Here is How I Feel About Turning 30

The older women get, the happier they seem. And I am capital “E” excited to get my 30 on.

I recently read an article that got me excited for my birthday. I always get excited for my birthday because who doesn’t adore some happy birthday attention?

Really though, birthdays are the ultimate mile marker of who you are from your last birthday, allowing you to evaluate your accomplishments, micro in on the struggles you endured, and acknowledge you are responsible for how your life progressed — or didn’t progress — in the last year.

Birthdays force you to reflect on the previous year of what you are proud of and what you can improve on, posing the foreboding question: How can you be proactive about making your life more…your life?

You Shouldn’t Have To Sacrifice Who You Are Just Because Somebody Else Has A Problem With It

I remember watching an interview with Julia Roberts awhile back being in awe of her very obvious self-assuredness. Her posture. Her tactfulness. Her cool, coy responses to hard-hitting questions made me feel nothing but admiration of her. Surely this was more than decades of interview practice and more than developing a thick skin growing up in a harsh and competitive industry. This was years of the inevitable self-scrutiny women tolerate, vanished by the permission she gave herself to not just be okay with who she is, but to be full-on embracing celebrating who she is — and it was written all over her face.

This made me think about how we, as girls who turn into women, swallow so much criticism growing up from our peers, our parents, our co-workers, and our boyfriends and girlfriends simply because we were raised in a society where other people pointing out our human flaws and differences wasn’t just tolerated — it was accepted.

As we get older, the petty things we once worried about are no longer worth our time. As we become more comfortable with the people we are — at our core — the shame and justification for previous “big deal” scenarios fades away.

For every woman leaving the “I’m not good enough” phase of life and entering the “I love me” phase of life, good for you.

This is the phase of life I’m coming into now. I can feel it. And I’m not just saying that because my tarot card reader told me I would be “entering a new phase of life soon.”

Who better to represent the 30s than our Sex and The City 30-something experts? Experts at living your best life, that is.

As Sex and The City characters continue to be the ones we turn to for life guidance and support, Carrie in particular, relates to me (and I’m certain many other soon-to-be 30-somethings) in a way no one else can.

So as we leave our rave party days behind us to look to a more satisfying time period of meaningful relationships and eye-opening life experiences, this famous scene makes my point nicely:

While sitting at a bar with Louise from St. Louis, Carrie, thanking her personal assistant for bringing her back to life, turns to her and says, “Your 20s are for enjoying yourself, your 30s are for learning the lessons from your 20s, and your 40s are to pay for the drinks.”

Simple, poetic, and self-assured.

Finding the Confidence to Pronounce Who You Are is Your Most Important Gift to the World

As I look back on birthdays spent trying to impress people with my fancy party dress and “cool life,” I’m looking forward to this next decade where I hope to impress people with my newfound wisdom and ship-shape character. If I happen to be wearing a bird behind my ear while giving that wisdom to someone in their 20s, then so be it.

One more thing to think on before I go…

Looking onward past my thirties of living and learning, comes this next phase of life which I am absolutely looking forward to and you should be too — Otherhood.

What is Otherhood?

Back to that article I read which prompted this post, “Nobody Talks About the ‘Otherhood’ Stages of Life — So I Made a Movie About It,” was an intriguing concept I found to be quite entertaining and will one day be personally relevant.

For those of you who haven’t heard, “Otherhood” is the latest Netflix series giving nod to all women in this “otherhood” stage of life — the stage women experience once their kids leave the house and they are now in a crucial identity transition which at first may be confusing and sad, but turns out to be the most amazing self transformation.

Women in this stage of life still want to take adventures and experience the wonderful things life has to offer, but they aren’t dead yet. They’re far from it, so why is there no roadmap for us to follow, and why hasn’t the film industry portrayed this very real and assumedly scary stage of life? Ever?

My first thought was, “Surprise. Another life milestone society failed to prepare us for.” My second thought was, “This is the best news ever. Getting older isn’t something to feel bad about. Getting older is badass.”

As I kept reading, it kept getting better. The series producer, Cathy Schulman, said, “The first half of my life was all about DOING things. These otherhood years are about FEELING them.” She says she is trying to show the world that the second stage in a woman’s life can and should be extraordinary, explaining that her younger years felt like she always had to find something — find a direction, find a career, find a mate.

In otherhood, the hysteria of all that is lifted.

Birthday Bliss

Keeping the transitional periods of life and insightful Carrie Bradshaw quotes in line with being excited about getting older, birthdays, too, serve multiple, positive purposes that revolve around self-reflection and hard lessons learned. They are also an excuse to throw a party with your friends.

So as I stare at my soon-to-be 30-year-old self in the mirror, here’s what I’ve got to say for myself:

Right now, I’m committing to the role of being a young and present mother, a supportive wife, and a reliable friend. I’m admitting that I still don’t know exactly where I fit in the career world. I’m accepting my inability to properly organize a kitchen and I’m freeing myself of the self-doubt that has taken over too many days of this past year due to the perceptions that other people may or may not have of me.

I’m going to enjoy the beautiful beginning of my thirties harder than I’ve enjoyed any other decade of my life. Well, enjoying “harder” in a different capacity because we all know the 20s were pretty damn fun.

Happy birthday to everyone turning the Dirty 30 with me!

Thanks for reading!

Life is better when we laugh. I write about the importance of mental health & believe our weirdness is what makes us great. https://ashleyalt.substack.com/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store