Sunday, September 22, 2013


I'm going to be THIRTY on Saturday. I need to use all caps when I say THIRTY because THIRTY is like, whoa, THIRTY.

I'm on the brink of actual adulthood. Aren't our twenties some sort of awkward practice adulthood where we attend college, get married, procure a hasty mortgage and then start a baby making factory? That's a little bit how mine went. Let's explore what my expectations of my twenties were versus reality.

What I expected at college was that I would finish. Reality is, I'm a work in progress, and amazingly enough, I'm perfectly fine with that. I'd rather be still plugging away than be all like, "Yeah I have a bachelor's degree in shit nobody cares about because it was what my parents/society/Mr. Pfieffer thought I should do." That's crap. Yes, a degree certainly opens doors to more career opportunities faster and more money, but not necessarily more happiness. I'm happy with my "education", both formal and what I learned from Google and  by watching Britney Spears very publicly turn her life into a shit show. Drugs are bad. Use commas. Find the value of X. I can tell you what NAFTA stands for and where Sacramento is. I think I'll be able to continue to perform as a functioning adult without a piece of paper that says I spent a bunch of money on a bunch of classes that nobody I've worked for has ever asked me about.

What I expected about marriage is that it would last. Reality is, sometimes people don't know who the hell they are when they are barely out of their teens. Sometimes, people WANT to do things like take out the trash and live together forever but reality is that there is no point in two people being miserable every day of their lives simply because they grew up and simultaneously apart. Yes, marriage is a sacred commitment and should not be entered into lightly. I certainly didn't wake up one morning and decide I was bored and divorce would be a grand adventure. I made a mistake. We made a mistake. Whoops. Let's move on happily apart and cooperate for our children. Oh, and now I don't have to share my pizza or wait for the bathroom. Score. I'm happy. I'm a better mother, friend, employee, person in general. That's progress. It didn't turn out how I planned, but it's very much okay and I'm definitely the opposite of bitter, whatever that happens to be.

What I expected about having children is that they would cry and poop and eat, a lot, and that I would sleep, well, not a lot. Reality is, my children are crazy but also the single most amazing source of joy and make me more proud and happy than I ever could have imagined. They teach me so much and I would never ever recommend to anyone that they avoid becoming a parent. It's the best decision I ever made. Nobody could ever really "expect" the bonus package that comes with being a mom, so this one is sort of difficult to compare. Reality is that being a parent is so much easier than I ever expected and also so much more difficult than I could have ever expected. Yes, I realize that those are conflicting ideas, however, I'm sure that at the risk of sounding condescending to people who aren't parents, the parents reading this will "get it".

Here's the thing: what we expect about life is rarely what we get. But if you look for it, you'll find so much more is given to you. You might not have planned on wearing a hoodie and jeans, a pair of boots with camo on them and a hot mess of a ponytail to a Pizza Hut in Paw Paw, Michigan five days before your thirtieth birthday and writing a blog entry about expectation. But if you did do this, you'd have realized that the amazing thing about THIRTY is that, in my case at least, it comes with perspective and joy in all you've done. By society's standards, by my parent's standards, by my peers' standards, I may not be traditionally "successful". But, by MY standards, I'm farther ahead than I ever, ever imagined I would be at THIRTY. I have things that no career, degree, or amount of money can't buy. I am comfortable in my own skin and I know the purest type of love, and that, to me, is success, and all I ever want to expect out of life.


J.C. Hanks said...

Don't worry about others expectations. I'm a few decades ahead of you, but if I have a roof over my head, food on the table and a serviceable vehicle, I consider myself a success. Just don't ask me about comma rules, I have yet to learn them despite my high school and college teachers' best efforts.

Carissa's Musings said...

I turned 30 the week we buried our son,I don't remember what I expected except to make it to the next day. I'm in the same boat as JC, just find your own music and dance to it.

Lynn Doezema said...

I agree! Do away with others (and your own) expectations. I'm the opposite- I pursued higher education, but I do not have any biological children yet. Despite others and my own (past) expectations to have kids by age 31, I love where I'm at in life! Just where I'm supposed to be.