Today, I turn 30.
I'm saying goodbye to 20 - a transformative, beautiful, hard, scary, painful, joyful decade. If you had told me at 21, when I started this blog while sitting in the intern room at Atlanta magazine, that I would carry it through the rest of the decade, transforming it as I grew up, making internet friends and learning so much from the hard and beautiful parts of sharing your life online with others, I am not sure I would have believed it.
I thought about reflecting on my 20s today, but then I realized that this blog is really just that. It's a journey of what happens when a 21-year-old turns into a 30-year-old while sharing a lot of it online. I am so grateful to many, many of you who have stuck by me through this process.
These days, as I begin to work with more and more 20-somethings, with the hope of guiding them through a decade that can be hard, but so very beautiful, I find myself yearning to champion them, just as you all did for me.
In 2012, right after I turned 26, I drafted an email to myself with 2013 goals. I was at one of my lower points in my 20s - unsure as to why so many of my friends had found husbands, careers they loved and seemed to have it so much more together than me. Unsure as to why I felt like I was hustling so hard and not really getting anywhere.
As one of my three goals for 2013, I wanted to be engaged to or dating my husband by the end of the year. I smile now as I read that email. Who was I to think I could control that? :) It also hurts my heart a little bit as I read it, knowing how frustrated I felt at the time. Knowing how lonely I felt.
I'd like to think that now, at 30, I know better than to think I can predict what a year or decade will hold. Sometimes, maybe I do. Sometimes, I probably still think I can control it.
But, alas, here is what I hope 30 could hold for me:
1. I hope we create a slower life.
We've only just begun exploring the idea of slowing down - from reducing commitments and travel, to spending more time alone, we're trying it out from a lot of angles. We're making more room for play, which I think will be a helpful habit to learn for when we start a family and life is even more hectic.
My 20s were marked by a lot of hustling. From being constantly overly committed, to struggling with perfectionism and trying to please everyone around me, I was often doing a little jig trying to manage it all. As I enter this new decade, I find myself saying: This is who I am and this is the best I can do. I hope we stretch this attitude across the furthest planes of our lives.
2. I hope we put down roots.
Chris and I are pretty open about the fact that we don't see ourselves in Atlanta longterm. Are we against it? Not really. But we also don't feel called to stay for the long haul.
I hope this decade reveals to us where we'll be putting down roots. And then, I hope we cultivate community. I hope we meet our neighbors, join bible studies, get involved in our town and grow deep friendships. Atlanta has brought us beautiful friendships and I hope we carry them with us, too, reminding us constantly of what this decade held.
We've spent a lot of time saying well, we don't know how long we'll be here. In a way, I think this has kept me from going all in. There was a constant feeling of we could leave tomorrow if we really wanted to. I think this allows us to keep from being vulnerable to a place. Admitting that you're going all in on a city, hoping to develop real relationships and pour into it can be scary. I hope we're brave enough to figure out where we'll be and go all in.
3. I hope we start a family.
I don't know when and I don't know how many babies we will get to have. But I hope my 30s mean me holding some little Saxon babes in my arms.
4. I hope we seek adventure and take risks.
Recently, we've spent a lot of time defining what adventure means for us. It's quitting my job. It could be a move to a new town. It could be staying. It could be another trip to Uganda. There is bravery is so many different scenarios - I hope we pursue these adventures whole heartedly, unafraid to take some risks.
5. I hope we turn toward one another & pursue the Lord.
Most of all, I hope we grow deeper in our love for each other and pursue the Lord whole heartedly. I hope we are unafraid and unwavering.
So, that's just a little bit of what I hope this new decade brings. And now? It's time to go eat some cake. But mostly ice cream :)