On Turning Thirty

In the past week or so, I have been nesting. Not just your I-want-to-straighten-up-a-bit-before-baby-comes type attitude, but full-on everything-must-be-organized nesting, to the point where I made a trip to K-Mart yesterday to buy under-the-bed storage bins for sweaters that have been haphazardly piled on the top shelf of my closet since we moved into this house three years ago. My husband may or may not find this somewhat amusing, but he indulges me, which is good. Women who are 8.5 months pregnant appreciate being indulged. (Then again, I suppose all women – scratch that, all people – appreciate being indulged, to some extent).

Add to this the general busyness of preparing for a baby, of attending childbirth classes, of wrapping up tasks at work, of making a quick getaway to the coast (so that we would be away from home during our daughter’s first birthday, and also as a bit of a “baby-moon” – more on that later, perhaps), of remodeling our kitchen (because we didn’t have enough to do), and of battling the exhaustion that comes during the third trimester, and I simply have not made the time to write.

Today, however, marks a momentous occasion, a turning point, if you will, and so I’m taking a brief break from my sorting and washing and cleaning to peck out a few words of reflection.

Today, you see, is the last day of my twenties.

I feel a touch nostalgic just typing that. Though it’s just another day, really, the turning of a decade seems like an important milestone. I will admit: thirty used to seem old, and in some ways, it still does. After all, by the time you hit thirty, you’re a real, live, honest-to-goodness adult, supposedly with your path defined and your life in order. You’re no longer “young” (though in many ways, I still feel like a kid). You’re expected to have accomplished things, to have made something of yourself. Thirty-somethings have careers, and bills, and responsibilities, and (many times) kids.

It’s tempting to compare myself to other thirty-year-olds – to those I see in the news, or even those around town. Every now and then, there are lists of young entrepreneurs in the business magazines Jonathan reads – men and women in their teens and twenties who have built multi-million dollar companies, who saw a market and took the initiative and are impressively successful by the world’s standards. There are the authors and musicians and artists, geniuses in their fields, who make their mark well before they start their fourth decade. Or the bloggers younger than I who have multiple thousands of readers and book contracts. Or, when I’m feeling more altruistic and less worldly, there are those who have started non-profits, who have led revolutions, who have inspired people to give and to love and to serve. In my low moments, I realize I have done none of these things, and I wonder if I am wasting my life.

But those are only my low moments. For at other times, I remember this: in the past thirty years (minus one day), I have loved, and been loved. I have grown and learned and matured. I have wrestled with God, asked hard questions, dug down deep to make this faith my own. I have found the man I will spend the rest of my life loving, and I have built a good life with him. I have given and received. I have made good, real, lasting friendships. I have had triumphs and failures, joys and sorrows, dreams and disappointments. I have worked to learn what it means to love mercy, to act justly, and to walk humbly with my God. And, lest I begin to think too highly of myself, I have come to the full realization that I have a long way to go, that anything I have accomplished has only been by the grace of God.

In short, I have lived – really lived. And in the end, when it all comes down to it, what more can I really ask of myself?

I suppose turning thirty is not such a bad thing after all.

This Thing Called Life

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One Response to On Turning Thirty

  1. Jenn. Again, thank you for your words of wisdom that come from our Father. Every time they seem to hit a cord with me at just the right time when I need them. At times when life seems so hard and so confusing. You have accomplished many great things. We never stop learning, never stop growing, never stop being loved by Him and never stop being wanted by Him. Please keep writing!

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