One dark, damp chilly night a few months ago, my husband and I sat eating our dinner to the background music of a screaming child. “Man, if it weren’t for her, there is not a doubt in my mind that we would be sitting on a beach in Mexico right now drinking a mojito,” my husband said dreamily. We looked at each other and both smiled as we thought the same thing: we wouldn’t change a thing about this moment.
As I near my 30th birthday, I’ve been reflecting on the 30 years God has given to me on this earth. I’m not dreading turning the big 3-0; rather, I choose to celebrate this incredible journey! Hooray! I've survived 10,950 days! :)
My 20s were, for the most part, fantastic. I began the decade as a single college student, living in a house in Grand Rapids with 8 girlfriends; I end them as a wife and mother. In between, I married my wonderful husband, moved across the country, had a teaching career, earned a masters degree and cultivated an amazing community of friendships. I traveled all over the map and met people from around the world. I experienced the miracle of pregnancy, and now I am adjusting to motherhood.
My 20s were a time of growing, figuring out “who I am” as well as struggling with “who I want to be.” I wrestled with self-confidence, my faith and my relationships. I experienced deep bitterness, deep joy and deep love. I’ve learned how to forgive, how to serve and how to grieve. I was always on the move either with my friends or my husband. There was never a dull moment.
However, as I turn 30, my life is changing. There is something in me that still loves the fast-paced, fabulous life of my 20s; however, there has been a big shift to where my energy is channeled.
It is not all about me anymore. I didn't even realize that it was all about me until it wasn't all about me! However, perhaps even more importantly is the fact that life wouldn’t be as fulfilling and as precious if it were. If my life were merely focused on striving for my temporary happiness and joy, it would leave me utterly empty in the end. I’m realizing that what is most important and lasting in life are relationships, investing in people, and loving well.
As I sat with my little 4-month-old daughter under a tree this afternoon, I was still amazed that the little person lying next to me is actually my child. The days that will fill the months of the next ten years will surely be consumed with many things; but none will be as important as raising and loving my family and friends. I enter this next decade excited and so grateful. Grateful for one more year…grateful for one more day…grateful for each moment, especially the small ones.