I turned 30 today. I wasn't sure how I'd take it. Truthfully, I've heard from so many people that it's horrible. They had a meltdown. Others say it's not bad at all. Me? I'm somewhere in the middle. What I do know is that a trip down memory lane helps me keep things in perspective.
The first decade of my life (0-9) brought me pretty much everything - I learned how to walk, talk, feed myself, important things like colors, shapes, and my ABC's. I learned how to read, basic addition and subtraction, and some cool history facts that I'm sure I couldn't recall if my life depeneded on it. I learned about friendship from my BFF Kathleen while hunting for turtles, playing cowboys and indians, and doing gymnastics in the monkey tree. I survived the chicken pox and managed to learn how to share it with others. Let's not forget Brownies, pigtails, and summer camping trips. What about the snow of 1988? That was an amazing winter. I remember I was so little that I could barely walk in all the snow and got so tired from trying that my BFF's older brother put me in the wagon and took me home. It was also during this time that I learned about hunting, cleaning game, going fishing. Those are some of my fondest memories because it meant spending time with my family. Remember when each day would drag by? One birthday to the next seemed like eternity and the fact that once Christmas passed you had to wait another 365 days always seemed unbearable? I remember those days and look back on them with fondness. Because the truth is, I wish I could sit around thinking time was dragging by instead of being at the end of another day wondering where in the world the time went.
The second decade of my life (10-19) brought on all my awkward pre-teen and teenage years. It brought me softball, basketball, band, and eventually track. Oh, and cool things like AllStar camp, FHA, Beta Club, and being the class treasurer. Ooh, and rubber band fights, after school walks to KJ's for slushies, and front porch talks at the Veleks. I finally got my driver's license and was oh so hip in my 1990 cutlas calais. It brought me graduating from high school as Valedictorian, earning 2 college scholarships, and my passage into adulthood. I learned how to question everything, come to conclusions on my own, and figure out why I believed stuff instead of just believing it because I was told to. It brought my first dating experiences, proms, and with those, being mortified by my dad's first-date-shotgun-lecture to all my boyfriends. Amazingly enough, Mark never got this lecture. Speaking of, and most importantly, this decade brought me to my husband. Ironically through one of those other boyfriends. God's funny like that. It saw my start into college as well as my 3 month dating of Mark, my 1 year engagement, and my marriage. It saw my move away from my family and I learned real quick the principle of leave and cleave. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions we made. It forced us to depend on each other and drew us closer.
The third decade of my life brought me through two college graduations where I got my bachelor's degree in Psychology and my specialists degree in Mental Health Counseling.. It's when I met my best friend, Michele. It's when, after months of trying, I learned that we may never be able to have children on our own - only to get pregnant on birth control right before I started my internship. It brought me the births of Anna and Eli as well as saw me through the loss of #3. I switched from a car to a minivan and somehow in the process became an incredibly proud soccer mom. I learned about budgeting, couponing, and living within my means.
Through the decades, there's one thing that has proven true. The longer you live, the more heartache you experience. Through the decades, I've lost all 4 of my grandparents, 2 of those being fairly recent. After 18 months of trying for #3, we lost him/her. Within the past 7-8 mo. Mark had surgery, #3's due date passed, my appendix ruptured and I had emergency surgery, my grandpa died, our friend's lost their full term baby, I've been in the ER with kidney stones, our same friends lost baby #2, and Mark's uncle passed away unexpectedly.
But God was there through it all.
If there's one thing I know, it's that He's always there. Sometimes I may not feel His presence, like His answers, or agree with where He's leading, but He's always here. Ever present.
The decades have proven this time and time again. Afterall, I'm still here.
I remember my Grandma always telling me that you should never ask a woman her age. Later in life, I guess her perspective changed because she then told me that with each passing year, it's evidence of God's grace in your life. Proof of what He's brought you through. Proof of the blessings He's bestowed upon us.
So, with that in mind, I'm proudly saying:
May the next 30 be as blessed as the first.
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