Today I turned 36.
I've now known my husband for 10 years. I've been out of college for almost 14 years, and it was 20 years ago today that I got my driver's license. What?!? (For some reason, it's that last factoid that gets me. 20 years!)
I've never been one to try to hide my age. I didn't freak out when I turned 30. In fact, it was the best year ever because I had always dreamed of being a mom, and I turned 30 as the mother of a 6-month old baby girl! Six years down the road, I am still loving this decade so much.
In our twenties, we're really just trying to figure it all out. Who we are (who we really, truly are), what we want to be when we grow up. We're figuring out our priorities, what we believe in, what we don't, what is worth fighting for. What defines us.
So far, my 30s have been about FREEDOM. It's so freeing to be who you are without the need to apologize for it. To get to a point where you see (and experience) how fleeting life is... which makes caring SO much about some things - and not caring much at all about others - so gratifying. My thirties have been about letting go of certain friendships while pursuing new ones. Realizing that life is a journey where not everyone is meant to sit with you on the entire ride. It's about life culling - simplifying and getting rid of those relationships and things that don't make our lives healthier or happier. It's about holding firm on those core parts of me that will always, unashamedly be me, but being open and flexible to being molded into the person I am becoming. It's been the end of comparing myself to others, and the beginning of focusing inward on how I can better love, evolve and give of myself. There is such freedom in this place. It's refreshing and humbling and comforting.
In my twenties, I'd go to a movie with friends and have my ID checked to confirm I was old enough to see an "R" rated move (this seriously happened), but now I walk into any movie just fine, and no longer get carded if I order a glass of wine at dinner. I guess I don't look 16 anymore. :)
Today, I look in the mirror and see a lot of wrinkles on my face. They are reminders of the life I've lived. And am living. The laughter, stress, sadness... all of it. They are reminders that no, I am not 16 anymore. At the same time, I am still evolving into the person I'm meant to be. And I love that.