an exact number or task in my head to check off or fight towards. And as a major future thinker, that’s left me feeling really unsettled and lost.
Lately, my brain has been filled with thoughts like: What’s next? Is this what I want? Is this it? Where do I want to take my business? What lifestyle do I want for my family?
I completely uprooted my life path six months ago and have SO MANY ideas on how I want to rework it, but I struggle in my current unsettled state with finding the time and energy to sort them out and decide which ones to act on. All of the things I’ve realized about myself in my twenties have left me grappling with where my sweet spot lies between doing and building “big” things in my career, and maintaining the life I want and need to have for my family and my own physical and mental health. I don’t know whether I need meditation or therapy or a life coach or just some time for some deep inward thinking to figure it all out, or whether these are things you ever figure out at all.
All I know right now is that my twenties taught that I can’t do it all and I hope my 30s will be about discovering what I can and want to do instead.
Thank you as always for sticking by me as I learn how to live my life, and do so publicly. We’re all in this together and I’m grateful for this community, to both help me realize I’m not alone, and to allow me to show others they aren’t alone either.
This is 30!
You have said what most of feel in our lives. You are thirty and I am much more but I struggle with many of the items you have mentioned. You will come through on the other side. Time is on your side🙏
Taryn B says
Thanks for sharing so much of your heart. It can be hard to figure out what you want when all that seems to be happening is figuring out what you don’t want. I do think a therapist or life coach could really help you sort through your thoughts. Having someone who isn’t directly affected by your life can be a great ally in seeing the big picture of who you are and what you need and want. Blessings on this new year! Thank you for inviting us all on the ride!
Your words speak to me on so many levels. It’s hard when you’re a planner, but you’re unsure what to plan for… what you want to create and build next. Hoping you find your way in your own time. It’s all about the journey and the not the destination, right? Happy Birthday! ♥️
Yes, so true!! I have to remind myself frequently to focus on the journey!! Thank you!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KELLY!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your vulnerability with us. It does seem like our goals become a bit harder to pin down after achieving some of those big milestones. I keep wondering how my parents did it and if they felt as unsettled sometimes as we do right now. Maybe the secret is that most of us don’t really know where we’re going a lot of the time! Just know that your internet admirers are out here cheering for you.
Thank you! I wonder the same sometimes!!
Kristina B says
Heavy shit. I’m looking at all my encouragement cards right now and I think there’s 2 for you: “Momma, You’re Doin’ Great” and “Nobody Knows What They’re Doing”
You have a strong support system and home and out here in Radio Land so have some (chocolate) cake today and leave the other stuff for tomorrow 😉
Amanda J. says
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KELLY! Thanks for being so vulnerable! As Pat said, you are not at all alone in this. We all have struggles about goals and what’s next… and while it can be intimidating, a cool part of life is also that there is not a prescribed or required path!!
Cheers to a great year and decade!
Heather O. says
Happy Birthday! Also, I FELT this! Oof definitely one of those posts I didn’t know I needed to read. Not knowing what you want to do really resonates. I mean your whole life, everyone says college, job, family but no one mentions what you do after all that! It’s unsettling, for sure. I know you’ll do great things though. Thanks for sharing your heart!
Yes! So true. So much focus on the “milestones” and very little talk about what comes after that! Thank you!!
Sophia Dunkin-Hubby says
You are not alone. I am in my late 30s and have struggled with exactly the same types of questions this year. The more I’ve struggled with them the more confused I get. The only thing I’ve found that helps is to surrender and make room for the discomfort and feelings. To live with them for a while until they loosen and fade enough to allow new ideas and desires to emerge. I think we forget how long it takes for ideas to form. We’re so used to instant feedback and gratification. But it’s normal. Our bodies, minds, and spirits know what they need. All we need to do is listen. Happy Birthday!
So many good points in here. Thank you!
elsie larson says
I relate with so much of this. Give yourself the time and space and permission to figure it out one step at a time. I personally love the creative (and family!) path you have chosen. And I love that you’re taking the time to shut it all out and figure out what you want. That’s such an important step.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY I LOVE YOU!
Thank you, Elsie!!
Happy Birthday! Long time reader, first time commenter. I find your blog so inspiring and refreshing! I am just a few years older than you but felt this post so much! I remember going through this myself. I too have lived much of my life living in the future and working towards “big” goals! When I accomplished them all, I honestly had no idea what to do “next”. I started practicing mindfulness meditation and enjoying the present; taking the time to truly enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of hard work! I thought it was just going to be me “taking a breather” for a bit but it actually brought on a sense of peace and contentment I have never experienced in my entire life – and opened up my mind to new creative endeavors! This next chapter of your life is going to be SO exciting because instead of predefined societal goals like college, career choice, marriage, and family, you get to make up your own wildest dreams to accomplish. And we all know you will! But it’s also a time to really enjoy just living as the person you have worked so hard to become. The hype is real – your 30s are awesome! 🙂
I love this post so much. It’s full of many real and raw emotions one faces when entering a new decade of life, another chapter beginning, one closing. I’m 34 now and feel for so many of the things you said in this post. I can also tell you, 30s really are THE JAM. As a planner and someone always focused on what is next (like you), I have found the ability, so far in this decade, to let go of that a bit and relax into what will be. I’ve realized I’ve got time to figure things out and it all doesn’t need to happen this instant. And if I want to change my mind at any time, I can and the world won’t fall apart. It’s probably the most freeing realization I’ve had yet and one I would have loved to have discovered earlier in life. Also, yes to a life coach!!! I recently did an 8 week small group course with other women and it was amazing! I can’t recommend it enough. Especially with the questions and decisions you are grappling with. Best of luck to you in this next decade. No matter what happens, stay true to yourself (like you always have) and you will be just fine 🙂