Last Friday was my 30th birthday. There were a lot of “dirty thirty” jokes and the occasional “Is this your second 29th birthday?” comment. Thankfully, most of the people around me are amazing and the good jokes outweighed the bad. Once upon a time I would’ve made a lot of the bad jokes and comments about myself and my 30th birthday; I had bought into the whole “you’re only valuable if you’re young and pretty!” thinking and 30 seemed like the end of the world. That was half way to 60! That was OLD. Everywhere you look, the cult of youth has a firm hold, selling us everything from skin creams to surgery to diets and weight loss gimmicks in order for us to try and stay young and desirable forever. It’s hard not to fall into that trap of negative thinking, and it’s socially awkward or odd to actually embrace getting older!
My twenties were a tumultuous time — I went to university, broke up with my long-term boyfriend, started dating Ryan, moved out of my parent’s place, got our first house (a rental but still!), had Gabe, got married, finished school, tried teacher’s college, went back to school, finished school again, went out West for two years, moved a zillion times, had another kid, and had a bunch of different jobs ranging from computer tech support monkey to pet store clerk. In that time, I endured two major surgeries, one minor, a couple of bouts of depression (one very severe), some pretty big ups and downs in my relationship with Ryan, and, basically, at this juncture, where I’m only working part time and living in my in-laws’ basement because I have no other options, I’m feeling like my twenties have kicked my ass. In there also, I discovered Feminism and Body Acceptance, and thank all the gods for that. It feels good to put it all behind me after looking back and taking stock of where I’ve been, what I’ve done and learned, and how I’ve grown.
Thirty isn’t even half my expected life span. Thirty is (I desperately hope) the beginning of my grown-up life, now that I’ve worked out a bunch of kinks leftover from my teenage years. Thirty is going to be the decade I run my first real marathon, watch my son grow into a man, celebrate 10 and 15 years with Ryan, buy my first home and achieve a bunch of other dreams I’ve been harbouring for a while. Twenty-nine forever? Twenty-one with nine years of experience? Forget it! I’m 30 and it’s going to be GREAT!