I’ve officially made it today. I think I might be a grown up.
While many women seem to balk at the idea of being 30, choosing to stay 29 for a number of years until they decide instead to stay 39 for a number of years, I have approached this number with enthusiasm.
For as long as I can possibly remember I have wanted to be a grown up. I’ve wanted to eat ice cream whenever I felt like it, I’ve wanted to be in charge of what we had for dinner, I’ve wanted to be able to light fires & use the iron all by myself. I’ve wanted to be married and have kids most of all, all these grown up things.
And 30 feels like a grown up number.
And 30 also seems like a pretty big deal! In my estimation of things, I have now accomplished approximately 1/3 of my mortal life. (I don’t aspire to be the one who lives the longest, FYI.) And it is an extremely significant third, so much has happened. Let’s take a look in 5 year increments.
These were huge for me. I basically went from a lump of consciousness to a walking, talking person. I grew a body and learned how to use most of its functions. I lived in 4 different houses in 2 states and ended up in the one I would spend the next 15 years of my life. I went from being the absolute center of my parents’ universe to sharing the limelight with 2 brothers. I even started going to school. So much!!
More learning, a new sister, making friends. Strange that the only friendships I’ve seriously maintained from this period of my life are with people who were already adults at this time (i.e. my mom’s friends and people from church). I really don’t keep in touch with most of the people who were my own age. I wonder if this goes back to what I was saying about always wanting to be a grown-up. By the end of this period, I was already doing quite a bit of cooking & sewing and I knew that I wanted to be a stay at home Mom. I’m grateful that my Mom introduced me to these experiences early so that I had a longer opportunity to develop the talents that I use the most in the current portion of my life.
And the hormones began. I think of this piece as the baby-sitting & developing greater interest in boys chunk of my life. I started baby-sitting early, my own siblings and then kids from church. I loved it. And I was a good baby-sitter, too. Not only did I entertain the kids with something other than TV, I also cleaned their houses, put their kids to bed, folded their stinkin’ laundry… And I made about $1 an hour. And I LOVED it!! I won’t go into my feelings about the current generation of baby-sitters in this post, but I’m sure this alludes to it enough that you understand. I’m grateful for my church leaders at this portion who helped establish a testimony in me that would get me through the next part, which I’m already dreading thinking about. Towards the end of this section I had developed some health problems that would stick with me for the next bit, as well as an unhealthy infatuation with members of the opposite sex.
Can we skip this part? I mean, not only thinking about it, but also in my own kids?? These were some rough years. I did manage to graduate from high school (just barely. I know that lots of people say that, but, oh boy! That was certainly a close call!!) I’m going to just skip over most of the angst, depression, and junk, and mention that I did develop one of my most meaningful & lasting friendships in here (albeit I did manage to estrange myself from my siblings. One of my greatest regrets. Thank heavens that didn’t last long.). I moved away from home to go to culinary school, dropped out of college, got engaged, called it off, moved back home for a little while, moved away again, moved back again. I also did a lot more sewing during this time. Yeah, thats enough.
The Utah years. I moved to Utah to help care for my grandparents. It really worked out exactly the opposite though. There were plenty of lingering hormones, as well as some lingering health issues, but we made it through. I went to college, graduated with an Associate’s degree, went to work as a Medical Assistant. I spent the greater portion of these years wanting DESPERATELY to be married. Ridiculously so. I learned to be a much better employee than I had been in my other jobs. I went to the temple often and made some sacred covenants that greatly improved the quality of my life. I worked in the temple on my day off. Most importantly, I met my husband and at the very end of this chunk of time, we were married.
Wow. I feel like I’ve grown as much during the last 5 years as I did in the first. You read the first, right? That was some heavy growth! These years have been my most significant so far. For so long I wanted to be married, to start my own family, and it happened, and it was so much more wonderful than I could have possibly imagined. Being married is so much better than the alternative. Steve is the best thing that ever happened to me. The best thing that could possibly ever happen to be. Being a part of him and him a part of me… I have so much more of a respect for the phrase “greater than the sum of its parts.” I am a better person because of him, and he is a better person because of me, and while we don’t get everything right, we are doing pretty darn well.
And kids! My whole life people have called me smart, and I felt smart. There is nothing like having a kid to make you realize how much you don’t know! But they teach you so much. I think that is why the gospel of Jesus Christ is centered around the family. I could have kept learning & developing myself into a better person alone. I could have done so many great & incredible things without getting married and having children, but I could never have done it as quickly and as thoroughly as I am doing it right now. More than anything, my kids have taught me how to love. Love is amazing. You worry that you might not have enough to divide between your kids as they come along, but your capacity to love increases so much that I don’t just love the new child as much as I loved the first, I also love the first one more than I did before! It’s this crazy love growth spurt cycle that stops just short of spinning out of control.
My family really only grew for the first 7 years of my life, as I added 3 new siblings and became a family of 6. But during these 5 years I’ve added exponentially! My husband, my 3 kids, my brother’s wife & kids, my husband’s family (new parents! new siblings! new nieces & nephews!)… I’m not going to take the time to count them all out right now, but I know it is much bigger than 6!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying life is a piece of cake and that I don’t have significant struggles with my sanity on a day to day basis. I’m not saying that I feel like I’ve learned it all, or that I’ve become the person I want to be. No way, Jose. That is what I will spend the next 2/3 of my life doing. I’m so excited for these 2/3!!
So, in short, Happy Birthday to me!! 30 feels so exciting. As I start my journey into the next decade of life I’m grateful to be doing so on such a great path, in a place that I love, with the people I love.