Ready for Thirty-Nine

My work friend recently celebrated her 30th birthday. She was a little sad about it as she reflected on The List.  You know the one.  The list we make of all the things we want to accomplish before our 20s end and our 30s begin. I made such a list and I don't think I accomplished anything on it. I was going to have four children (two boys and two girls), work for a successful company (and make lots of money), build a beautiful new house and travel to Europe. I have no idea what I was thinking.

I remember my 30th birthday very clearly.  I was pregnant with my second child and my bladder woke me up at 3 a.m.  As I washed my hands and stood before the mirror I saw the most horrible sight: gray hair.  There they were, three evil witches right where my hairline parted, laughing at me.  This can't be happening, I thought.  I was cursing like a sailor as I plucked those hairs out of my head, waking up my poor husband who wondered if I had gone mad.

I got back into bed and tried to fall asleep but found myself wide awake worrying about all the things I had yet to accomplish.  I hadn't finished college.  I didn't know what I wanted to do in my career. I was working part time because the flexible hours allowed me to be home with my then 4-year-old.  My husband and I had bought a house that needed work so I knew I'd have return to full time work eventually. And we certainly couldn't afford a European vacation when there were so many uncertainties.

As my 39th birthday approaches in little over a month, I look back on the last ten years and realize everything worked out.  I have a strong marriage, three beautiful children, a college degree, a career that fulfills me, and friends from different parts of my life that love and support me. I am not worried about turning 40 next year.  It's not like I can stop it and worrying about it is a waste of time.

My thirties weren't as bad as I anticipated, but they weren't easy. We struggled with finances, we worried about saving for retirement, we had to replace our vehicles (more financial stress). In the midst of it all, I went back to school at age 32, worked full time, was pregnant my last semester and graduated with a bachelor's degree at age 35.  Completing my education was the biggest achievement of my thirties.  I don't care that our house still needs work (it will get done, little by little) or that I've still not traveled to Europe (I'll get there one day). I set a goal and I crushed it.  I invested in myself and I'm proud of my accomplishment.

As I look ahead toward my future I know that I will achieve so much more.  Bring it on, 39! I'm ready!

Me at age 31 (and smiling)!


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