The "I'm already 30" list
I didn't do one of those "30 before 30 things" that other white girls before me have done via Facebook. I know of rolled my eyes at them. That was until my colleague, Kate, decided that when she turns 29 next month, she will start her own list. Hearing her talk about it and how excited she was about it made me think, "hmm maybe I should've given it a second look. I do like making lists and challenging myself" Although my second thought after that thought is that my entire list would be about learning to make specific foods. That's not necessarily a bad thing but I really can't keep eating cake every single day of my life.
Oh well. I'm already 30 and that's okay. I still think I am 27. Who cares.
I actually had a "hard time" turning 30. (I mean that in a pretty typical, not really that hard sense). I think that "hard time" really was disappointment. I am disappointed with myself for going through my 20s and not coming out the other side in the same way I thought would. I am not married. I don't have kids (and I still go back and forth on that one. Was it by 30 that I thought I would know definitely one way or the other?) Minus this blog, I don't write. I write nothing. I am not even inspired to write. I have put no active energy into photography. (It's already July and I have not had a single photography job. Not even one). I live in a state that was suppose to be my "temporary space holder" while I hang out with my sister and learn to make coffee. Now my sister lives in Virginia and I have an iced latte fixation that won't go away. My life continues to be so rural when I am literally allergic to all things rural. I have chronic pain that's been so hard to figure out how to manage and it makes me feel so old. I had no idea my body would betray me this early.
All of this was hanging heavily over my head on June 14th.
But I guess that's how life is. That is to say that so much of what we plan or hope for might not work out, or at least work out on the time table that I might set for myself. I guess one of the biggest life struggles is learning how to be okay with that while balancing optimism and gratitude.
So I guess if I were to have a "I'm already 30" list there would only be one thing on it: practice gratitude. I am such a planner and a perfectionist that I struggle to be a grateful person; I am always looking ahead, trying to better the situation. But I want to work on that because oh my gosh it's exhausting. I really want to believe that even if I never publish anything, my life will have been enough. I want to be grateful for all the excellent things that surround my everyday, Kansas life.
Last Thursdays, some of my MCC Central States colleagues had a "farewell-ish" party (since I am leaving my current role and moving on to a different one within MCC, but I will be still working in the same building that I am now. So I am not really leaving). Maynard, my boss, loves to host people at his house so we had an early supper out at his farm. When you go to supper at Maynard's, every meal is thanksgiving. Instead of saying some locked and pre-loaded prayer, Maynard (and his wife Carol) have started just saying what they are thankful for prior to eating. So on Thursday, my colleagues and I went around the table and said what we were thankful for. I had to go last. Choking back tears (ugh, of course), I said,
"I am grateful for you [my Central States colleagues]. Kansas hasn't always been an easy place for me to be, but one of the reasons why I stayed was because of all of you. Thank you for being part of my family away from my family."
That's been true. Whenever anyone back east asks me why I still live all the way out here I say because my boyfriend lives here and because I have a really good job. (For me a really good job means, I believe in the organization I work for and I genuinely like the people I work with, also health insurance). I've been really lucky.
So while none of those things I listed earlier have happened before I turned 30, I am still grateful and wish to continue to remind myself of that. I might not be married or have kids or live in a city that inspires me, but I do have a boyfriend who loves me for always and who is in it for the long haul. I might not have any other creative side hustle, but I am on the verge of starting a new job that will challenge me to be creative in new ways. I might have chronic pain but I've started doing yoga every morning and have started to see some really great pain management results from that. (I really want to be a yogi master, meaning that I want to do all those complicated poses that make you go "whhhhhaaaat?") (Also I have a cat who is the best cat ever.)
I have a good life. It is enough.