guys, tomorrow is my birthday. it's officially the start of a new decade for me. that's right, I am turning 30. the big 3-0, the dirty thirty, whatever you want to call it. the older I get, the less age seems to matter. but this number feels pretty big.
birthdays and major holidays always make me introspective. so I started assembling a lovely list of thoughts for you as I mentally culled through the past years of my life. I started this post about a month ago. the first draft started off "so I'm turning 30 in 30 days..." it went through many incarnations and morphed from advice column to memoir to personal manifesto.
this morning I woke up and knew I couldn't post any of what I had previously written. not that it was disingenuous or not applicable to turning 30 - but it just didn't feel right. I've been wavering between terror and excitement about this birthday. there are moments when I feel so ready to take on this next year, this next decade... and then there are moments I am plagued by that eternal birthday question:
am I old?
a few weeks ago, when I was all about this birthday thing, I was filling out this month's calendar on our chalkboard wall and wrote on the 30th: Jamie is old. jokingly. poking fun at myself and the general disdain that most people seem to have for this particular birthday.
this morning it didn't seem funny.
but the words triggered something in my brain. old. there was something I was supposed to remember, with that word. something having to do with birthdays. oh yes...
last summer while I was back in Michigan, my Dad was pulling out old photos and journals that had belonged to my Grandma Austin. and pasted into the front of one of her daily journals was a little poem - from who knows where - but I had taken a picture of it.
HOW OLD IS OLD
age is a quality of mind.
if your dreams you've left behind
if hope is cold
if you no longer look ahead
if your ambition's fires are dead
then you are old.
but if from life you take the best
and if in life you keep the zest
if love you hold
no matter how the years go by
no matter how the birthdays fly -
you are not old.
[thanks, Grandma, I needed that one today.]
it's a little corny and maybe cliche, but sometimes those things are the most true. is my life still zesty? me and my yellow polka dot pants would like to think so.
I've already spent time adjusting to the idea that I don't have the things you are "supposed to" at this age: a house, kids, car payments, a stable job. we kindof derailed our track to the American Dream when we moved to Taiwan. and I'm ok with that. last year on my birthday I wrote about finally figuring out that life is never figured out. so I guess... there's not really much freaking out over this birthday left to do.
it has been a strange week. I went to the dentist. I strongly dislike going to the dentist, but the one we found here is really nice and extra gentle with my scaredy-cat mouth. [plus it only costs $5 US for the appointment.] we had the annual Taiwan-wide air raid drill, which always puts me a little on edge. I even had a #bloggerfail when something I meant to publish this weekend didn't, then once it did yesterday I changed my mind and pulled it down.
but we've been celebrating, too. I got my hair cut. Husband has been spoiling me with gluten free baked goods, new shoes and a bag of goodies from Lush. my neighbor brought down cookies for me [which I may have finished this morning for breakfast.] and tomorrow our birthday plans are hunting for a new apartment in Taipei, followed by an indulgent dinner with friends.
what comes after that? what does life look like at 30? well, unfortunately on friday I have to get a cavity filled. but beyond that... I'm excited for what this next year will bring. planning travels, seeing loved ones, making new friends, moving and settling into life in Taipei.
what else do I want from this year? from this next decade? though I often have trouble deciding what I want, I think I have a few things figured out:
I want less stuff and more experiences.
I want to be a published author, even if my mom is the only one who buys my book.
I want to care less about how my hair looks in pictures.
I want to explore so much more of this big, beautiful world.
I want to always remember that I am the one who has the power to create the life I want to live.
and... I want to be zesty.