Here's an ugly confession: I'm a serious birthday goal-setter. As in: I spent my last birthday not with cake, but with goals and lists and life planning.
It is probably just a disease I have. Type A kid with a birthday... sits in the corner making spreadsheets.
But I can't help it: There's a thrill in getting a new number, in surveying the next twelve months, in wondering what's coming up next. It's like a spring cleaning for the mind and heart. A detox plan for all my habits and routines.
And I LOVE IT. Not about to give it up.
So... tomorrow morning, I turn thirty. WHAT IS THAT ABOUT.
This isn't just a run-of-the-mill, another year of twentysomethingness kind of birthday. This is a milestone. A new number in my tens column! Kind of a big deal.
I'm probably going to lose my mind somewhat tomorrow. In spite of my best intentions. It's gonna be a life planning frenzy.
For past birthdays, I always wanted to rehash what it was I wanted to do. Habits to introduce, ways to mold my days into a better shape. I work from home, for myself, and so I'm my own boss as well. Which means: all the cards go on the table. What do I want to do as a writer, an artist, a friend, a crafty person, a musician, a learner, an explorer, a sister, an aunt, a daughter, a citizen??
I make big lists, y'all. And then changes happen. Usually subtle ones. I've learned (the hard way) that aiming for gradual change is best. Small corrections add up. Little adjustments actually do change your overall course.
For turning thirty, though, I have a slightly different focus.
Instead of adding new habits and goals and hopes, I'm a lot more interested in stripping away. Detox the habits. Purge the schedule.
I want to get down to the essential me. To what I know I've been designed to do. To throw out the time wasting habits that I'm not really proud of, to dump the clutter that's collected in the corners of my writing process and office space.
What do I want to bring into this new decade? What do I want to stop doing and thinking?
My journal and I will explore this a lot more tomorrow, but I already know what's at the top of the list: comparison.
I have such a long, long envy list. Because I had plans about what my twenties would look like. Plans that involved things outside of my control. And a lot of that stuff? Didn't so much come true. Turning thirty closes the deal: I'm not where I thought I would be at age thirty.
But you know what? I am beyond sick of carting that list around.
Of seeing where my dreams would place me, and comparing it to where I've actually landed. I'm tired of apologizing to myself for not getting everything I thought I wanted by now. For not being super culturally acceptable for my age group. (Married! kids! pets! salary! house!)
I'm turning thirty. And I'm done with comparing. Because frankly, it's exhausting. It never helps. And I'm more and more convinced that comparisons are driven by lies.
And I'm too old for that crap.
So I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. I'm going to detox my thirty-year-old mindsets. And step out tomorrow morning to seize a new year.
For that bit of boldness, this fantastic quote:
That sounds like a really good trade off. Goodbye falsity. Hello truth.
Have some cake with me tomorrow. Join me in a bit of a confetti toss. But more than that, let's get rid of these lies that would hold us back, and pinion us to some preconceived idea of what-should-have-been.
Let's brave the strangeness of changing a habit of the mind. And then let's go on the adventure and revel in the delight of believing what is true.
It is always strange and painful to have to change a habit of mind; though when we have made the effort, we may find a great relief, even a sense of adventure and delight, in getting rid of the false and returning to the true. -- Dorothy Sayers