Friday, February 26, 2016

on turning thirty.

On Sunday, I will celebrate my thirtieth birthday.

When I was twenty, my friends and I used to have long conversations about where we'd be in ten years. I'm sure I imagined I'd be married, maybe with a couple kids, and I figured I'd have a high powered job or I'd have gained at least some notoriety for something important. I wanted to be someone by now.

I was hard on my future self. Sure I'd be married, but certainly I would have played the field a little, been wooed by many men to be sure the one I settled down with was the right one for me. Maybe I'd have kids, but only after my husband (that winning suitor of all my admirers) and I had traveled the world. We'd have to cross off so many things off our bucket list before finally embarking on the daunting journey of parenthood. I'd be successful for sure. I would be making money and earning accolades because that's how twenty year old me measured success: money and achievement. And for some reason, I was fixated on a sleek and modern loft apartment in a big city.

In ten years, I would be celebrating my thirtieth birthday with a decade worth of rich experience under my belt.

Twenty year old me would be wildly disappointed in thirty year old me.

Thirty year old me managed to date a grand total of one person before getting married. I haven't spent the last ten years checking item after item off my bucket list, in fact I haven't even left the country. I have no notoriety and have made next to nothing working in non-profits and no one outside of my friend group has any idea who I am. And, as if I couldn't insult twenty year old me enough, I live in a regular, run of the mill house that I would hardly describe as sleek or modern.

That's okay though. In a lot of ways, twenty year old me was an idiot. She parted her hair down the middle, which was a terrible look, and she always wore shirts that were a size too small cause she thought it was cute to show her midriff. She cared so deeply what other people thought of her and she didn't like who she saw in the mirror. I'm glad I don't measure my success by her standards.

Instead I spent the last decade with the man I love, growing from kids into adults together. We haven't traveled the world, but we have logged thousands of miles around the country, moving to new cities and sharing all kinds of everyday adventures before finally embarking on the adventure that is parenthood. Instead of notoriety and accolades, I've spent the last ten years meeting new friends and cultivating rich relationships with just a handful of people. I'm a better woman for the friends I've met as we put down roots in new places and for the tribe that I've taken with me as I go. Instead of success and money, I've been fortunate to do several different jobs, each one a perfect fit for the season I'm in it. And instead of a sleek, modern apartment, we have our boring house that is a warm, inviting home. We welcome authenticity and love on our stained, hand me down couches and I wouldn't want it any other way,

Twenty year old me my have had different ideas about the way thirty would look, but I can say, with a full and happy heart, that on Sunday, I will be celebrating my thirtieth birthday with a decade worth of rich experience under my belt.


I had a wonderful time looking through pictures of the last decade for this post. I have truly had a good time, so it was hard to narrow some down. These two seemed to sum it up best though. These are my two main girls, Katy and Megan, who have kept it real since high school. In the first picture, we were 21 and getting ready for a night out at the bars. We are made up and ready to see and be seen and I'm sure we were wearing uncomfortable shoes. In the second picture, taken just last month, we are piled in my bed in the morning. We've got kids and husbands and fiances and jobs and there isn't a lick of makeup on any of our faces and we couldn't be happier. 

1 comment:

  1. I love 20-year-old midriff-bearing Cari, and I love 30-year-old momma Cari. I'm so happy to have been part of your life these last ten years, even if we've spent most of it hundreds of miles apart. Here's to sharing grandkids some day. ;)