Today, I turn 30…

by Melissa on August 30, 2012

On days like today, you usually read recaps on someone’s past year.

But I don’t want to do that.

Today, I want to tell you what I want out of my life. Why?

Today, I turn 30.

Today, I’m saying goodbye to my twenties, and what I love most about this goodbye is that I have no regrets. It’s a goodbye that doesn’t feel unfinished or unsettled, because my twenties were genuinely wonderful. I lived the hell out of this past decade, and I’m very proud of what I learned. I found the strength to let go of the parts of my life that were toxic, including a part of myself.

I’ve seen a lot of “Top 10” lists or posts about what you should do or should have done by the time you’re 30, and I have to say that I could probably cross off 90% of what they mention. However…

I can’t say that I think anyone should or shouldn’t live by something specific. The way I’ve lived my life is so unique to me, to who I am, and the same goes for everyone else. I haven’t lived my life based on what someone else thinks I should or shouldn’t do or experience or learn. To those lists, I didn’t travel as much as I “should have”. I didn’t date as many types as I “should have”. I didn’t buy as many things as I “should have”.

“Should have” sounds like “I regret”, don’t you agree? I have no regrets – I lived my life. I loved my 20’s. I experienced two great years of college in my 20’s. I was the first in my family to receive a degree. I worked with tigers and snow leopards and pythons, married the love of my life, gave birth to two amazing little girls, bought a home, and watched my family grow by well over a dozen amazing people…

But most of all…I found ME.

I don’t care if I’ve never “seen the world”. (And really…have you really seen the world if you’ve “seen the world” by the time you’re 30? What could you have possibly absorbed in that little amount of time?) I don’t care if I’ve never owned a wicked cool car I couldn’t afford just for the sake of saying I owned it or dated against “my type”. (Honestly, I married against “my type”…and I’m so glad I did. My type was not a good one back then and he made me realize that.) What I do care about is that I am overwhelmingly proud of how far I’ve come since I turned 20.

I’ve overcome one of the biggest struggles I’ve battled since I was little – lacking faith in myself. I found the positive in difficult situations, and I’ve become a firm believer in the cliché “everything happens for a reason”. I battled my negative self-image and became a runner. I’ve learned that the only person who can bring me down is myself.

(Wouldn’t you know…out of this entire post, this is where I cry.) I’VE. BECOME. A. RUNNER. I’m entering my 30’s with a half marathon under my belt…my first one…and I have plans for many more. I have overcome so many incredibly tough emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical struggles, and I’m so…

I have no words. (I know. The length of this post says otherwise, right? ;))

So what’s next?

I read a post on Monday written by a woman I truly admire – Lindsay. I love her outlook on life, her faith, and the warmth that she brings to those around her, and she didn’t disappoint with her post on how she’s just “going to be”. (And Jess wrote something similar on just being, and I feel the same way about her! What I love about the blogs I read consistently is that they’re written by incredible people…and they all have the same amazing outlook on life.) It was a simple, yet powerful post, and it hit me, because I’d been sitting here for a few months thinking about what I wanted out of the next decade of my life. What am I aiming for? What are my goals? Where do I want to be? If you’d asked me a month ago, I would have said something involving weight loss or my career or something specific.

But.

I want to be right here. Right here in the present.

The lesson I’ve learned in my twenties is that life isn’t specific. It can’t be planned or organized 100%. It’s not a “to-do list”. Life happens. Just live it. (Oh. There’s a nice ring to that, isn’t there?)

I no longer want losing weight to be the constant in my life. It’s been a major part of my life for a majority of my life. I don’t want an end point to be something for which I strive, because I don’t know when the endpoint will be. What if it’s tomorrow? What if it’s a year from now? Or 30 years from now? Or 70 years from now? I don’t want to live my life remembering the “should haves”. I don’t want to live my life centered on the “shoulds”. (Ilene writes beautifully, and this was one of the posts that really spoke to me about living life. She has a way with words, I tell you!)

I’m excited to be entering this next chapter of my life. I’m excited to set aside goals that have basically plagued me for the past 20 years. I don’t have so much weight to lose now that it’s become a dire emergency. Sure…a small, superficial part of me still wants it…wants to look better than ever. What’s become more important to me, though, is that I feel better than ever, and that is what shines through in life. I want health, happiness, and to live in the present. No shoulds. No should haves.

Just living.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

MIzFit August 30, 2012 at 7:35 am

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY OH SPRING CHICKEN :-)
it only gets better….

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Coco August 30, 2012 at 7:44 am

Happy Birthday! I love your attitude. :-)

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Kierston August 30, 2012 at 8:06 am

Happy birthday!!! Great reflections :)

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Sarah @momrunningonempty.com August 30, 2012 at 8:21 am

Happy birthday!! It sounds like you are going to have an amazing year coming at you and I just know you will be successful in whatever it brings!! Enjoy :)

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Maureen August 30, 2012 at 8:23 am

Happy Happy Birthday to you!! You have such a great attitude…love this post!

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Meredith @ DareYouTo August 30, 2012 at 8:53 am

Beautiful reflection! And happy, happy birthday to you

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Heather (Where's the Beach) August 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

Happy Happy Happy Birthday my dear. I love that you have really come into your own over the course of the past year – I’ve really seen so much change and it’s really inspiring. I love that you’re embracing life. Hugs!

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Meridith @ BelowtheFork.com August 30, 2012 at 9:28 am

Happy Birthday! I love your attitude about turning 30. I turn 30 in February and feel the same…be proud of the life you’ve been living but remember the best is yet to come!

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Lindsey Importico August 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

Happy Birthday!
I cannot stand when people are so negative about “the big 3-0″. I think it’s a fabulous thing! Growing older is a privledge that some people never get to do. Have a fabulous birthday (and I’m sure you with, with that positive attitude)!!!

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Jess August 30, 2012 at 10:48 am

Beautiful post my friend. THIS is exactly where you’re meant to be – right here, right now, right where you are, and who you are. You are truly in the best place possible as you hit what I think is the best DECADE in life…at least that’s how I feel so far about it ;-) I wish I was there to celebrate with you today!!! Sending virtual cheers your way as we speak :) xoxo

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Tina @ Best Body Fitness August 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! And I’m right there with you. I’m so happy with where life is and the paths I have taken that I don’t want to lose sight of that or regret anything. Beautiful post from a beautiful woman. Love you!

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lindsay August 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

happy happy birthday. Just being right where you are. Seeing what’s around you, living in the beautiful moment! you are AMAZING Melissa!

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erin August 30, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Happy birthday! Your attitude is setting you up for another great 10 years!

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jobo August 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I love love LOVE this, my friend. you have come so full circle in the last 6 months alone in so much, in just being, in finding YOU and loving YOU, in overcoming, in all of it. You are beautiful inside and out, and you inspire me pretty much daily. Love you girl, happy happy HAPPY birthday! XOXO

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Debbie @ Live from La Quinta August 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Happy Birthday! I loved your beautiful post. I’m so happy for you that you are happy for you (does that make sense?).

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Charlotte August 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm

happy birthday!!!! :D
you have grown so much, just in the last several months alone — so I’m sure throughout ALL of your 20s you were always growing! i can just tell that about you! :D

xoxoxo
hope you have a great birthday!!

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Heather@Just a Colorado Gal August 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Happy birthday lady! I turned 30 a few months back and it’s even better than the 20s :)

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Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie August 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Happy happy birthday!! Here’s to many more years as fabulous as your first thirty have been!

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Amanda @RunToTheFinish August 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

yeahhhhh!! I loved turning 30 and honestly I’m even more excited at 31. I think it’s for what you finished with…learning how to let go of what’s not important.

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Christine @ Love, Life, Surf August 30, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Happy Happy Birthday!! I truly love this post and your reflections. You are meant to be right where you are now. You come so far in your journey and love that you’ve found you. xoxo

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Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean August 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm

freakin’ beautiful. just like you. you inspire me every.single.day! love you!

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Abby @ BackAtSquareZero August 30, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Happy birthday.
30 is fabulous! Life only gets better.

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Sara September 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm

You are amazing. I am crying reading your post too.

I turned 30 on August 30 too.

Reading this post, I see that you and I are very similar. I don’t quite have the words to express how this post is helping me to reflect back on my own 20′s. I learned a lot (especially in the last two years of my 20′s) and things happened that just made me a completely different person. You are right, though, life happens and all we can do is keep on living it.

I have also struggled constantly with self-image and self-confidence. Running has given me a lot of that back, even though I am struggling and hurting right now. I gain inspiration and faith from your story that there are better days ahead and I too believe that NOTHING happens to us without a reason. There are no coincidences. Nothing is accidental.

Thank you. I’m looking forward to following your journey into our 30′s!

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