Yesterday I turned 30. Usually for “big” birthdays I have some sort of crisis. When I turned 20 I was upset at the end of the teen years, and that was I “officially” growing up. It was time to be an adult. Now at 30, I find myself less upset, and less emotional about it all. I’ve been joking about how awful it is to be done my 20’s, but as the celebrations went on I found myself at peace more than anything. My 20’s were a wild ride. I went through some real hard times – unemployment, debt, loss, and heartbreak. But I also experienced some incredible highs. And right now, I am happy.
When I was younger I had a few concrete goals I wanted to achieve before I turned 30. I wanted to have had my kids, and to have completely paid off my student loan. Neither of those things have been happened. In fact, many of the things I expected to have achieved by 30 haven’t been. I am not married. I don’t own my own house. I still don’t drive. I have zero pets. I live in a basement. However I am not worrying about this. But the funny thing is that part of my anxiety is tied to the fact that some of these things haven’t happened yet.
I do worry that when I do eventually get married that I will receive the horrible news that I have terminal cancer. Or that if I do finally start to try to have kids I will be told I waited too long and that I can’t conceive. It’s all down to the fear that one day my happiness will be ripped away from me. That I took too long and didn’t do things properly. That I will be stuck in the ground while everyone around me gets to keep on going. I don’t like the idea of missing out on things, I never have. As a baby I never napped because I wanted to be around everyone all day! So the idea that perhaps I’ve screwed things up and won’t achieve these goals usually gives me horrible bouts of anxiety. But not this week. This week I have felt nothing but happiness and love. This week I was reminded why it’s so important to live in the moment and cherish the people you are with now. You can’t fear the future when you are enjoying today.
But back to those life goals. Whose life really does turn out exactly like they expected? For us anxiety sufferers this can be hard to accept. We picture the future, worry about that future, fear that future, and obsess about it. Turning 30 has taught me that it’s OK to be in a different spot than you hoped you’d be. Just because you picture things one way, doesn’t mean you won’t be happy if they turn out completely differently than you expected. You have to find appreciation for the good in your life right now.
Yes, I still have my student loan. But it’s nearly done. It will be paid off by the time I toast the beginnings of 2016 and that still ain’t half bad. No, I am not married. (And no, this isn’t a massive hint to Sean!) But I am in a great relationship right now, and excited to see what the future holds! No, I don’t have kids. But I am not ready for them yet, so no regrets there. No pets? I need a break from them. It was awful losing my last guinea pig in the Fall and, I hate to say it, but it’s been nice not having to worry about a pet sitter all the time. No, my life isn’t exactly where I thought it would be. But that doesn’t take anything away from the things I have achieved, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I have had. I am still incredibly proud, and happy.
And this is where I hear that tiny little voice, deep down inside of me say “what goes up must come down”. It’s times when I am most happy I can often find myself battling my thoughts the most as I try to quell fears. And that is the saddest thing about anxiety. It robs your happiness from you. So I am trying. I am really trying to hold onto this happiness. Because anxiety doesn’t deserve to steal my thirties from me. I deserve my thirties! Keeping that little voice at bay is my mission. Bad things will happen in my life. Bad things will happen this year. But my life will go on, and I will face these challenges with strength and support. I will stumble, maybe I will even fall. But you don’t get to thirty without a few scrapes. I have to continue to learn to accept those moments as just part of my unexpected journey. My life is in a great place, time for me to lace up and embrace it.
Thank you for reading as always. Please follow me on Twitter if you want more ramblings: @TeslaMay