echoing. thirty strong

The age of 20s is such a unique decade of life. You have the euphoria and confusion of being an independent adult for the first time. For me, that meant huge life changes such as undergrad, marriage, grad school, first jobs, two kids, first home. It meant figuring out what escrow was, and how to grill a burger, and what real herbs looked like. It meant paying off loans, and budgeting. It was failed meals, and purging the closet, and figuring out when to put down lawn fertilizer. Seriously, the changes that occur from age 22 to 28 is really quite impressive.

And even deeper, it meant reassessing everything I grew up learning and trying to figure out what was real. It was understanding what I knew from a child’s perspective and now growing up as an adult. We changed how we shop, and decorate, and make meals, and take care of ourselves, and how we use our time…..phew. Just go with me, and know that my 20s were good and necessary but exhausting.

And now I’m 30. YEEAHH! And totally excited. I’ve actually looked forward in turning 30 for several years (I’m told I’m weird like that). As great as the “discovery 20s” were for me, I’m ready for the next decade of life.

Friendships are now fewer but deeper. Family is closer to our heart. First time lessons and mistakes can be avoided the second time around. Health, wellness, and simple living can be intentionally pursued. Many shortcuts don’t work and now we just slow down and make wise choices. We can be both planned and spontaneous. We can be decisive as well as flexible.

Matt told me something a week before my birthday that I still think of almost daily. He probably doesn’t even know it impacted me. I was holding Evy, sleep-deprived and tired. We were talking about how “we are doing it!”.

And he looks at me and says, “You seem stronger”.

You know when you see stars at night with no lights on? When you smell fresh bread when you walk into a home? Or when you hug someone close to you for the first time in months? That tingly feeling in your heart? Well. That’s what I got when he said that.

If God wills me to live to age 90, my life here is a third done. Huh. That’s weird. But I’m totally OK with that. Because I’m accepting my gifts and skills and resources and using them. I’m OK acknowledging my faults and trying to make them better. I’m OK living with the tension of differing theology, or the struggles and debates of life. I can lean into those questions and not freak out. I can listen to people’s stories and recognize them as important and unique and special.

I’ve had a lot to process the last few weeks and I think God is making me stronger. By working on me at my weakest — recovering from labor and delivery, removed from work and commitments, sleep-deprived, and living continuous selfless parenting moments. But I feel as if I understand me, and my world, just a bit more. As if I am able to see how my story may just be fitting into the scope of everything else.

So I’m now 30. And maybe I’m a bit more brave. A bit more aware. And a wee-bit stronger.