This year, on June 30, I turn 39. While this isn’t exactly a milestone year, it definitely has me thinking a lot about my life. I know this might sound dramatic, but I didn’t win the superlative for “Most Dramatically Inclined” of Lincoln High School’s class of 1999 for nothing.
My 30s were pretty amazing. I met my husband, sold my condo, bought a house, got married, had a baby, celebrated 15 years of teaching, suffered a miscarriage, sold our house, moved back in with my parents, got chickens, and had a rainbow baby. There was way too much moving in this past decade, and it was peppered with love and heartache, but overall, it was probably the best decade of my life.
So now what. What do I do with this last year of my 30s? Do I go out with a bang? How does one do that? Do I plan for my 40s? What would that even entail? Do I just keep plodding along, like it doesn’t really matter? I don’t want to end this fabulous decade in a state of confusion or ennui. So what do I do?
Thus far, I have one plan: Intentionally walk (or jog) 100 miles this summer. It’s not as grand as it seems when you figure I have three months (June, July, and August) to get these miles in, but it’s my first step (pun intended). I’ve already begun lacing up my sneakers and hitting the pavement whenever I can (which isn’t always easy with a 4-year-old who wants to live inside me again, and an 18-month-old who thinks she’s Evil Knievel). But I do it — either early in the morning or after the little one goes to bed. And for someone like me, that’s a start.
After that, I have no clue. I tend to waver between “Yeah, let’s GO!” and “I’m way too old for this…” Maybe I could take a (virtual) cooking class or learn (virtual) karate. Maybe I could train for an obstacle race or learn how to use PhotoShop. Or (and this would blow my husband’s mind), I could fly by the seat of my pants and go where the wind takes me. As a self-proclaimed super planner, I highly doubt I will be able to do that, but maybe once per week… or month.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so up in the air or anxious about a birthday. It’s unsettling. But I’ve learned from past experiences that when things become uncomfortable, it’s time to dig in and get more balanced. So as I close out my 30s, I will keep walking and jogging. I will get outside. I will play with my girls (even when I feel too old). I will eat more vegetables. I will eat the last cookie. I will meditate more. I will worry less. I will do what I have always done: the best I possibly can.
And last: I will try to love myself as much my girls love me, because if there’s anything I’ve learned from this past decade, it’s that being a mom is the most exhausting, rewarding, frustrating, fulfilling, difficult, instinctive, panic-inducing, loving, and wonderful thing I could ever be gifted, and I am oh so lucky.