|The great-looking crew at my 90s-themed birthday party. An awesome way to celebrate 30; with friends! photo by Katie Friesen|
(This is a continuation of the last post I published. You can read about why I was scared of 30 here for more context.)
My friend, Wendy, sent me a message the day after my 30th birthday...when I was still feeling like my heart started racing and I wanted to curl up in the fetal position anytime anyone mentioned my new age. Her email helped me to cut the drama and start thinking of the things I could be looking forward to in my thirties rather than looking backwards at how removed I was from my supposed "youth."
I reprinted, with her permission, most of her letter here (her letter in green...my responses in black) and I hope that it encourages you as well, no matter what stage of life you are in. (And, if you happen to be in your twenties or younger, maybe you can remind me of all of this the next time you simultaneously make fun of my decade-change. Hint, hint.)
She greeted me in her letter and started listing out some things I could rejoice in. Way to go, Wendy!:
"For one, you are no longer considered inexperienced and too juvenile to know anything, like most people in their twenties are considered to be. (It doesn't matter how smart you are in your 20's, you just don't have the experience!)"
...finally, maybe my family and others will stop second-guessing me when I make major decisions? That would be awesome. At first reading, I was a little surprised at the way she referenced people in their 20s, but then I remembered all the times when I got a funny look or a "Are you suuuure about that?" from well-meaning people. So, I guess Aalijah was wrong when she sang "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" (how 90s is that?! I am still thinking of the 90s ever since my rockin' party. It is a problem I have of late.)
"I think another wonderful thing about the 30's is that you begin to care less about what people think of you and you can start to relax and have more fun. This seems to increase every year until you die, hahaha, but it really is a fun part of growing older!!"
...well, maybe there is hope for me yet. I have a compulsion to over-analyze what others think about what I am doing and if they are pleased with me or not...so maybe growing older every year with help me kick the habit? I really hope so. If not, I might grow an ulcer sometime soon. Then I'll really feel old. Whomp whomp whomp.
"Another great thing is that people begin to take you a little more seriously and listen to what you have to say. (That experience thing)"
...this is one of the most exciting things to process. Right now, we're in a position with work and family life where we are interacting with so many people who are either young in age or young in their faith. I want to share things that I have learned through trial and error and through mistakes of my own, and having a little favor in the area of authority might help the wisdom I share not go through someone's ear and out their other. Seeing people succeed gets me excited!
"You are a very beautiful woman and don't feel you have lost any beauty from one year to another, you have many years to go of being absolutely lovely, do NOT listen to the lie that you are somehow losing it or whatever. You can start feeling that way in another couple of decades, but not this one! The 30's are a time when the baby fat falls off our faces and many women look their best, there are many actresses that are absolutely stunning in their 30's, don't you think?"
...aw-shucks, Wendy. You just made my whole year! Being pregnant for the fourth time can kind of do a number on one's self-esteem. Thanks for lifting it up!
"Another reason to be joyful for the 30's is your family, the joy of watching your children mature and grow up, children who adore you & a husband who loves you so much, these are precious gifts."
...for some reason, I have been forgetting the reality that in order for my kids to grow up and for my marriage to continue to mature, that I have to "grow up" and mature as well. The two go hand in hand. For the things she mentioned above (children maturing and bringing joy, a husband who continues to walk in great love), there is definitely the factor of hard work that has to be figured in. But, thankfully, in the midst of our busy lives, whining, squabbles and "training opportunities"...I can remember that the fruit is starting to pop up, and that more and more will come if we all persevere in God's ways.
"I know you know these things already but it is always good to be reminded again, because when we feel sad it is hard to remember!
Finally, as you know time goes faster as we grow older, and if you can imagine it, your older self is laughing at you for feeling old already! You will never again be this young, so enjoy it!!
Much love to you, Alina,
...yes, I need to consider my season of life as not how "old" I feel, but how young I am in light of my life ahead. There is so much that I don't know yet, and so much that I have yet to experience, enjoy and learn from. Thanks for that reminder, friend!
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV