My thirtieth birthday is right around the corner. In just over a month, I’ll say goodbye to an entire decade of my life, a formidable decade where so many life-changing things happened, and I learned more about myself than I could have imagined. Lately, I’ve found it difficult to put my thoughts into words, both here on the blog and in face to face conversation. For some reason, my mind feels a little muddy and my thoughts just aren’t clear. In addition to feeling a bit foggy, I’ve also struggled quite a bit with “what’s next.” I’ve actually written several posts about this topic alone, yet I haven’t shared any of them, because they hardly make sense to me and they’re the fruits of my own mind.
Today I woke up wondering if my confusion and lack of peace stems from my nearing birthday. Let me be clear, I’m not dreading my thirtieth birthday and I don’t think I’m saying goodbye to my youth. In fact, I’ve been excited about turning thirty for quite some time. There is something unmistakably thrilling about embarking on a new decade, and for some reason, I genuinely feel like my thirties will be my time. I’ve done so much already through my twenties. I simply can’t imagine how exciting the next ten years might be.
Excited or not, I’ve felt so confused and up in the air. I’ve had 1,000 ideas and sketched out 1,000 plans, yet nothing feels concrete. I feel like I’m on the verge of something fantastic, yet I can’t even tell you what that is. I have big dreams and the fact that I have so many big dreams, makes it difficult to know where to begin. Suddenly, it dawned on me that maybe all of this nervousness stems from my anticipation of this new chapter.
While I’m not nervous about growing older, I do have a bit of anxiety about not getting around to doing all of the many things I want to do in life. I sometimes fear that I’ll look up and life has buzzed by without me getting to try every new thing and see the world. I suppose the coming of my thirtieth birthday could be encouraging some of this fear…a fear of not getting to do it all. In an attempt to ease my mind, I started making a list of what all I accomplished in my twenties. Maybe seeing the magnitude of what I’ve already done would ease my mind by showing me that there’s room to do so much more.
Join me, if you will, as we take a little blast through my past.
- I graduated college. Thinking back on that moment, I would have never guessed my twenties would play out like they have. It just goes to show that things can so easily (and sometimes effortlessly) head in a different direction.
- I got my first full time job. With benefits. Big girl status. Looking back, I learned so much here without even realizing it.
- I opened my first business at 23. Wow. Sometimes I even amaze myself. I had no fear about quitting my “real job” to run a boutique full time. I hope that I never lose this bravery and faith in myself.
- I got married. Opening that business is what eventually led me to my husband. I’d have never imagined that and I’m glad that it did.
- I sold that first business and got my real estate license. When first deciding to do this, I would have never imagined how life changing it would be. I can say with certainty that I’ll look back on this as one of the most formidable decisions of my life…yet I would have never known it at the time.
- I met a huge financial goal. A goal that I’d hoped I might reach someday became a reality in my twenties and it made me immensely proud of my hard work.
- I bought my first house. This has been such an adventure in itself and has taught me more about myself that I would have imagined…still learning so much.
- I bought a Mercedes! The amount in which I love that car (and am thankful that I allowed myself to get it) is tough to explain. I simply love it.
In making this list, several things jump out at me. First, the second half of the decade looked much differently than the first. I wouldn’t have been able to imagine the end from the beginning, yet everything played out perfectly. Plus, this is just the highlight reel. There were so many high and lows, so much that I learned about myself and the world around me. Just thinking back on the hundreds of experiences that I didn’t mention makes me realize just how much transpired in ten short years.
Secondly, I did so. much. My recent fears of running out of time really are ungrounded. It’s hard to convince myself of that, yet it’s true. In just the last ten years, my life has transformed multiple times. I’ve tried many new things, and seen and learned so much. Why do I think my thirties will be any different?? Even though I can’t see the end result just yet, I should have faith that everything will play out just as well as the last ten years. I’m working on that.
Let’s veer off topic for a bit. I’ve often talked about how much I love this space to write and how thankful I am for it. This post in itself is a wonderful example of that. I’ve felt so much anxiety over the last couple of months, and I haven’t really been able to identify the cause. I’ve felt unsettled and worried. However, writing this post has given me a new perspective. If I didn’t have this blog, I wouldn’t have even began writing these thoughts down, and I wouldn’t have been able to let writing help me flush out my thoughts. As I began writing this piece, I actually had a different goal in mind for it, as I often do. Shortly after making it through a few paragraphs, I realized that things were headed in a different direction. Just getting the first little bit out and into tangible words, evoked more clear feelings. Being able to write (albeit for an audience) put me in touch with what was actually going on in my mind and allowed me to think through and develop my thoughts. If I didn’t have this online portal, I would have likely kept feeling anxious and uncertain. This simple post may indeed be life-changing for me, as it is certainly providing a new perspective that will hopefully guide me through the next several months.
I think the moral of this story and the point of my ramblings are that time passes how it intends to pass, without any bearing on our feelings of it. I’ll simply turn thirty in a few weeks and then shortly after that I’ll turn forty. There is nothing any of us can do to stop or hinder the passing of time. There is something we can do about how that time is used, though.
I’ve spent the last several months worried about running out of time. I don’t know which big idea to start with so that all of the other big ideas fall in to place. However, I’ve been missing the point. Time is going to pass anyway, whether I have everything figured out or I don’t. I will turn thirty and then forty, whether I chase one dream or twenty…or none. I’ve been allowing my lack of a clearly defined “plan” to hinder me from doing anything. What a travesty. Looking back over my twenties, it’s completely evident that things work out even without a plan…even if things go differently than you anticipate. Therefore, why do I feel so uncertain? I’m wasting time trying to “plan” when I should just be doing something. Anything! Doing one tiny little thing and making one tiny little bit of progress is far greater than making no progress at all because you’re paralyzed with uncertainty.
So back to the moral. The moral here is to do something. Stop being afraid of the unknown and know that things will inevitably play out just how they should. We simply can’t know with certainty what tomorrow or 1,000 tomorrows will look like. However, we absolutely can choose what today looks like. Therefore, make today and tomorrow look as fabulously as you can. Do something exciting. Make some progress towards a goal…regardless of which one it is. And for heaven’s sake, stop worrying about tomorrow. I do that enough for the both of us.