Saturday, July 27, 2019

Goodbye, Twenties: A 30th Birthday Reflection

And then, just like that, my twenties were over. I am a naturally reflective person by nature, nostalgic to a fault. My heart warms at fond memories and my husband is always amazed by the minute details I can suddenly conjure from the past, so specific that I'm nearly back in those very moments. Last year I wrote a birthday reflection on year 28, looking specifically at the year and all the iced coffee, chiropractor visits, and running goals that it brought. But now I feel the almost weightier task of reflecting upon an entire decade. The twenties: a time of so much unknown, so many major life decisions, such huge life events. A time of figuring out who you are, who you want to be, and who you want to share all of your days with. At 19, thirty seemed so far away- so old, so mature. And then I blinked, and here I am, starting my age with a new digit, new dreams, and a new outlook on life.

I entered my twenties as a single sorority girl, YoungLife leader, and English Education student at Mizzou. I had my eyes set on graduating college, finding my first "big girl job", and hopefully finding a nice young boy who loved Jesus and would chase Him right alongside me. I was right in the middle of an incredible community of folks my same age- something I definitely took for granted, but didn't realize until I was an adult out in the work world struggling to find the same type of deep and equally reciprocated friendships. I often wrestled with the lack of dating interest from guys in my college circles, but I see now that the time alone as just me was a gift: a pause to figure out my faith, who I was, and where I wanted to go without depending on someone else.

Now, I leave my twenties as a nearly nine year teaching veteran, a wife of six years, a home owner of six years, and a mom of one sweet baby boy with another kiddo on the way. Along the way, I fell in love, got engaged, got married, traveled the world, learned a lot, changed a lot, bought a house, bought a car, grew a baby, birthed a baby, jumped into the working mom world, coached some kiddos, started a blog, worked some side hustles, and jumped into a really big dream I alluded to in my recent post The Edge Pieces. There have been many ups and downs along the way, but I truly believe that I'm right where I'm supposed to be, and that I wouldn't be here without the hills and valleys I climbed to get here. And I can't wait for what's next.

If I could say one thing to a 20 year old, it would be this: there is so much good ahead. You will find way more joy than you ever thought possible in the sweet snuggles of a snoring baby on your chest, a simple evening home laughing around pepperoni pizza, and the soft murmurs of intentional conversation with those who really "get you". When gray hairs start to appear and laugh lines suddenly show up, you'll be less worried about your appearance and more grateful for the joyful moments that you've seen each and every day you've aged. You'll care less about the "popular" crowd and scene and more about just carving out and protecting precious time blowing bubbles with your not-so-little boy or sharing prayer requests with your best girls over brownie sundaes. You will look back on your twenties and you honestly will. not. miss. them. Because (for the most part, Lord-willing) you're still young, still healthy, still have amazing parents who are healthy and even better grandparents, and there is much too much life ahead for you to look back with sadness, longing for what came before.

I'm realizing more and more that aging is a gift, and that many would love to be able to see their loved ones hit 30. It is a number, not a definition or quality of life. It does not mean that I have to become old and decrepit, and it certainly doesn't mean I have to fully "grow up", because I'm not sure I can ever sign up for that. Instead, it means that a new era lies ahead: one where I get to watch my babies grow up, both marvel and hurt as they gradually need me less, chase after my dreams fully and more capably, grow older and more deeply in love with my husband, and not worry one bit about what others think or what the world says I should or shouldn't do. Aging may mean that I should probably schedule an eye exam or hearing test, and the gray hairs are coming in hot these days, but hey, that’s part of life. There are so many perks that come along with it.

So cheers to you, 30. I think you're going to be the best decade yet, and I'm excited for all that lies ahead! I'm so thankful for the amazing friends and family who have loved me for all or part of my first thirty years, and I'm ready for the next thirty to really knock my socks off. Goodbye, twenties. Hello, thirties! Let's do this thing.



  1. girl yes yes yes- life is to short to fear ANYTHING and to just GO FOR IT. That's what I def learned too in my 20's and now just shy of 3 years into my 30's it's not that scary ha. I actually just wrote a reflection of the past year and it was my BEST yet!

  2. ahh happy birthday!! i just turned 30 too!! i think it's going to be the best decade yet too!

  3. Happiest of birthdays! Isn’t it incredible how much changed during your twenties?! I have a feeling the next few years will be as eventful.

  4. Happy birthday! I just turned 30 as well and i absolutely love this post! May each year be better than the last!

  5. As someone who isn't even 23 yet, turning 30 seems terrifying. I've always thought ageing was what scared me, but I'm starting to realise it's more the fact that time is passing and I'm not sure I am spending it the best way I can, and that's scary, as we really don't know how much time we have. I hope by the time I'm 30 I am less concerned with numbers, and more content with my own life that I'm too busy enjoying it to worry about it slipping away.

  6. This was such a nice read, Kelsie! I found myself smiling while reading through your post. It's amazing to read about the changes that happened in your twenties! I'm so happy for you :)

  7. I'm right in the middle of my twenties and haven't really thought about being 30 yet! I'm not super concerned with the number, but rather just living my life to the fullest and chasing my dreams! I'm also super reflective by nature so I'll probably have a post like this in five years if I'm still blogging then.

  8. Welcome to the 3rd floor! It only gets better.For real :-)

  9. Very nicely recapped. It sounds like you had the very normal experience of discovering who you are, along with brief bouts of confusion punctuated by joy!! I'm in my 30s and life is SO good. I bet it will be for you too.


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