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The day that I turned thirty, I think I expected to feel different. But, the day came and went and I still felt like a kid playing house.
I didn’t really feel thirty. I didn’t really think I was acting thirty.
But now, nine months later, I’m starting to feel it. Now, before those-of-you-who-are-older-than-me start groaning, I promise that this is not going to be one of those whiny “oh I’m SO OLD NOW…” posts.
Rather, this is me fleshing out the emotions of putting a very difficult decade behind me and really coming into my own as an adult. I feel like my adult identity is trailing a few years – if not a full decade – behind schedule. So again, this isn’t an “I feel so old” post as much as “I actually feel like an adult now” post. So, without further adieu…
You know you’re thirty when…
The first moment that I knew I was thirty was in July. We were at the beach, and I saw a family walking along the sand. A mom, a dad, and two teenage boys. I felt a twinge of jealousy. Or maybe, rather, wistfulness? I love this stage I’m in and the ages my kids are now. But I really look forward to that. I know the teen years are going to be angsty. (And I can’t even imagine what ADHD, SPD, and ODD are going to be like when you add raging testosterone to the mix, but I imagine that’s what middle-aged-mama nightmares are made of!) BUT – just that connection. That confidence. That family love and bond that only grows bigger and stronger year after year. That ability to hold a full conversation that doesn’t consist of pretending your kid is actually Spiderman – who comes from another planet and doesn’t know how to put on shoes. The ability to not be thinking about the next butt you are going to have to wipe or pretend you don’t smell poop coming from the nursery while you are writing a blog post.
You know you’re thirty when you get a new washer and dryer for your birthday…when your husband buys you your first home for your 10th anniversary (a year early)…and when you are seriously wanting a leaf blower or a gas grill for Christmas.
You know you’re thirty when your body starts doing weird TMI things that you only share with a girlfriend over coffee. She tells you it’s just age. You feel better.
Speaking of your body…when you’re thirty, it’s ten times harder to shed weight than when you were 25. This fact is both distressing and yet you are somehow a lot more okay with it then you think you should be.
You know you’re thirty when, after seven years of waking up at o-dark-insanity with your kids, your body has FINALLY adjusted. And by adjusted, I mean that – regardless of when your kids wake up – you wake up between 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. Often, you get up and try to get work done while the house is quiet. (This is something that you read other bloggers on the internet talking about that seemed like impossible advice when you were 25. Now you are like, “Ooooohhhhhh – I get it now.”)
When you’re thirty, you realize VERY important things about life. Like the reason your mom always bought salted butter. Because when your grocery store changes their generic salted butter recipe, you start buying unsalted butter. But then, it smells and tastes weird. (You eat it anyway, BECAUSE BUTTER). Then, you realize that the reason it smells and tastes weird is that unsalted butter really shouldn’t be left out, because it goes rancid. But you have to keep butter out, because spreading unsoftened butter on toast is simply…the worst. So, regardless of the cost of Land-O-Lakes, it’s time to go back to salted butter.
When you’re thirty, at least one of your kids is the age you were when you can look back and remember what you childhood was like. Suddenly, a heck of a lot of what your mom did and said when you were a kid makes a lot more sense. Like…why she said she couldn’t wear contacts. Why she would go on housecleaning organizational binges. Why you ate spaghetti for dinner so much. Why you were always late for school. Why she always did grocery shopping at 8am – right after dropping you off at school. Why your Saturday mornings consisted of color-coded job lists that you and your brother’s had to get done. Why your job was always to unload the dishwasher, washing baseboards, and vacuuming the steps. (My mom was an expert at delegating!)
Also, this happens all the time now:
You know you’re thirty when you quit going to MOPS, MOMS group, and weekly Bible studies, and instead you join the PTA. You help with homework and pack school lunches and so enjoy the routine and structure that a regular school schedule offers your life – something you couldn’t even dream of when all you had at home was a preschooler and random weekly events to go to.
You know you’re thirty when you see young moms with tiny, crying babies and are just so glad that phase of your life is over.
You know you’re thirty when you and all your friends and neighbors have minivans.
You know you’re thirty when you finally start to feel like an adult. When all the hard stuff of your twenties doesn’t seem like as big of a deal as it was five or ten years ago.
You know you’re thirty when you hope your life stays pretty much the same for the considerable future – minus the poopy butts, that is:
Packing school lunches, sitting in car pickup lines, folding copious amounts of laundry, throwing juice boxes and fruit snacks at the neighbor kids so they keep playing with your kids while you rake leaves, hollering at little boys chasing each other around the house to quiet down and stop being so crazy, tripping over Legos, stealing (exhausted) moments with your spouse…
…looking for cold cups of coffee scattered around the house, taking Sunday afternoon naps, enjoying yard work, telling wrestling boys to be gentle, feeding STARVING children after school and never having enough food in the house even though you JUST went grocery shopping, signing field trip permission slips, fighting homework battles, kissing boo-boos, matching baskets full of socks…
Being exhausted and weary and worn from the everyday mundane but still feeling so blessed at the privilege that is yours to have this great a life.
This is thirty.