I turn 30 this week.
When I was younger and would try picturing myself at 20, 25, 30 and beyond, those ages were little more than numbers. Truth be told, I honestly never thought I’d live that long (irrational fear courtesy of a parent dying young, I suppose), but even when I tried to imagine life at these milestone ages, I just couldn’t.
I had no clue I’d own a house in suburbia – in the South, no less. I had big dreams of big cities, something I’m certain I conjured up as pure fiction, inspired by pure fiction. I’ve never been one for the hustle-bustle, and I’m certainly not someone who loves a crowd.
A chronic loner and floater, I never thought I’d have a pack of girlfriends. These lovely women I can contact at any hour of the night and know they’ll be there to laugh with, to cry with, to pray with. Sleepovers that were once dreaded events are now a slice of paradise, a rare escape with people I can lay about with wearing fat pants and know it’s OK to squish together onto a narrow set of stairs to hug each other and sob then pick each other up over side-splitting laughs. Too many miles separate me from my besties, but I know the miles are a tiny step between Point A and Point B. Goodbyes happen too often, but they’re always followed by See-You-Soons.
I didn’t dream of having a husband. I had no idea the magic of having my closest friend by my side in sickness and health, in seeing him smile for no greater reason than knowing that something he did made my day – and having the privilege of flashing that same smile when I’ve done well. I had no idea that a crush could extend past those shy smiles and did-he-look-at-mes. And there is no way I could have pictured what it’s like to have a true partner when struggling through deprivation of basic human needs because you’re too busy trying to meet the needs of the small and helpless.
I didn’t plan on a family of five, and I certainly didn’t in my wildest dreams envision triplets. I was completely blindsided by the constant state of awe I experience. They learn things. They interact with things, with people, with each other, with Rob, with me. They explore their own bodies, the way things feel, like scratching – such a simple thing, but I’ve been stopped in my tracks to watch them learn what it feels like to purposely scratch their arms then mine, to feel what different things their bodies can do. They bend their legs and try to jump, then they actually do it and jump and jump and jump for no reason but because they can.
I don’t know what life would have been like if I’d got what I blindly hoped my future 30-year-old self would have (from living in New York City as an ad executive to living in Hawaii as a marine biologist), but I can’t picture a life without the specific people and experiences I’ve collected on my path to 30.
I’m proud to be rounding out my 30th year on Earth. I don’t do bucket lists or by-this-year checklists, but I’m happy with what I’ve done, where I’ve been and who I’ve loved. I have oodles left to accomplish, but I think I’ve proven my future plans aren’t superior to the surprises that lie ahead.
Bring it on.