I recently realized I am closer to 31 than I am to 30. For some reason, that difference feels dramatic. Maybe because now I’m “in my thirties”, as opposed to saying “Oh I just turned 30, so you know, barely a real grown up. Let’s stay up until 2 a.m.!” Funny enough, I still feel like I’m 22. Or 19. Or 16. I used to wonder how moms turned into Moms – the women with baggy pants and minivans and short hair dragging a gaggle of kids behind them. Because obviously that was NEVER going to happen to me. I am young and fun and will always be young and fun no matter how many kids I have! Exclamation point! Except that today none of my jeans fit and my kid threw yogurt on me this morning and I didn’t have time for make-up so here I am, in my minivan and yoga pants, looking like all the other Moms in the preschool drop off line. But somehow I still don’t FEEL like a Mom inside. My inner self – the one who looks out through my eye holes at the world – has a hard time believing the person in the mirror with the crow’s feet and stretchmarks is really ME.
But you know what? THAT’S OK. During every single one of my 31 years so far I’ve learned something important. Basic human skills (eating without getting food all over myself was a good one), important interpersonal skills (listen when people tell you who they are), and practical skills (like how to sew a skirt or knit a hat). There are some things I have to re-learn once a day – why oh WHY do I never take my eye makeup off before bed?! – and some I have to re-learn on a minute-by-minute basis – eating just one more cookie is not a good idea now and won’t be a good idea 8 cookies from now.
All those lessons meld together to make me who I am, and the person I am today is a much better person than I was a decade ago, and not just because I’ve crossed more things off my bucket list. Growing older surrounded by my friends and family is a joy. Every year I get to spend with my kids is the best year of my life (although it is so true that sometimes the days can be extremely long). All 30 and a half of my years so far have made me who I am today, and I wouldn’t give up a minute of it. How do celebrate your age? Do you still feel 16 inside even when your face tells you you’re not?
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