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I Refuse To Fear Turning 30

I told myself years ago, I refused to fear turning 30.  When I was 27, I began mentally rounding my age up to thirty (much to the annoyance of my husband).  Once I was 28, I started telling people I was thirty, unless their knowledge of my specific age really mattered.  I figured this would make the closure of my twentieth decade less unsettling.

It isn’t that I am particularly excited about the impending 3-0.  It’s that I have heard, repeatedly, from friends and acquaintances, that 30 hits hard, especially for women — since our culture refuses to acknowledge that women can, and should, age.

Therefore, I am not exactly excited about being in my thirties. However, I am certainly not upset about it either.  In reality, I really like being an adult. I love it. Yes, I have to do boring things, pay rent, bills and taxes. I have to fuel my car, buy groceries, do dishes, take out the trash, fold laundry and all those other mundane chores that gradually become introduced throughout our adolescent lives.  Suddenly I am a moderately self-sustaining human — for the most part.  I love being an adult. I feel like I fit into my own life now. At my age, I am comfortable with myself.

As I grow older, I embrace so many more simple things that make me happy. I like to dance, so I tend to dance a lot — and I am not good. But dancing is fun. Dancing badly is even more fun. I love my funky plastic framed glasses, and bright colors in my hair. I have tattoos, and I really like them. When I get old, yes, they will not look great, but neither will the rest of me.

I love that I have more confidence in my movements.  I am very tall, and I no longer shrink away from that fact.  I hold my shoulders back, and I make eye contact with the strangers — even though I am a little scared of people. I still have lingering social anxiety, and I’m nervous when faced with unfamiliar situations.  But I have learned to embrace those uncomfortable experiences as learning opportunities. Yay! Adulthood!

The older I get, the more I realize, I don’t have to let people into my life.  That sounds cold — I don’t mean this in a negative way.  I have grown from past experiences and I can recognize the warning signs of sketchy personalities. I am able to maintain civil, kind interactions with people while avoiding the unnecessary drama some people inevitably crave.  I don’t have to be friends with everyone. Human interactions aren’t all or nothing.  If someone isn’t my friend, that doesn’t make him or her my enemy.  We simply exist on different terms.

I have found many convictions I intentionally hold close to my heart, defining me as the person I want to be in this world.  In turn, I know this world holds so much more I don’t know.

That is what I have learned, having lived on this planet for almost 30 years. I am 29 for two more months; then I turn 30. I am not afraid.

Carly Swenson is a mixed media artist who was born and raised in Montana. After college, she married a nice human serving in the USAF, and therefore, has spent the last seven years living abroad in England and Portugal.  Currently, she resides in Grand Forks, ND.  More of her words and art can be found on her blog.


Photo: Shutterstock

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