February 7th, 2016
30?! That one snuck up on me. Despite the fact that B has been reminding me that my birthday is coming up ever since he turned the big 3-0, I've pretty much been in denial of my 20s ending. But today I forced myself to stop and think about it, and set some goals for myself for the upcoming decade, and I'm actually not as anxious as I thought I'd be about the milestone.
I admittedly spent a good portion of my 20s comparing my success to others' and searching for some kind of permanent sense of a physical home. I literally searched the East and West Coasts for a place I could call home, and a life I felt comfortable living. I moved a lot, chasing some dreams I still have, and some that have fallen by the wayside. I lived in the city, lived by the beach, lived on a remote Alaskan island, and did a lot of traipsing around in between. I started (and have yet to finish) a couple of different grad programs, and taught the breadth of pre-school to high school. I set a lot of goals, poured my heart into some of them, and half-assed an attempt at others.
Oh yeah, and I married my best friend and grew a human.
I'm turning 30 and we don't own a house yet, my masters degree has been in progress for way too long, and I'm not teaching in a school where I see myself for the duration of my career. My general reaction to thinking about these things (which is pretty often, like pretty much daily) is "Get on it, Meg. Get your ass in gear. Figure out the next step. Make a plan. Now." At which point I make a bunch of plans, write a few dozen lists, set some unrealistic deadlines and goals for myself, and then beat myself up later when I haven't yet attained them.
But you know what? I'm turning 30 and I've decided that those things don't matter.
We don't own a house, but it doesn't matter because home is wherever I'm with my family. I'm at home here in Elim in our apartment, in my classroom, and walking on the beach. We're at home on the East Coast when we're spending time with family and friends. We're at home in our tent, regardless of which campsite it's set up in. We're totally at home in our Jeep on any road headed in any direction.
My master's degree isn't complete but it doesn't matter because I've finally found a program that I feel passionate about and can pour myself into, without feeling like I'm neglecting other aspects of my life. The work I'm doing now is completely intertwined and aligned with my career and my location, and instead of feeling like extra work, it feels like a natural fit. And I'll finish it when I finish it. I probably [most definitely] won't be in Elim until I retire, but I'm teaching in a classroom I feel really comfortable and inspired in, and I love where I'm at in my career. For now.
I've always hated the term "for now." I am constantly looking, looking, looking for the next thing.
I didn't find that feeling of permanence I was searching for when I was in my 20s, and I'm totally ready to stop looking so hard in my 30s. I feel comfortable, motivated, and completely at peace with where I live and work.
I get to watch the most breathtaking sunrises from my classroom every day. I teach some pretty awesome kids, and in turn they teach me a whole lot every day. I walk 3 minutes from my classroom door and eat lunch with my son every day. My husband's classroom shares a door with mine, and I can see him whenever the heck I want. And our family eats dinner together every, single night.
My life is happy, healthy, and simple. I'm not really sure what else there is to search for.
In June our family will grow when we add a baby girl, and I can't wait to see how much love and adventure she adds to our lives. I've still got some serious wanderlust, but instead of feeling the need to move every chance we get, I'm excited to instill curiosity, and a love of travel and new places in my kids.
I still have a lot of goals for myself, but instead of comparing myself and my success to others, I'm just going to let myself be inspired by it, and keep on trekking.
Goals/Mantras for 30+
Be productive. I have a whole lot of sh*t to do and have room for [a lot of] improvement in the procrastination department.
Be healthy. I never feel better about myself than I do when I'm spending enough time outside, eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising. I know myself well enough by now that I'm not going to sign up for a marathon, or try to force myself through Insanity again. But I can push myself to be active when I'm feeling lazy, and keep making conscious decisions about nutrition for me and my family. Plus, Asher's always up for some yoga.
Be present. Asher teaches me a gazillion new things every day, things way more important than scrolling through social media, or reading an article about something happening a thousand miles away. My life is right in front of me, and it's pretty awesome.
Be practical. I'm sure my unrealistic, idealistic self is not just going to disappear at when the clock strikes 12 Sunday night, but I can work on being intentional and keeping my goals and priorities in check.
So maybe 30 wasn't ever anything to be afraid of, I'm actually pretty excited about it.