Reflections: Turning 30

I thought about turning thirty many times before my thirtieth birthday. I thought of the good things about turning thirty and also the things I did not like about turning thirty. As memories would drift through my mind I thought about the things that made me happy and the things that made me sad. I then began to think about what could be done to avoid turning thirty and getting older and older every year. I came to the conclusion that if I continued to live on this earth, I would have birthdays and that every year I would get older. I had the choice to celebrate or to mourn each year passing.

I then thought about my grandmother who passed away at age ninety-three. The doctors said that there was nothing wrong with her. Her body was still in very good shape; she just got tired of living. At her funeral, I remembered that in her seventies she would watch me, my two sisters and my two cousins (all under age five) while our parents worked on the farm. She was always kind and happy except on her birthday. Every year on her birthday she would wring her hands and exclaim, "Girl, I just don't know if I will ever see another birthday!" Her comments somewhat irritated me. I did not understand how she could talk about such things on her birthday. She was always busy with a project of some sort. She was always encouraging and loving toward us and I was too little to worry about what age she was or how long she would be with us. I remember wanting to be like her when I grew up with one exception, that was how I experienced my birthday each year.

So it was that when I turned thirty, I celebrated all the good things in my life that brought me to this birthday and chose to forget the sad things in life for a day. It was at this point in my life that birthdays were nice to have but living the other 364 days of the year was even more important. Living life to the fullest, giving, loving, and caring for those around me became more important than just who I was and what I had accomplished.

My thirtieth birthday, was a good day. It was a day of celebration. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was not until two days before I turned thirty-one that I thought about being in my thirties again. That was the day my younger sister, who was born two days before my first birthday called me in a very distraught state. This alarmed me as she is a tough person and cries very little. When I asked her what was wrong, she confessed that she was so sad that she was turning thirty and she did not want to get old. I burst out in laughter. I told her that if she wanted sympathy, that she needed to call our youngest sister who was still twenty-eight. I reminded her that I was already thirty and in two days I would be thirty-one. I wanted to enjoy my last two days of being thirty before thirty-one hit. I told her that since I was older, I had already been there and that I had survived a whole year of being thirty just fine and she could too. We have enjoyed being the same age for two days each year ever since.

This year I turned fifty-five. Wow, how can anyone be that old? As I look back on my life I think about age this way:

Ages 0-10:
From ages one to ten, we are trusting and mostly look up to our parents and adults (they are so big).

Ages 11-19:
In our teens we question everything that we have thus learned and make plans, sometimes lofty, for our independent future.

Ages 20-29:
In our twenties we finally have a chance to "do it ourselves."

Ages 30-39:
Depending on where we are in the "do it ourselves" stage, our thirties can be a time of continuing what we did in our twenties or trying to fix what we did in our twenties.

Ages 40-49:
By the time you get to forty, we start to make decisions with some experience behind us (hopefully) and life starts to even out a bit.

Ages 50 and beyond:
Fifty so far is the best that I have lived. I'm old enough to know some things that work and others that do not. I also find myself more at peace and more centered in my life. This does not mean that there are still not struggles but I tend to let go of a lot of things that would have bothered me years ago.

These are just my personal thoughts and I cannot speak for anything beyond the fifties. I do know that everyday is a gift and opportunity to love others and to learn and move forward. What a gift it is to live on this planet no matter what age.

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