Thirty, Flirty + Thriving


I graduated from college in 2007, at the ripe-old age of 23. I had a handsome boyfriend, parents that still provided a roof over my head, and I drove a BMW all the way from Atlanta to Santa Barbara- where I would live beach side for the next several years. I was young, carefree, and just a bit cocky; and I was blindly ignorant to the abyss of uncertainty the next few years would bring.

I had heard cautionary tales of the frustration post-collegiate years can offer a graduate- but I thought my stellar GPA, relationship status, and financial security would provide an emotional vaccination from such affliction.

Instead, It was quite the contrary.  My post-graduate, naive-self was about to embark upon a crippling time of uncertainty consisting of false-start after false-start- the details of which would require too much ink to pen.

It didn't take long for me to find myself metaphorically beating my head against the wall, channeling my inner Jenna Rink in 13 Going on 30; but instead of converse I wore well-traveled Louboutins, and I traded an awkward scrunchy for a tan line on my left ring finger- the ghost of an engagement broken before I'm twenty-five.

Also unlike the little girl so desperately wanting to be "thirty, flirty, and thriving," I didn't know what I wanted to be. I just knew I was in a paralyzing time of transition- one who's lessons had to shape a brighter future.

While some of those around me lamented about getting older and leaving the fun that was their twenties, wiser friends told me about the peace I would surely encounter in the coming decade- that I would soon reach the time in my life where I was comfortable and settled; where I would find purpose and confidence again; where I would stop worrying about what I wanted to be, and would just "be."

And after one year in this decade called my thirties, I can attest to those wise words.  The transition was gradual and, truth be told, I found most of this peace in the last few years of my twenties- as I'm sure many found it well before or well after. But I'm here, and my wise friends were right: 

I no longer care so much about the parts of my body I will never change; I am acutely aware of my strengths and weeknesses, and embrace them both. But I celebrate my strengths more than these shortcomings; and am comfortable that with the idea that we are all works in progress. Today, I know what I want to do with my life, but I also know it's not a life-sentence; tomorrow I might want to be something else. And that's OK too. 

That's not to say your thirties doesn't come with its own obstacles- it does. This chapter throws it's own curve balls and has its own special bag of tricks-but it would seem that the growing pains suffered in my younger years have equipped me with the armor needed to survive, and maybe even thrive. And I find comfort in the fact that today's challenges and times of transition will likely prepare me for the chapters after this one.

The successes, joy, and fun I did experience in my twenties, in conjunction with the professional shortcomings and emotional misses, afforded me a degree in life much more applicable than the one I earned from that university nearly ten years ago. Which was more expensive? That's still up for debate.

And while I'm not sure about being flirty, I'm sure happy to be working on thriving, here in this beautiful place called my thirties.