Two hours to go. One hour and fifty-two minutes to be exact. But hey, who’s counting?
Thirty. What does it mean? Nothing much. I mean, 40’s my scary age. It’s the age I remember my parent’s being when I was little. Thirty? Well, thirty was the age of successful businessmen and women who had tons of money to spend on wine, houses and I don’t know… travel? With wine in hand, sitting inside a house I rent, looking forward to an upcoming weekend in Boston, I figure I’m on the right track, no? Well, that’s just the thing. I have absolutely no idea.
My twenties were about adventure. I traveled. I found love. I made wonderful mistakes, and then I learned from them and quickly moved on (from some more quickly than others). It was a time of excitement, a time of firsts, and probably a time of lasts as well – I’m getting too old for that kind of hangover. As the hours wind down though, I’m starting to wonder whether or not I’m ready to say goodbye to what might have been the most memorable years of my life. I mean, what can compare with an university exchange to Toulouse? A volunteer placement in Tanzania? A career as a varsity athlete? Albeit, all of that happened during my early twenties. During my late twenties, I met my husband under the full moon on a beach in Thailand, traveled solo throughout Asia, moved to Germany, got married and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Not too shabby.
I’m thirty. Now what?
I guess the question is, now what? Until now, I’ve defined my life by the next big move, the next grand adventure. How can I continue “living to the point of tears” when I’m rooted, settled… domesticated (shudder)? The decision to stay or to go has been nagging at me every since we moved back to Canada and I lost my identity as the expat, the stranger. All of a sudden, I was back where I started. And shortly after, I was a mom. In Milton! I freaked out during maternity leave, and tried tirelessly to convince my husband that we should move back overseas, immediately. He told me to wait it out – and I’m glad I did.
After taking a breath, I realized that my thirties aren’t for jumping around without direction. They’re for forging a path in whatever direction I choose. Instead of discovering ways to maintain a lifestyle I used to treasure, I’m re-discovering additional components of my self. Maybe this is the decade I write my award-winning novel (okay, any novel will do just fine). Maybe these are the years where I focus on my career, work my butt off and unlock the potential I’ve pushed aside for wanderlust and a pair of feet that won’t stay still. Or maybe I simply master how to bake my daughter’s favourite cookies so she has something delicious to look forward to every day after school. I mean, that stuff’s pretty underrated, and until my daughter’s head recently stopped spinning (she had colic and I wine), I didn’t realize just how rewarding being a mom can truly be. Don’t get me wrong – I never want to be JUST a mom (it’s not in my DNA). I mean, I’m more than that. I’m a runner, a travel nut, a bookworm, a volunteer, and a hyperactive blonde with FOMO as coined by one of my best friends – Fear Of Missing Out. It’s a thing. Until, however, my daughter can share in my interests, hobbies and passions, someone’s gotta raise her, and I’m starting to think I’m just the woman for the job.
“With every broken bone, I swear I lived”
Yesterday, I looked at my husband and told him that I have another song for “the list”. The list is a compilation of songs that I want played at my funeral should I kick the bucket before him. Some call it morbid (he actually hates it) but I think it’s just good planning. I mean, life is short, and we never know what sunset could be our last. The song I asked him to add was “I lived” by One Republic – here it is for those who haven’t heard it.
I then told him that I found it reassuring to know that if I died today, I would die having done everything I wanted to do in this life, and more. He looked at me as if I was bat-shit crazy. You see, he was reflecting back on the thousand times a week I say how badly I want to fly here, or learn this, or do that – not on the moments of sheer delight I take pleasure in day after day, and the memories I cherish that are ingrained so deeply within my soul.
Of course I still want to rent a car and road trip across the south of France. I want to sip wine in California, and slurp noodles in Vietnam. I want to master the German language, and open my own hostel wherever we land, whenever it’s right. But for now, I am happy to be exactly where I am. I have big TALL dreams that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But I’m also ridiculously blessed to enjoy the stability that comes with a family, immediate and extended, and a group of friends who have stayed by my side no matter where in the world I was. I am grateful to be woken up at 3 in the morning because I have a healthy baby girl who just wants to be loved. I’m grateful to fight with someone who thinks I’m worth fighting with and is willing to put up with my ridiculous antics all in the name of ever-lasting love. I’m so very lucky to feel trapped once in a while in a house that shelters me every night and provides warmth for my family in this God-awful Canadian climate. And yes, I’m grateful for this shitty weather that comes with living in one of the most incredible countries in the world.
Despite all the frustrations, all the set-backs, all the moments of doubt, and all the challenges we’ll face, I’m incredibly lucky to be 30 – and be where I am today. My 20’s may have been about discovering new places, new loves, and new homes, but I have a feeling my 30’s will be about re-discovering myself, and that sounds like the greatest adventure there is.