Another Trip Around the Sun

I didn’t stumble upon India. I’m here by design. Perhaps it’s cliche and a touch eatpraylove-esque, but being in India and doing some yoga to ring in my fourth decade felt right.

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During the long and increasingly concerning lead up to my birthday I’ve been working to reconcile what turning thirty means to me. The standard narrative suggests that turning thirty is when the fun stops, hangovers intensify and your ovaries shrivel into craisins. Thirty-year-old people should have clear, actionable plans in place both professionally (corner office and early retirement) and personally (husband, two kids, mortgage-free house in the burbs, quarterly 5-day escape to Sandals in the Bahamas, or maybe get buck-fucking-wild and try the Dominican.) I suppose it’s also worth noting that Birthday Resistors exist too. But Verity, everyone knows 30 is the new 20, just with more money!

It’s safe to say that when it comes down to it the general consensus is 30 = shit gets serious. You’re finally old enough to know better.

So, I’ve decided to approach this milestone with the same cynical, questioning spirit I adopt when I am figuring out how to think about something new. What are the facts? How can I use logic to understand this? What are my biases? Does it involve cheese?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the number of years someone has been alive is completely arbitrary, save health implications. In my experience, wisdom, perspective and depth of character don’t always come with age. Take Malala Yousefzai is 18 (but started writing about women’s access to education in Pakistan at 11), and Donald Trump clocks in at 69, for example.

However! As someone who has never meaningfully celebrated a birthday (but like omg, shuffle along sweet baby Jesus, December is my birthday month!), it didn’t feel right to let this one pass without at the very least some modest reflection.

When I think about my twenties, I feel deeply conflicted. On one hand, I’ve been fortunate enough to see more of the world than most, develop a strong professional resume and have rich, meaningful relationships with friends and family. On the other hand, I was plagued with lingering thoughts of inadequacy, insecurity and self-doubt. I never felt like I was enough.

Verity V 30.0

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Verity V 5.0

Over the past few weeks I’ve collected a list of hopes for my future self to bring into my next decade. The tally was high, but some obvious themes emerged that I grouped into a few simple concepts.

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Be true to yourself.

  • Use your voice! Say what you think without fear of judgment. Value your own point of view and be open and honest about it. Speak your mind even if it’s unpopular. Be comfortable with differences of opinion. Do not seek external validation. Be bold!

Surround yourself with positivity.

  • Embrace what makes you happy and limit what doesn’t! Surround yourself with positive people, ideas and stimuli.

Respect your body.

  • Treat your body with love and tenderness. Listen to how it feels and honor its wishes. Seek challenge through fitness in healthy ways, for the right reasons. Choose vegan options when possible. Celebrate your femininity and strength.

Embrace community.

  • Enrich the lives of those around you in meaningful ways. Live closer to the land. Be supportive and loving to friends and family. Openly embrace new people and ideas.

Bonus: Always maintain perky tits for someone my age, or the financial means to purchase them.

Looking ahead

My hopes for my future self aren’t specific to career, lifestyle choices or relationships because I believe that if I am true to myself, surrounded by positivity, respect for my body and an engaged community, the rest will fall into place.

I’m fortunate to have an incredible jumping off point to propel me with gusto and ambition into my thirties. Branching into more self-directed, meaningful work is a welcome challenge. Building shared experiences with my family gives me grounding and purpose. Embracing unconditional, tender, transcendent love with Joey keeps my heart overflowing and sense of life’s possibilities boundless.

Taking time to reflect on where I’ve been, where I’m at and where I hope to go while slowly rocking side-to-side in a hammock on a picturesque beach in Goa has been an incredible gift. I feel refreshed, full of purpose and contentment.

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My final promise to myself is to continue leading an examined life. I don’t need a birthday milestone or a few weeks of self-indulgent yoga overlooking the Arabian Sea to stop and check-in. I want to live a life of self-discovery, improvement and fulfillment.

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Kilimanjaro selfie. Goodbye 29!

Bring on 30, bitches!

BRB just doing things for a bit k?

x V

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7 Comments

  1. Semira has pointed out your very entertaining writing, congrats on being so clever, it suits you very well!
    One piece of experience I always share with friends fortunate enough to be younger than me when the milestone conversation comes up: turning thirty is almost never as big a deal as initially anticipated, as it seems you’ve experienced. The truth is, you get hyped up for this milestone, you do some sort of self reflection, usually you mark the occasion somehow. Then on the day of your thirtieth birthday you say to yourself, this isn’t so bad. You are literally one day removed from your twenties at this point. My advice is be prepared for turning 31. On that birthday if you’re not prepared for it it kind of slaps you in the face and you realize oh my god my twenties are gone. If you’re prepared for it then it’s just as great as your 30th birthday. In any case I’m sitting here with Semira and she says the thirties are way better than your twenties anyways so enjoy. Also, miss you!
    SK2

  2. I agree with KK, except for number 1. For me – 30 was when I started to become me,not what someone else wanted me to be; 40 was amazing; 50 was hard, kids were obnoxious( but fun), money was tight (college for the obnoxious ones, energy was gone, and heartbreak was a constant (late 50’s); 60 is good (so far, personally), everything is coming together. I was always a little slow !

  3. Hi Verity,

    I hope the next 30 years are just as rewarding as the last and keep doing what you do best with a smile. No matter what that happens to be on your next (or maybe continued) adventure in life.
    Lots of love sweetie,
    Ann xoxoxoox

  4. You’ve always been an inspiration to me, your laughter is contagious!
    I can certainly echo your sentiments around turning 30 (I had a similar gut wrenching panic attack) but the truth is, the lead up and arrival is the worst part. About a week later you’ve completely forgotten all about it and just go on living life.

    So on that note, keep on living it up like you’ve been! xoxo Love Laura

  5. Happy Birthday! Whenever I had the opportunity to meet with you and chat..remember you light up the room wherever you are..the world is privileged to have you. Remember there is a reason the rear view mirror is so small and the windshield so big…Where you are heading is so much more important then where you have been. Look out world! Travel Safe

  6. Honey, three things.
    1.) 30 is when you take stock, 40 when you check all the boxes (mortgage-free home at 30?!) 50 is when you start completing your bucket list, capice? As usual, you’re ahead of your time.
    2.) you’ve always been true to yourself, at least from my abbreviated time with you. It’s that authenticity from which our friendship was formed, even when both of us felt professionally impotent and creatively stymied.
    3.) as you broaden your horizons, please do think about pursuing a career where you can share your beautiful writing. Or, damn girl, just write a fucking book.

    Godspeed, my friend.

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