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Facing Thirty


So here I am turning thirty this week. A milestone I never thought I would run into, much less pass. As I stare thirty in the face, I find myself looking back over my shoulder at my twenties. I am mourning a little, laughing a little more, but mostly thanking God that the mistakes that I have made, for the most part, had consequences only for myself.

I am mourning for the silliest reasons. I am no longer the deified 20-something of magazine covers and construction worker catcalls. My hips are too wide and my face is no longer the face of innocence. I can no longer party all night, and work all day because I get bags under my eyes and an acid stomach when I try to. Besides, who has time to party with two active boys needing meals made and diapers changed. I have traded short skirts with high heels for sneakers and Capri pants. I'm much more comfortable, but I miss turning heads.

I'm not where I thought I would be at thirty. I don't have the education I want, the career I dreamed of, or the financial security I was sure I would achieve. I haven't seen my name in lights, and the only autograph I'm asked for is at the bottom of my checks, and then only by people to whom I owe money. Not exactly what I had in mind.

I haven't traveled as I wanted. I haven't had very many adventures. My life is pretty much just like every woman I know. I clean, I shop, I cook what I shopped for, I drop off the kids, I pick up the kids, and occasionally I do something for me. Probably not often enough, but I do get some time to myself.

There's a saying I've heard - How do you make God laugh? Make a plan. If so, He's getting a good chuckle out of me. Then again, so am I. For instead of catcalls and whistles, and the momentary gratification they bring, I have a husband who tells me, in many ways, how very appreciative he is - hips and all. I have two boys, one who will run up to me, pat my face and tell me, unasked, that he loves me, and the other who if he looses sight of me, makes noise until I return. So I'm not alone. I haven't had a lonely day since my children were born. Lonely moments, yes, but never a lonely day. I can't say that about my twenties.

I have learned maturity, sort of, and patience. Perhaps the hard way, but I learned. You don't learn the most important lessons, not only how to love but how to BE loved, in school. Sometimes it's harder to be loved than to love someone. My career will come, later, after my kids are well on their way. And although I don't have the millions or even thousands that I dreamed of, my husband and I work together, sometimes even struggle together, and the financial security will come. Meantime, we're laughing our way through the process. As far as my name in lights, the older I get, the more I see of celebrity and what you give up to have it, I don't believe it's worth it.

I will travel, later, with my family. My big adventure lies within the walls of my home. It's in what my kids are now, and what they will be, and in enjoying the process. It won't last forever. During the sleepless nights of rocking and walking a wakeful child, it seems like it will, but morning always comes. Far too soon, the morning will come when I'll get up and it will be just Scott and I again. I try not to spend too much time wishing myself anywhere but where I am.

I have a few other things now that I didn't have until I was late in my twenties. First off, I have three really good, call 'em no matter what time it is, tell them anything and I don't have to worry about what they think of me, friends. Unfortunately, they all live on the other coast of this country. I wish I could convince them all to leave the land of fruits, flakes and nuts, but we all have to live where the work is. I thank God that I have them and I couldn't get through life without them.

I also, and this is a very recent development, have come to the conclusion, that I really don't care what people think of me. The woman up the street who told everybody in the neighborhood that I flipped her the bird, neglecting to tell them that she had a pee in my yard, so that half the neighbors stopped talking to me; why should I care what a person like that thinks? The lady in the grocery store who told me to 'control' my son when he was singing at the top of his lungs and dancing in the aisle blocking her from getting her cart, she needs more joy in her life. I make decisions based on what I and my family need. Not on a public opinion poll. My twenties were all about what people thought. Now I only worry about the opinions of the people I respect.

So come on thirty, I'm ready. I look forward to this new decade. I'm glad I made it, because thirty beats the crap out of the alternative!



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