This upcoming weekend I will be celebrating my 30th birthday. While I know that is by no means old, my 16 year old self is having trouble understanding how I got to be this age. For many people, myself included, celebrating a birthday can be a love/hate event. Love the cake. Hate that you are one year older. In our youth obsessed culture aging, while inevitable, is viewed almost as a disease. There are countless lotions, potions, and products designed to turn back the hands of time.
Along with the physical transformation of aging, there is also an emotional component. Every birthday is a reminder of what we have or haven’t accomplished. There are also cultural timelines that are present; we should be at ______stage of our life at ______age. There is this idea that as we get older, we should have everything figured out. I’m not sure that anyone ever has life really figured out.
As I move forward into my 30’s I am trying to embrace the next chapter of my life and keep a few things in mind that can apply to any birthday.
1. Learn something new. We are never too old to pick up a new hobby or skill. Learning something new challenges us and gets us out of our comfort zone. For myself, turning 30 means bring on the dance classes!
2. Remember all you’ve learned. While I sometimes think I would like to be back in my early 20’s, I shudder at how naive I was. I have learned so much during my 20’s and I can’t even imagine the life lessons I will learn over the next decade. Embrace your wisdom.
3. Don’t stop having fun. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to lose your sense of humor. Keep doing things that are fun for you regardless of age. This summer my husband and I were at a music festival and we seemed to be the oldies in a particularly young crowd. So what? We still had a blast enjoying the music.
Birthdays should be a time to celebrate our life and look forward to the next adventure. Besides, having a birthday and getting older sure beats the alternative.