The Big 3-0: Clinging To The Past Is Holding You Back From Growing Up
I turn 30 in exactly one week. The big, freakin' 3-0.
I am rather confident I've made peace with this big transition from being a sort-of-adult into a full-blown one.
That is, until I got on the treadmill this morning and it asked me to enter my age; I couldn’t bring myself to type 30.
“Well, I’m technically 29,” I rationalized with myself.
But, when I realized I would turn 30 in less time than it took to complete a juice cleanse, I knew I had some reflecting to do.
I was still holding onto my 20s with an iron grip.
What makes us hold on to certain seasons of our lives? Why is it so hard to let go and simply allow destiny to carry us into the next phase?
Be it age, a relationship or a career, we seem to have trouble accepting that while certain seasons of our lives can be amazing and fulfilling, they are temporary. We ferociously cling on as if nothing better than this could possibly exist.
Why? In my experience, the simplest answer to that question is fear. The fear of change, the fear of the perceptions of others, the fear of the unknown and the fear this is as good as it gets.
I am fearful of ending the crazy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants season of my 20s. I am afraid of being a 30-year-old who doesn’t have it all together. I am afraid I will never again experience those unplanned, completely random adventures that defined this decade.
I am afraid that before I know it, I will be 40. I am afraid I can’t be as passionate and as unapologetically indecisive anymore. I am afraid I can’t dream as big anymore.
And, as trivial and vain as it sounds, I am afraid of how age will affect my appearance.
Our inability to let go is not limited to just age. I have met many people who refuse to leave a relationship that has long since run its course solely based on the fear of never finding another.
Despite it being painfully clear to everyone around them the union should have ended, like, yesterday, they desperately cling on through the tears and the dysfunction.
When I was 22, I grappled with the same unwillingness to move on from a serious relationship that had long expired. Sure, it was beautiful, eye-opening and challenged every facet of my heart, mind and soul.
But, even when it was clear to me the relationship had fulfilled its intended purpose in my life, I held on because I had no idea who I was outside of it. I was scared my single life would be a dark, lonely tunnel with no light at the end.
And, mostly, I was afraid if I released love, I would never find it again. But, once I had the courage to let go, I realized the fear of being alone was far worse than the reality of it. To prove this point even further, I am still single (gasp), and it has been the most fulfilling time of my life.
The emotional awareness, self-love and independence I’ve gained is a treasure I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. I would have never known that if I hadn’t let go.
Same goes for the people who put up with a comfortable, yet completely unstimulating career for years, knowing very well they would flourish at something they were truly passionate about.
But they won’t give up the security, comfort and predictability the current season offers. They’ve allowed the season to define them, instead of the other way around.
If nothing else, understand this: Every season we go through has an intended purpose significant to the grand scheme of our lives. It teaches us, challenges us, prunes us and, most importantly, prepares us for the next.
Be intentional and open to every lesson, good or bad, and remember to savor every moment. Because, when the last snow of winter has fallen and the blooms of spring start to peek through, it’s time to move on.
There is nothing worse than someone who refuses to move on from a situation that is way past its prime (40-year-olds at the club every weekend, I’m talking to you). You may have loved that time in your life, but guess what? You’re going to love the next one, too.
Maybe I can’t be as reckless and carefree as I was in my 20s, but my 30s will open doors to even sweeter adventures, possibilities and people.
My 30s are when I will embark on more travel (and not the three-girls-in-one-sleeping-bag kind), when my friendships will become more meaningful, when I will (God willing) meet the love of my life and when I will bring a tiny but extraordinary part of myself into this world.
Sure, it is vastly different from my experiences in my 20s, but it will be just as exciting and beautiful.
So, when I step on the treadmill tomorrow, I will proudly and unapologetically type in that 3-0.
It is a privilege to transition into a new season of your life because it means you’re alive. It means you are learning, growing and moving closer to destiny.
It means life has so much more to show you and the only thing standing in the way is your inability to move on.
I have made the liberating decision to release my 20s with joy and grace and welcome the wisdom and maturity the next season brings.
And, if every now and then, I feel like having a totally irresponsible, batsh*t crazy adventure like in the good ol’ days, being in my 30s is not going to stop me!