The view from 30

Me at 30

Yesterday, I turned 30.

I wrote a long, meandering, overly-philosophical post about Life and Love and Where I Am At This Point versus Where I Thought I’d Be.

And it’s not bad, that post. It’s full of hope and reflection and features shout-outs to my husband and loving family, wonderful friends and darling baby son.

But it was missing something. Something real.

Though Oliver is sleeping a bit more all the time, exhaustion still steals so much of my creativity. Even when I have a moment to sit and write here, my favorite space, it’s like my brain misfires and words become jumbled. I’m still reading and writing for work, where I’m paid to not suck and meet deadlines, but all of my extra energy goes toward caring for Ollie before and after getting home. And things like feeding my husband and me . . . you know, as time allows.

So as my thirtieth birthday rushed up to greet me, I started thinking — weeks ahead, actually — of what I might like to say to mark the occasion. There isn’t much I haven’t documented here, and I wanted to write a big ol’ important post to remember what I was thinking on July 18, 2015.

But mostly I was thinking . . . zzzNAPzzz chips more coffee please.

Now that I’m caffeinated and have a napping infant finally settled in his swinging chair, I can reflect. I can process.

Over the last three decades of life, I’ve learned what I like and what I do not. What I will stand for and what I will not. My 20-year-old self would have been far too timid, too nervous, too insanely anxious to tackle any of the things my 30-year-old self deals with regularly . . . and though I know I talk about it constantly, having a baby — especially a premature baby — has completely changed my perspective on everything. Especially what matters.

So what matters?

Being there for people when and how you say you will. Keeping your word. Making time to look up at a night sky and hold hands with someone you love. Drinking good coffee. Getting outside your county, state or country to see and appreciate the vastness and beauty of the world around us.

Eating good — and good for you — food. Dressing in a way that makes you feel powerful and comfortable and strong. Listening. Putting thoughts behind actions. Celebrating the holidays — especially the ones you create yourself. Cheering for small victories and large ones. Recognizing when someone needs a hand and offering it, expecting nothing in return.

Carving out time for small indulgences. Watching movies that remind you of the goodness of humanity. Playing favorite songs loud enough to wake the neighbors (at a reasonable hour, of course). Visiting the ocean. Occasionally painting your nails. Remembering that the “flaws” that seem so obvious will be invisible to those that love you.

At 30, I certainly don’t have it all figured out. Though I’ve been out of college for eight years (!), I’ve never stopped being a student. I love talking to others, absorbing their stories, churning out my own. Like all readers, I constantly seek powerful books that make me think and feel and want to help.

I’m incredibly grateful for the friends I’ve made — at work, at school, through this blog — and the fact that, at some point, I started letting people in. That sounds silly, doesn’t it: letting people in? Cheesy, maybe. Slightly embarrassing. But the truth is that, for years in my mid-twenties, I felt a little detached and adrift. Then I met my husband and stopped pretending like I didn’t want — need — friendship, and everything changed. Everything got better.

At 30, I love my family more than ever. Sometimes I sit back in awe of the little tribe around me, and I appreciate what it means to be loyal and devoted to others. Relationships — romantic and familial — take work, and I try hard not to take any of them for granted. I often look at Spencer and think, There is my partner. Seeing my husband tenderly hold our son never gets old.

When we needed our tribe in April, they were there. And in life, that’s what matters.

In this next decade of life, I look forward to building our little family up and making our home even homier. I hope to see the world with Spence and Oliver at my side and listen to more of my loved ones’ stories. At my next milestone birthday, Ollie will be 10 — and I hope to be his staunchest supporter and cheering section. I hope, more than anything, to be a wonderfully fun and compassionate and loving mother.

I look forward to eating ice cream, scribbling stories, finding a dress that really makes me feel fabulous. Walking through Paris and watching the leaves turn color. Making scones and sharing them with friends both new and old.

I’m open to it. To all of it.

Just after my next iced coffee.


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29 thoughts on “The view from 30

  1. I just turned twenty-two and I relate to many of the things you mentioned you struggled with in your twenties. It’s nice to hear that you have settled into yourself by thirty…that gives me hope for the future! Happy birthday!

  2. This is everything I needed to read right now. I’m 22 and nothing has worked out nicely for me. I was up and about feeling sad and dejected about life, reading your post reminded me to make myself believe that things will be good in life. I feel detached and adrift, to not talk to people, but reading about things that matter to you were like balm, I’m thankful that there is someone who still cares about the real things in life, that brought my faith back in good people. So thank you for that πŸ™‚
    And a belated happy birthday ! I’m sure it was lovely. πŸ™‚

  3. Having just passed 4 decades I love seeing this post. My doctor told me that the 40s are the age of wisdom. I would say the 30s are the years of abundance. You are still young, still attractive, you can still change your life direction. Your family is young and there is so much joy. Embrace the 30s and appreciate every morning you wake up not aching. Those diminish in your 40s!

  4. Happy Birthday! I still have a little while to go before I’m 30 but it’s very reassuring to hear your outlook on life, particularly how much less anxious you are than when you were in your 20s πŸ™‚

  5. Sounds like you like coffee! Haha! I do too! Thanks for sharing. It is interesting to see how our perspective on life changes as we grow older.

  6. I’m in my 50s, but I think you’ve nailed exactly what being 30 is all about – I wish I had been able to see this and put it as eloquently twenty years ago. Well done! And Happy Birthday!

  7. Another great post, Meg. The thirties have been my favorite season so far and it sounds like you’re in a great place in your life and the fact that you appreciate it all makes it so much better. I hope you get a huge caffeinated cake for your birthday! Have a great one!

  8. Happy birthday and thank you for your wonderful words. I am 23 and was encourage by your words and perspective on life. I am just learning to let people in my life. Wishing you a wonderful day.

  9. Happy birthday and thanks for sharing your insights! Helped remind me of what’s important. πŸ™‚

  10. Very nice reflection and a happy belated birthday! You have very nice goals and thoughts about the future. I am always wondering what kind of mother I’ll be to Caleb as he gets older. I hope to be compassionate and fun too. πŸ™‚

    And I hear you about the being too exhausted to blog and write. I’m too exhausted to do much of anything – ha! I’m having fun trying to write posts as best I can though because I’ll love looking back on early motherhood in a few years. Hopefully it gets a bit easier. πŸ˜‰

  11. Happy Birthday, Meg!

    It’s so interesting to see how our personalities change as we grow older. I think having a child makes you bolder and more confident in some ways too. We had D when we were pretty young and I laugh now at how sure I was that everything would work out.

  12. First off, happy birthday to you. Great reflection on your thirties. I first became a mum at 30 but I wasn’t as wise as you then. Now that I’m 40, I’m more secure and confident in who I am and how I roll.

  13. Perfect post. So far, I’ve loved my 30s far more than I ever thought I would, and I totally dreaded turning 30. You have such a great attitude about life and everything that goes with it. I think this is going to be an awesome decade for you. Happy birthday! xo

  14. I hear you. I’m 37 and just finished my first book. My twins are 10 now and my youngest 7. Blogging with a baby can’t be easy. I get time during the day with them in school which is why I can do it. Before then, going to the bathroom alone was challenging enough. Good luck!!! Thunder cats a go!

  15. Happy belated birthday!

    I love this post, and I hope year 30 is filled with so much happiness for you and your tribe. (I really liked that.) I turned 30 in February, and I can’t help but this year feels so off. A lot of this year has been about finding some kind of balance, I guess. God. Why is it so hard??? Remember when we thought being an adult would be so easy? I realize this comment isn’t very birthday-like but just know I love your posts and getting to know you through your writing, photos, and tweets. It’s been a pleasure.

  16. Happy Belated Birthday! I loved reading your eloquent reflection. I just turned 30 a little over a week ago and my husband and I were talking about just how different our lives are now than they were a year ago. (Our son is 9 months old.) πŸ™‚ Then I think about how the reality of 30 compares with how I envisioned it 5 years ago, 10 years ago, etc. It’s not necessarily what I imagined, but I wouldn’t trade my reality for anything else I could have dreamed. My best friend (also 30) declared that 30 is the entryway to a decade of fabulousness, so may it be for you as well!

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