I went out with friends a few months ago wearing a pair of high heel shoes that I've worn several times without a problem, but this time I had to secretly slip them off under the table to give my feet a break. My feet and legs were killing me so much that I tried to stand in one spot all night to avoid walking around, and the next day I obsessed over my inflamed pinkie toes as I swore to JESUS that I'd never wear anything but a practical shoe ever again. I was so upset, and I blamed it all on turning thirty.
I was given a big bag of scrap fabric and as I sorted through each piece, I excitedly put aside what I knew would make cute tablecloths with matching oven mitts and pot holders. I looked forward to spending the following Saturday at my sewing machine and may or may not have hoped that my husband would have plans of his own so I could be free of distractions. In that moment there was no denying that times have changed and I was in fact, turning thirty.
When I came to the realization that weekends without commitments are my favorite kind of weekends, I can no longer shop at Forever 21, and if it doesn't have SPF I'm not buying it - I knew I was turning thirty. When it dawned on me just how much I love waking up without a hangover so I can drink coffee and plan a productive day - I knew I was turning thirty. When I admitted out loud that I'd rather get a tan from working around the yard and that I'd much rather have a drink during the day so I can still get to bed at a decent hour - I knew I was turning thirty. When watching Jeopardy with a cup of tea and a blanket over my lap became an anticipated part of my weeknight routine, and when it became crucial that my friends and I compared work schedules in order to find time to hang out - I knew I was turning thirty.
And of course, there was no denying it the day I bought my first pair of waist shaping underwear.
But now I am thirty.
And, I'm cool with it.
I took those ridiculous underwear off the first night I wore them. Rolled them up and stuffed them in my purse, took a deep breath and returned to the party where I could finally relax and enjoy myself. I didn't need those underwear or anything or anyone to make me feel good about myself. I am no longer an insecure woman who worries if she looks okay in a crowd or if someone already saw her out in that dress. I am no longer an insecure woman who spends her alone time anxiety ridden, wondering what she is missing or if anyone is missing her. I turned thirty with a long list of things I love about myself and things that I am passionate about; things that make me love to be alone like writing, reading, sewing, cooking, listening to music or simply getting lost in the peace and quiet of our home. I even love my body. I love to treat myself with bubble-baths and face masks and hair treatments and exercise. I love that I know my strengths and weaknesses and that I'm never apologetic for how I feel or what I want, even if it's extra cheese or gravy on the side or crushed Doritos on my salad.
The thing I love most about myself at thirty is that I can list all those things before listing the man I share my life with. I've learned to love myself first, which makes loving someone else and being loved that much better. I love that I'm not the same woman I was years ago, and the woman I have become is a woman I really like.