I'm 30...!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

I turned 30 years old on Saturday. The day was so wonderful, and I'm excited for this milestone to be here. I've been ready for it, and I'm excited for my 30s. But in the spirit of transparency, for a brief couple of weeks I was very not ready for it. At a brewery in Maine last month I suddenly freaked out — did we take our 20s too seriously? Is it too late to live our dream of living abroad? What if we have kids? Is it too late to have kids? Is it time to have kids? What's going on with my career? Are we saving enough money? Is 30 middle-aged? What's life expectancy these days, anyway? I held on to 29 tightly, but when Saturday arrived, I was ready to let it go.

My 20s were truly transformative, and over dinner on Friday, I decided the word that summarizes those 10 years best is growth. My college-sophomore self seems so distant. I've learned who I am, how I work, how I think, what I need and what fulfills me. I've strengthened my education, my career, my relationships and focused on the good in my life. During the past 10 years I met mentors, friends and strangers that have become family who have shaped me. I lived in a handful of different apartments with a handful of different people. I fell in love, out of love and in love again. I worked a few jobs —  some simply to make money (not that being a camp counselor for 12 hours a day, for approximately $3 an hour, wasn't a dream), some as part of my life-long goal to pursue journalism, and some after I realized the rumors are true, the journalism industry is in fact not in its best shape, but there's a spot for me, a spot I like being in, in the corporate world. I started and grew my freelance business. I got married. I traveled to dozens of states and countries. I bought an apartment.

But alongside so many blissful events, many moments put my heart in a blender. I buried myself under the covers countless times. I cried (a lot). I grew so much, and while I was stretched thin at times, it was such a beautiful 10 years. I experienced a lot, and I'm grateful for every bit of it.

With my head and heart scattered all over the place, I decided the word that I'll go into my 30s with is focus. It'll be about the little things (less multitasking, less phone, better listening) that actually aren't that little at all, but also the big things — treating my freelance work more like a real business, putting more of myself into the relationships that matter and not carrying the load of those that don't, seeking more mentors in my career, growing more professionally, investing every bit of myself in family. I did these things in my 20s, but I just checked the boxes. I need to take inventory of everything that takes my time and energy, and focus on what matters most and how to excel at it from there.

This past weekend was the perfect introduction to all of that. It was full of so much love, and I kept reminding myself to savor it. On Friday, Brian and I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Le Colonial, for dinner. We sat on the patio and had the best chocolate cake of our lives.

I came home to a big surprise —  my best friend Lily had flown in from Atlanta! I had a hunch she might be coming, but after seeing how relaxed Brian was during our three-hour dinner (and he offered to go somewhere else for a drink after!), I figured she must not be. She totally scared me when she showed up as I was hauling packages up the stairs.

On Saturday Brian threw me a big birthday bash with some of our best Chicago friends (he also made me the sweetest basket with everything I love, and I've been smiling at its contents every day since). I've never been one for a birthday party —  growing up, either my friends were out of town or I was, and I was too anxious to host something that perhaps no one would come to — but this was such a fun day. We ate and drank and chatted (and eventually danced and sang) on our patio for hours, and I felt so, so loved.

On Sunday we spent the day relaxing with Lily before her flight. We ate pizza and donuts, walked to the lily pool and beach. It was such a nice cap to the weekend, and as always, it left me wishing she lived here.

Thank you so much for helping me celebrate, friends! And to Brian for putting this together! I felt very loved, and it made my week getting to see so many of my friends.

So, 30! Here we are. Let's do this!


  1. Happy belated birthday, Ladan! I'm two years in, and the thirties are proving to be amazing so far. Welcome!

    1. Thanks so much, Charlotte! <3 Happy to be here ;)

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