Thirty And A Half is the New Thirty And A Half

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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118 Responses to “Thirty And A Half is the New Thirty And A Half”

  1. Lisa says:

    I’m 32 and a new mom. Life is hectic right now- my baby is 5 months old, I’m back at work fulltime, and I have a long train commute. Recently, I’ve been reading books like Twilight on the train– it’s my only “me” time and reading this kind of book brings out my inner 16 year old.

  2. Katie Cox says:

    I will be turning 30 in July. I have 2 little boys and a house and a minivan and yet I still don’t feel like what I thought 30 would feel like. When I was growing up I thought 30 seemed old and uncool and lame, yet here I am about to go down that road and feel nothing like that. I have come to the realization that I will never feel ‘grown-up’ and I am fine with that.

  3. Liz says:

    I still feel like 17 or 18 sometimes, though I’m 25 … when I turned 25 last January I realized I had officially entered my mid-20’s, and am now closer to late-20s than early 20s!

  4. cakeburnette says:

    Oh, hah! I have always felt about 45 years old, even when I was 16. I guess you can say I have an “old soul” but I think I’ve just been a grumpy old lady my whole life. Anyway, my next birthday I will be 44, so at least my inner age and actual age are getting close together. ;)

  5. Leah says:

    Interesting timing as my birthday is this week. Despite that the fact that I am now solidly into my 30s, I still feel like I am not really a grown up. For some reason the husband, two kids, the ten years at the same office job have not done it. Maybe when I get real grey hairs?

  6. Erin says:

    All the time! I feel 24. Maybe 22. I never understand why my face doesn’t agree with that.

  7. Maureen says:

    The next birthday I celebrate will be the (50). I do not feel that age but I guess I will be. I am on the younger end of a lot of my friends. I know that I am getting older because I have a lot going on in my life that when I was younger I just thought nothing of. I feel like I am still in my mid 20’s but sometimes my body wants to remind me I am not.

  8. Erin says:

    You’re making 30 and a half look great by the way! ;)

  9. Robin M. says:

    I would not want to be 16 again. With age comes wisdom and contentment.

  10. Audrey says:

    Oh my yes. I still wear my Threadless shirts and style my hair in ponytail and feel totally ridiculous because I’m 33 but absolutely comfortable because I still feel 25. :D

  11. i’m officially 33 and a half. and in no way do i feel it. i’d like to think that part of it is that i don’t look almost 34 (to me) and the other part of it is that i am still so completely immature when it comes to some things. silly things. and i think that keeps me young. or at least feeling young.

  12. Linny says:

    I remind myself of one of my favorite movie scenes: In Fried Green Tomatoes, when Evelyn rear ends the car that cut her off in the parking lot. They’re younger and faster, but she’s “older and has more insurance.” ;)

  13. Brigid Keely says:

    I’m 33. Well, 33 1/2. I was 30 when my kid was born, which is IRONIC because when I was younger I wanted to be entirely done having kids by the time I was 30, not just starting. LOL YOUNGER SELF. LOL FOREVER. For the most part I feel the way I did when I was twenty, except I’m more at home in my body and mind, and more comfortable, than I was then. Because I’m really fat and have oily skin, though, I don’t look 33. I have a round face and no wrinkles and frequent zits, and last time I worked retail people routinely thought I was too young to sell booze.

    How do I celebrate my age? With cake. I love throwing birthday parties for myself, my husband, my kid, friends of ours. I make cake and hors d’oevers and people come over to play board games and we all get a chance to reconnect and mark the passing of another year.

  14. Honest answer? I don’t celebrate my age. I would love to do more things to celebrate me and things about me, but I just don’t make time. Maybe a $100 Visa gift card would help??

  15. Julie says:

    In denial! I turn 35 next week. I am paranoid that my hair is getting thinner, that my skin is looking so much older and when I went to the gyno yesterday, I hadn’t been in a few years, I was afraid she was going to tell me my bladder was falling out or something!

    I ran on the treadmill today. Hoping to snap myself out of this old age paranoia thing I am in!

    So, no I am not currently celebrating my age…

  16. vanessa says:

    I think you look amazing!! I’m still fairly young (23) but every year I get further from that “magical” 21st birthday it is a little bittersweet lol!

  17. Katherine T says:

    This sounds really cheesy to say, but I’m about to turn 33 (yikes!) and I would not go back to any other age! I am happier and more comfortable with who I am (and who I am not) then I ever have been in my entire life. I LOVE my yoga pants (teaching fitness classes each morning gives me the right to wear them all day, right?!?), I LOVE my miniva, I LOVE my kids and my husband and I LOVE my life! I wish I had known at 16, 18, 21, 25 that I didnt’ have to worry about all the silly stuff I worried about then. And I am so grateful to me at the exact place that I am right now!
    I just hope that I can continue to say this with each and every passing birthday!

  18. Christa says:

    I’m 32 in real life, but most of the time I feel 50. But hopefully that new mattress I’ve been promised will help crank back the aches and pains of advanced age!

  19. Amy says:

    I looked 5-10 years younger than my actual age, then I had a kid and I am lucky to break even. I don’t celebrate my age as much as endure it.

  20. Jeania says:

    I’m 26 and just got my driver’s license this summer. I feel more assimilated into adulthood now than I ever have. Also, having a toddler helps : ) It’s not so bad this growing up thing. I like learning more about myself and the world around me with each passing year. It’s nice.

  21. Amanda says:

    I feel 25. Four years under what I am. I just don’t feel as old as I am!

  22. Robyn says:

    I’m 32 and I mostly feel like a teenager still, or maybe a college kid at the oldest. I feel especially 16ish when I read books like The Hunger Games and wear my pink converse. But then i’ll feel like an old lady a few minutes later when i pick up my knitting. I am baffled that i am old enough to have KIDS, yes plural, KIDS! For some reason having that second baby made me feel way older than turning 30, lol.

  23. Jennifer W says:

    I’m 29, but I’ve always been “old” according to my husband. I enjoy going to be at 9, reading and crosswords, etc..That said, I still like to hang out with my girlfriends for a little Twilight action, wearing skinny purple jeans, and hitting the casino for some gambling and drinking. So, I think I’ve got the best of both worlds.

  24. Mami2jcn says:

    I just turned 37 and I feel more like 27.

  25. Mami2jcn says:


  26. Elena says:

    I am 32, but people say i look more like 22. I am pretty happy with my age.

  27. I usually celebrate with food. I am happy with how my face is right now.

  28. Suz says:

    I’ll be 31 in less than a month. I’m so feeling you with every word of this post. I tend to celebrate with gifts, dining out, dessert with family. I’m thinking this birthday will be a chill one but looking forward to a little precelebrating with my family Thanksgiving. And I don’t feel like the 31 year old MOM either… until I look in the mirror to see the dark circles, stretch marks & the two kids in the back of the van! Then I smile because what a year this has been!

  29. stephanie says:

    im 28 and i feel old hahaha

  30. merin says:

    I didn’t read all the comments but I might be the oldest person commenting on this blog (except your mom-is she up there? Hi Suzanne’s mom!!).

    Anyway-contest aside, I just wanted to say that this is a really great picture of you. Not only do you look much less than 30, but you appear genuinely happy, relaxed and like you are having so much fun. I love to see you this way!

  31. merin says:

    PS. Yes I am the oldest person commenting on this blog.

  32. Alaine says:

    I am 26 and feel like I am getting older but am celebrating it :)
    family74014 at gmail dot com

  33. Megan says:

    Having already crossed the 31 year mark, I will say this: 30 felt like no big deal. 31 felt huge. I don’t really know why either. But I did learn this. I care what I do on my birthday. After at least a decade of saying it didn’t matter. I now state, “It matters how I spend my birthday.” Just because my wishes are simple and don’t include fancy dinners, cocktail dresses, champagne, or even babysitters, I still have a right to do what I want on my own birthday. Last year I spent my birthday babysitting (so someone else could go out for their birthday) and getting peed on 5 different times by 2 different kids who were already potty trained. (You will note that I am only the mother of one child.) I won’t ever do that again. Day-to-day, age doesn’t matter to me. But now entering my fourth decade of life, I reserve the right to take note of another year’s passing, and to celebrate how I see fit!

  34. barbra says:

    Overall, my thirties have definitely been better than my twenties. And I’m only a year and a half into my thirties. And it’s not just having a baby (although that’s a big reason) but I have more confidence in myself and my actions.

  35. domestic diva says:

    I love where I am in life. I feel settled and comfortable and happy and at peace.

  36. I totally still feel like I am 18– like the world is my oyster. If that oyster is like you said, covered in yogurt at the preschool drop off line. :)

  37. Ashley H says:

    I still feel like I’m in my teens…I can’t party as hard now that I’m 28 though. I can’t believe I’m getting closer to 30!

  38. Tiffany Winner says:

    yeah, i still feel more like a teenager than an adult although i dont look it anymore!

  39. cw says:

    I celebrate with family and doing adventures together (instead of getting gifts). I love to see the world through my daughter’s eyes….keeps me feeling young.

  40. steph says:

    i celebrate my age by sharing it, and treating myself!

  41. Lisa Brown says:

    I don’t celebrate my age. I take each day/year as they come and enjoy it as best I can.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  42. Kim D. says:

    I’m happy being 34, so would want to be 16 again.

  43. Danielle says:

    I am 27, almost 28 and still look like a teenager. I celebrate my age by enjoying the shock when I tell someone my age ;)

  44. Jessie C. says:

    I celebrate my age by living the moment.

  45. I don’t mind shouting out my age–I feel I earned every year and am proud of it!!! Thanks for a chance to win and have a great day!

  46. Kelly D says:

    I celebrate my age by staying active and spending a lot of time with friends & family.

  47. sandra says:

    i don’t celebrate my age

  48. Karen Medlin says:

    I am 54 and celebrating like I am 16, I endure each day of it.

  49. sy says:

    I feel more confident than 16 but as energetic and hopeful of my future. I haven’t really celebrated my age, I think I did ok for my age and hope to grow more. Thanks for sharing and the giveaway.
    songyueyu at gmail

  50. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I definitely feel like I’m 21 again. I think its important to laugh and not take things too seriously. This is how I celebrate.

  51. Erika says:

    I am thankful to still be in my 20s!

    chambanachik at gmail dot com

  52. Rebecca Graham says:

    I celebrate my age by having a positive attitude and enjoying life.

  53. Chacoy says:

    I feel like I look a lot better today in my mid-thirties then I did when I was in my teens and twenties. I sometimes feel as though I am younger than I am but then I realize I am inching my way to 40!
    Thank you for the opportunity(:

  54. Karen says:

    Well, I haven’t seen 32 in uh, let’s see, about 24 years, but hey, my heart still shouts, “I ain’t OLD, I’m BETTER!!!” :-)

  55. maria cantu says:

    I am 51 and wouldn’t change anything I’ve accomplished in my life. I don’t feel 16. I’ve always been too mature for my age.

  56. Tina M says:

    I celebrate my age by spending time with my family

  57. Abigail says:

    I turned 27 this year and as my daughter (who just turned 3) has her birthday the day before mine, I don’t celebrate the passing years like I used to. I don’t know if her birthday is a convenient excuse to ignore aging or if birthdays just become less important as you get older. My whole life my birthday had always been the most special day (in my head at least). Now? I just don’t know what happened. I’m not ashamed of being 27, even if I assumed at the age of 16 that I’d be living the perfect grown-up life at 25, and now I think 25 year old girls are still children. When will I feel like a grown-up? Beats me! I’m divorced with a 3 year old and I run my own business. You would think that would do it.

  58. Judy B. says:

    I’m only slightly older than Olay but still feel 16 inside from time to time. For the most part though, I think life experiences have changed me from that 16 year-old. I try to celebrate my age by acknowledging my unique abilities and advantages in the here and now.

  59. Amy Tong says:

    I seldom think of my age at all, I think it’s a great way to feel young inside. It’s just a number to me. As long as I’m feeling 20s, I’m feeling great and energetic….but with the wisdom of 30s! Yay.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  60. Kelsey Kim says:

    I try to not act my age!

  61. Samantha Daleo says:

    I celebrate my age (38) by trying to stay young at heart and in my mind..and my jeans…if I could grow in grace and wisdom, yet stay the clothes size of my teen daughter and keep making people laugh…then no matter how old I am, I’ll be happy:)

  62. Georgia says:

    I don’t think about it a whole lot yet anyways. Who knows, maybe someday it will be something to worry about but I hope not.

    gmissycat at yahoo dot com

  63. Angie says:

    I read about how women start to really own their age when they pass 30 and I absolutely agree. You start to give up the insecurities and get to bond with your mom and sisters in a way you didn’t before. I miss the energy I had when I was younger but I think 32 is great too!

  64. Kristen says:

    I’m about to turn 32 in January and feel like I’m 18 again. I’ve recently lost 30 pounds. It’s amazing what that will do for your confidence. :) I’m celebrating my age by getting my self healthy and, in turn, happy.

  65. raincheckmom says:

    I celebrate my life as an empty-nester by keeping to no ones schedule but my own…and by visiting my wonderful grandchildren…and loving the fact that my grown children all turned out to be fine upstanding citizens!

  66. Shannon says:

    I celebrate my age by living one day at a time!

  67. kalispellady says:

    raincheckmom – – – – She said it like it should be. Except life doesn’t treat you like it should.

  68. Becky Horn says:

    I am 36 and I would love to go on a Caribbean Cruise!!

  69. Wild Orchid says:


    wildorchid985 @ gmail dot com

  70. Wild Orchid says:

    I embrace my age! I feel like I have accomplished so much in my life already, but there are so many other things I would like to do. Traveling is something I would love to do more of when my son gets older.

    wildorchid985 @ gmail dot com

  71. MelissaO says:

    I still LOOK young, though I’ve got some laugh lines. I really wouldn’t want to be 16 again…I was a very dramatic teenager. I can laugh more now and don’t take things so seriously because I’ve been through more and know that I can get through it all!

    wolverina401 at gmail dot com

  72. I’m 49, and I celebrate my age by not hiding it!

  73. jennifer horn says:

    I feel better at 38 than I did at 20.

  74. Claire says:

    I’m 34 and am just about to move to another city and start a new job, and hopefully eventually go back to school and finish my PhD. So being a forever student and constantly moving around, it’s impossible to feel grown up.

  75. Thomas Murphy says:

    I’m 30 but sometimes I can feel like I’m in college again. its not that far back.

  76. Lee says:

    I celebrate my age by exercising and eating healthy!

  77. Judith says:

    I live my life with music it is the thing that keeps my blood flowing

  78. Mary M. says:

    I can say some days I feel my age and there are days I don’t even when my mind feels the same. Staying positive helps me a lot.

  79. Heather O. says:

    I’m 33 this year and I feel every minute of those 33 years, most days. Some days it’s hard to believe I’m not still 22… and then my knees and back start aching and I remember that those days are long gone. A positive attitude helps with feeling younger, so I strive for that every day!

  80. Carmen says:

    I still feel like I’m in my early 30’s when the reality is a decade beyond that :)

  81. Sarah L says:

    I let everyone know I’m 64 and I swim 3 times a week.
    Thanks for the contest.

  82. Heather says:

    I’m 34, close to 35 and since having kids I guess I just don’t stress so much about how I appear to others. I’m more focused on my kids and having experiences, memories and learning new things with them. Kids can either make you feel really young OR really old, it’s all in your perspective.

  83. Kelley says:

    I’m 46 and don’t feel it:)

  84. Betty C says:

    Once at work I was described by someone who didn’t know my name as the lady with the long gray ponytail. I guess I’ve never grown up either. Actually at 72 it’s time to acknowledge that I’m not a teen any more. My body reminds me of that every day but my attitude is not that of an old lady (yet).

  85. Lisa Garner says:

    I celebrate being 35 by letting go of the past and focusing and the things that my age has brought me like 4 amazing children!
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  86. Lisa Garner says:

    I Tweeted:
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  87. ANGEL JACKLYN says:

    Well, I def don’t feel 16 at 26. Ever since I was… hmmm… 20, per say, I’ve felt like I was 90! No joke! I suppose it has a lot to do with what I’ve been through for “my age.” My advice to anyone who cares to listen is to TAKE IT SLOW, you DON’T need to know/feel/do/try everything (especially right away) because it takes a lot of the excitement out of your life for your age. I do, however, am looking forward to celebrating my age as I am expecting a little addition to the family this year & THAT will be my celebration, my life, my love.

    Great giveaway! Crossing my fingers here!!! : )~

  88. ANGEL JACKLYN says:

    2nd optional #SweepstakesEntry here:::

  89. I celebrate my age by not counting the years in numbers, but by counting them in accomplishments!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

  90. angie says:

    I 100% do not feel my age mentally. Its sort of a shock sometimes to look in the mirror at my face and body and realize how old I truly am (39 to be exact). I don’t like it but I do appreciate it. My hubby says wrinkles tell my story. I like that.

  91. olivia rubin says:

    thank goodness i dont feel 16… i was so numb and withdrawn and put on a smiling face for all to see, when i didnt even know my life was crumbling away and being taken over by others…I would try to do things a lot differently today