So I'm writing this on the eve of my 30th birthday, filled with dreams of cake and more cake.
I wasn't this excited when I turned ten.
Apparently the fact that you just completed a decade of being human is lost on you when you're a child.
I didn't celebrate when I turned twenty.
I was a college senior and far too busy with my thesis writing to even think about my birthday. (I think my crush bought me fast food fried chicken for lunch that day, though, so that was pretty cool.)
Let me just get it out there now; this is not the thirty-year-old me I imagined myself to be when I was young.
At the risk of sounding like a totally arrogant ass: this me is so much better.
When I was younger I thought that by the time I hit 30 I'd be married with kids. I'd be rich. I'd be a successful diplomat (or at least top-level foreign service officer).
I am currently none of those things.
I thought I'd be married and a mom not because I wanted it, but because it seemed like the normal thing to be when you're 30. I'd be successful because it was required of me.
I had this cookie-cutter vision of 30-year-old me that had nothing to do with what I wanted and everything to do with what people expected.
So, you know, what I am right now?
I'm completely imperfect.
I don't have kids. I have never had a relationship. I've never even fallen in love.
I am far from rich.
I have two jobs – sometimes three when I get freelance work.
I love me.
I spent years not liking myself. I was never good enough. All those expectations of “normal”? I failed to achieve them.
But I think these past couple of years, I finally realized that I do not owe anyone else an explanation.
This life I have is incredibly imperfect. It's not ideal. No one will look at the life I have and envy me.
But I cannot be happier.
(Okay, I could stand to lose a few pimples. Really. 30 and still dealing with pimples like a teenager. Ugh.)
I do not live up to other people's expectations, and that's perfectly okay.
I like how I turned out.
This might not be the life I imagined, but it's a hundred times better than I could have come up with.
I think, if you force me to describe how I feel right now that I'm on the cusp of old-person-age, the only word I can think of is free.
One of my favorite quotes from Howl's Moving Castle:
As a girl, Sophie would have shriveled with embarrassment at the way she was behaving. As an old woman, she did not mind what she did or said. She found that a great relief.
And it's true. I just feel like I am completely over whatever drama people have.
I am old and I have no time for your bullshit.
I used to get angry over the smallest things, believing that if I don't rage it simply means I no longer have the spark of youth in me.
With old age, though, comes the wisdom of picking my battles.
Now the best I can muster is a slight furrowing of my brows.
A lot of things still piss me off – in fact I'm pretty sure more things piss me off now.
It's just that I now know that I do not have to froth at the mouth over every single thing. I can just quirk an eyebrow, dismiss people as stupid, and get on with my day.
That's the secret of oldness.
I am at least 90% sure that this is what inner peace looks like.
Anyway, this has turned into a massive ramble.
All I want to say is that at 30, I am happier than can be.
I think more than anything else, this overwhelming recognition that I am fine the way I am and that the rest of the world can suck it makes me incredibly glad.
I mean, suck it world.
You don't have to like me, because I like me enough for the both of us.