Monday, September 30, 2013

Thoughts on Turning 30... And NOT Completing My 30 Before 30 List

Last Thursday marked six months until my 30th birthday.  Yes, that sounds a little crazy to me; but, it isn't hard for me.  I am actually looking forward to it. Really.

If my twenties were marked with CHANGE (think graduating from college, getting my master's degree, starting my first teaching job, getting married, buying a house, and having a baby), I'm looking forward to a season of CONTENTMENT in my thirties.  Maybe that's wishful thinking, but I have a real peace about heading in to this next season of my life... 

It wasn't that long ago when thirty felt so old.  Even just three and a half years ago - when I made my 30 Before 30 list - thirty felt really far away... Like I had all the time in the world.

According to that list, I have six months to write a book, run a half marathon, learn to sew, cook a Thanksgiving meal, go to another continent, paint something I'm proud of, learn photography, take a class, read the Bible cover-to-cover, visit all 11 (well I think I'm only short one or two) of my college girlfriends at their homes, read 9 of the top ten novels of all time, take a vacation with my mom and sister, get something published, go on an overnight hiking trip, refinish a piece of furniture, mentor a younger girl, take hip-hop dance lessons, decorate someone else's house, finish my study-abroad scrapbook, wear a bikini (and not be self-conscious), learn yoga, and learn a song on the guitar.  (That's 22/30 in case you lost count.)

Umm... I hate to sell myself short, but I'm going to go ahead and say I'm probably NOT going to be completing this list before March 26th.  A few of those are still in progress, but I've pretty much given up any notion of me writing a book or running a half marathon between now and March.  I can't even stay caught up on my laundry, people. ;)

Yes, in one sense, I guess I'm kind-of "making excuses" for my lack of commitment and follow-through on my list.  Those things are struggles for me in general; so, yes, there is a certain amount of disappointment that comes with not being able to say I accomplished what I set out to do.

BUT, more than that, I am focused on how much I HAVE done before thirty.  (I will write more about that when its closer to my birthday.)  When I look at that list now, I see a very naive 26 year old who had NO idea how much life and fulfillment would come simply from the ordinary stuff like feeding my baby, changing diapers, and teaching my little boy how to count to ten.

I'm not giving up on my 30 Before 30 list.  Instead, I'm thinking of it as more of a guide to the next thirty years.  I don't NEED those things to feel accomplished; but, they are fun goals to have and wonderful things to do in my life when the time is right.  I think all those things WILL happen, but I'm content recognizing that it probably won't be during this season of my life. 

This season is more about being present right here; and here is a very good place to be.

What about you?  What are your thoughts on getting older and accomplishing certain things in your life?  How has your perspective changed as you have aged?


  1. Being that I just turned 31 this month, it was like reliving the whole turning 30 all over again. We don't own a house, but don't desire to right now as it gets in our way of attending seminary and becoming pastors together. I think I would just love to rent a house that is larger than 1000 sq ft. With 4 of us and still thinking about a 3rd baby....a safe, clean, efficient space sounds like a dream.
    But I would continue living in this house if it meant I could be a SAHM.

  2. I have alot of those things on my 40 before 40 list... and many of them happened in my 30s. Change the number and you're good to go! I'm glad you're not beating yourself up over it!

  3. well, since I bypassed you to 30 I must say it is fab over here! you certainly completed more landmark moments than I have but it gives me something to look forward to in the next 5 yrs.

  4. I never did lists to accomplish things but I think it is a good idea because it gives you some goals. It doesn't matter if you didn't have time or desire to write an entire book (I admire you, that wouldn't be in my list!!!), because you have a great life and you are enjoying it (like, as you said, taking care of your little boy).
    You gave me the idea of starting a list! Let see if I accomplish some of my goals ;-)

  5. We had a speaker for professional development a few years ago who talked about the importance of a "ta-da" list instead of a "to-do" list. It's all about celebrating your accomplishments rather than staring at a page full of things you didn't do. Your post reminded me of that-- and I love making ta-da lists at the end of a day! (or decade)

  6. Love Megan's idea of a 'ta-da' list!! So smart!! Also, I think you're really underestimating how much you can accomplish in the next 6 months. :) I would really really like to see you try to knock out all 22! HA! And then I need to see what your daily schedule looks like: (3 a.m. wake up, run for an hour; 4 a.m. Work on the book for 1 hr; 5 a.m. Practice yoga in a bikini) would be awesome!! ;)

  7. Yes, here is a good place to be. I like that statement. I can't even remember being 30, but embrace every age. It's truly good to be alive, regardless of age. Blessings,

  8. I can help you take care of #24. Come to Just Dance Roanoke with me!!!! And as far as the rest go, just rename your list "30 AFTER 30". :)

  9. I was in the same situation because I became pregnant right before I turned 29, which caused me to skip out on lots of things on my list: Skydiving, Northern California wine trip, traveling to another country, etc...So, I made a 30 WHILE 30 list, and it's been great. I won't complete them all, but they have been fun to follow!! Happy Hump Day!!


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