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Goodbye to My Thirties

This is the last post I’ll write in my thirties.

All eight years of blogging have been in my thirties.  I started this blog a little after my 32nd birthday.  The twins were not yet two.

When I started this blog, I had no idea that eight years down the road, I would still be writing it on a daily basis.  I wasn’t the most confident writer.  Actually, I’m still not the most confident writer, but I know my voice better.  Yes, I can say that.  I know my voice better.  I know what sort of topics I can write about and which ones I can’t do justice.  I’m still nervous before I hit publish sometimes, but overall, I am more comfortable in my writing skin on the other end of thirty.

All my niches on the Internet were carved out in my thirties.  I joined Twitter and Facebook.  I started writing for BlogHer.

I was massively pregnant when I left my twenties and entered my thirties.  I gave birth to the twins that summer.  I left my teaching job soon after that.  And now I am leaving my thirties with two almost-ten-year-olds and four published books on my bookshelf.

My thirties were amazing, mostly because I had finally reached this huge goal that I had spent most of my twenties trying to reach.  I’m sort of ashamed as a feminist to admit that it wasn’t the four books despite getting that MFA.  It’s those two kids.  I wanted to be a mother so badly.  I wanted kids specifically with Josh, but I also just… there was this overwhelming pulse inside my heart that kept throbbing out this message: you want to be a mother you want to be a mother you want to be a mother.

I wanted to be a mother.

And in my thirties, I got to be a mother.  I got to do all of my parenting thus far inside that decade.  Their life began as that decade in my life began, and now we’re moving into a new decade together — their tens and my forties.  They are so amazing.  They are funny and creative and sensitive and cuddly and independent and stubborn and intelligent and they make huge mistakes and they get some things so completely right.  They are messy and wonderful, and we are so lucky to have them in our lives.  To get a front row seat to watching them grow up.

[On a side note, I told the twins that I wrote a paragraph about them since I always give them a heads up and ask permission before I mention them.  The ChickieNob pursed her lips and looked at me owlishly as she said, "you could only come up with one paragraph of things to say about me?"]

When I was little, I watched the show Thirtysomething, and I thought about how thirty was sort of this drab little decade where you weren’t  cool like a twenty-something and you weren’t an adult like a forty-something.  I’m not sure how I overlooked including thirty in adulthood, but it didn’t carry the weight of middle age like forty.  It felt a bit like a balloon, bobbing between the shininess of twenty and the settled feel of forty.  The cast was lovely and talented, but I always felt a little badly for them.  I mean, who thought about their thirties?  It was just a tube of years on the way from this place to that place.

I just walked that tube of years.  And I loved it.

My thirties taught me who I am.  What I can’t change.  What doesn’t really need to be changed.  What I should probably work to change.  I discovered what I like and don’t like and how to say what I need to say emphatically and without apology.  I became more flexible with yoga,  and I became less flexible with compromising my needs to make someone else happy.

And in the end, I grew and I grew and I grew.

Thank you, thirties, for treating me well.  For leaving me in a better place than when I entered.  Thank you for Josh who continues to hold my heart with care and do most of the laundry.  Thank you for the twins who blow my mind on a daily basis.  Thank you for my parents and siblings and siblings-in-law-who-are-really-more-like-siblings, and nieces and nephews.  Thank you for my wonderful friends: the ones that I see in my face-to-face world, the ones I keep in touch with over the phone, and the ones that I email through the computer.  Thank you for my work, for my books, for helping me find my writing voice.  Thank you for our little house.  Thank you, thirties, for being the decade when all of this happened.

May my forties go just as well.

No birthday wishes yet, please.  I want a chance to say goodbye properly before I sigh, close the door, and say hello to the next decade.

18 comments

1 Sharon { 05.31.14 at 9:03 pm }

What a great post. If your 40s are anything like mine have been so far–I’m currently 43–I think you’ll like them even better than your 30s. Life just keeps getting better!

2 Cristy { 05.31.14 at 9:09 pm }

I’ll hold off on birthday wishes, but can I say that I hope I can look back on my thirties with as much fondness and insight.

3 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.31.14 at 11:03 pm }

I’m so glad your thirties brought me to you.

4 a { 05.31.14 at 11:20 pm }

Hmmm…now that I think about it, my 30s were pretty good. Almost no one died (only my aunt, when I was 30…oh, and those pregnancies). I got settled in my job, married my husband, had my daughter, moved a couple times, planted a lot of flowers and trees and tomato plants, welcomed my nieces, traveled a little. Not too bad…

5 Katie { 05.31.14 at 11:44 pm }

This may be one of my favorite posts of yours. Beautiful.

6 Justine { 05.31.14 at 11:48 pm }

I think I’m doing some of that in my forties, too. ;) I love that you can name the things that made this decade so amazing for you!

7 Kathy { 06.01.14 at 12:42 am }

I love this post, especially the paragraph about what your thirties taught you. I am also glad we got to meet and become friends in our thirties. xoxo

8 Cara { 06.01.14 at 7:01 am }

Perfect.. This is why, eight years later, I still click over to read. I’ll be forty as well this year, and this post hits it. Thank you for sharing all these moments in your 30s with us.

9 Tiara { 06.01.14 at 7:21 am }

I really identify with you saying you thirties taught you who you are. I feel the same way. I feel better prepared to forty than I did for thirty, I’m looking forward to forty in a way I couldn’t look forward to thirty. There were too many…well, not regrets…but unfulfilled dreams. I believe in my heart that my forties will be my best decade yet.

10 Jodi { 06.01.14 at 8:12 am }

This is lovely post. I hope next year, when I’m in the place you are, I can look at my thirties so fondly.

11 andy { 06.01.14 at 9:40 am }

Hello forties! I’m sure you are going to have fun with them!

12 Serenity { 06.01.14 at 1:41 pm }

I love my thirties too. Love this post. Thanks for sharing. xoxo

13 jjiraffe { 06.01.14 at 2:29 pm }

Lovely post. It’s interesting – I guess my experience with my 30s was more the clueless thirty something experience. There were so many struggles and changes of heart. I did ultimately achieve my hearts desire too: being a mother. But the twists and turns were so much to bear. I feel mostly lucky to have made it through intact.

I am liking my 40s. I do feel settled mostly, and what I do now seems very purpose driven. It makes sense.

14 JustHeather { 06.01.14 at 2:36 pm }

What a great tribute to your 30s! And it is pretty amazing to get a front row seat to watching someone(s) grow up! I’m amazed by it almost every single day.

15 Queenie { 06.01.14 at 4:51 pm }

Love this.

16 Sara { 06.01.14 at 6:55 pm }

Beautiful post. I hope I look back on my 30’s the way you have when I move into my 40’s.

17 Mina { 06.01.14 at 7:06 pm }

*hugs Mel*
*discreetly wipes tears and snot*
*waves the silly “I’m fine” wave*
*queues again and hugs Mel again*
*slams the barcounter, pointing at the bartender and mouthing “DOUBLE anything, I dare you”*
Mel is in danger of being all hugged out.

PS- do tell us when you’re ready to receive birthday greetings. :-)
Erm… Hugs?! Xoxo, Mina

18 Battynurse { 06.04.14 at 9:34 pm }

Love this post although I’m a few days late reading it.

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