My 30th birthday is this week and its cool. Like, I’m not freaking out at all. I guess that’s because I’ve had at least 3 major freak-outs in my 20’s.
What you must know about me is, I’m a planner. By the time I graduated from high school at the age of 17, I had my life planned up until this moment. I would graduate with a Bachelors of Science at 22, join the Air Force, and own some stuff, you know like: a house a couple of cars; maybe get married by 30 and have a kid or two by 35. It was a sensible plan. However, life happened during the course of my 20’s that resulted in freak-outs.
The first one was at age 23. I was still in college with no graduation date in sight, without a car (my car was totaled in an accident months before). Of course, I couldn’t afford car insurance at the time and I still had a year or two left to pay on the car note. To top it off, I was having a hard time getting a full-time job. Overall, I was stressed out and depressed. Get more details here.
It took a complete stranger to point out how blessed I really was. It was true, I didn’t have all the material things that I thought I would have by the age of 23, but I was healthy and in a loving marriage. There’s nothing like having a partner through the GOOD and BAD times… I love me some him!
At 25, I took a leap of faith and resigned from my job as a community manager at a national non-profit organization. Without getting into all the details, I was underpaid and under-appreciated. I know its not a big deal to some but the environment was becoming too stressful and hostile for me to continue. It was beginning to affect my physical health in addition to my emotional health. Even after all that, I was very disappointed to let it go. I was there just under 2 years and promoted several times within that time.
Unemployed and still trying to finish my degree, I decided to get serious about starting my own business. I found myself as an “accidental entrepreneur”. I was optimistic about having a flexible schedule, being my own boss and things were good. Initially, I got my first and only, $10,000 six-month contract. But after that, contracts were far and few between; definitely not $10,000.
An overwhelming feeling of sadness and anxiety came over me. It was getting hard to do simple things like cook dinner, nearly causing a panic attack just thinking about, what’s for dinner? Emotionally, I was in bad shape. I’m sure I had a few freak-outs that year.
I found out I was pregnant at age 26. Although, I had been married for almost 6 years at the time, I still felt alone. I didn’t handle the news the way some thought I should. My mom couldn’t understand why I was so sad. Honestly, I just felt like my life was over. People always say, make sure you accomplish things and travel before you have kids. I hadn’t done any of those things. I went into mourning over my yet-to-do list.
I continued to have a couple of freak-outs once I had my son at age 27. Motherhood has a way of pushing you out of your comfort zone. We had a difficult delivery and then he was in NICU for almost a full week. I could never fully describe the feeling of grief you experience when leaving the hospital without your baby. I share some of my experiences as a new mother on my site: Boxer and the Baby.
By 29, I was a little more settled. I learned how to count my blessings instead of the unchecked items on my to-do list. I finally learned that as long as I’m still here, I have time to check stuff off my to-do list. Life has a way of positioning you into your purpose, if you let it.
30 is still very young. I know for myself, I’m now coming into my own. It has taken me almost the whole decade of my 20’s to find the peace within myself. I’m sure this is just the beginning and that I have a very long way to go.