The Countdown Begins ...

Seven ...

Do you hear that? The countdown, the horrible deafening tick of the clock? Because I do. Loud and clear. Day and night.

I have officially entered the last ten days of my twenties. *sob*

Thirty is breathing down my neck, y'all. THIRTY. Three-oh.

Yep ... ten more days. I'll be turning 30 on the 30th: that's what they call a "golden birthday." It's supposed to be a good thing, but the way I'm feeling about it ain't so frickin' golden. I will no longer be able to call myself twentysomething.*

*Although I reserve the right to do so on special occasions.

I know what you're doing. Those of you who are over thirty are all, "What are you bitching about? Thirty is still young!" and those of you who are under thirty are like, "God rest your soul. Hope you're not too unhappy in the nursing home."

It's not so much the age that bothers me. It's the fact that I'm nowhere near where I - or anyone else - thought I'd be at thirty years old. See, let me give you a little background. I was super-smart as a kid (although I am living proof that dumb-assness is a disease which can totally progress with age). When I entered Kindergarten, I was already reading on an eighth grade level. I took my ACT (a college entrance exam) in the seventh grade - and scored higher on it than I did when I took it a second time in high school (Doogie Howser, y'all). And though I never applied for a single scholarship, I ended up with $17,000 a year toward my college education and a spot in an honors dorm. It's because my entire life, I was labeled The Smart One. The Golden Child. The Girl Who Was Going To DO SOMETHING PROFOUND With Her Life. It became my identity, these high hopes that everyone had for me.

But I dropped out of college to get married at 19, a year short of a Psychology degree. And now I'm an under-employed freelance writer and professional butt wiper/floor vacuumer/laundry do-er.


I think of Colin, my oldest son. How smart he is. (Not that my other two aren't smart, but they're still so little that their academic aptitude hasn't shown up all that much yet.) And I think of how secretly disappointed I'd be if his amazing, brilliant, smartypants brainpower isn't put to good use when he's an adult. I can't help but wonder if my mom is disappointed in me, just a little, maybe way down deep. She swears she isn't, but wouldn't any good mom tell her child that?

Point is, I thought I'd be either a.) a published author - like, with a book - or b.) a doctor of psychology by the time I was thirty. And I'm neither. And unless somebody from some publishing house is reading this and offers me a book deal (please please please?), I'm no closer to being either one than I was when I was 19. So yeah, it's a little depressing.

Don't get me wrong. I'm proud of my relationship (twelve and a half years and counting), my family (three beautiful, awesome sons), and my home (but call before you come over). Those are things I always wanted on my life's to-do list. I just didn't think they'd be the only things I had going for me at this age.

Anyway, maybe I'm just being melodramatic. But for those of you who are thirty or over, I'd like to ask you a few questions. Somebody help a sistah out and answer any or all of them:

Did turning 30, like, seriously freak you out?

Do your 30s suck or are they better than your 20s?

Anything I MUST do during these last ten days of my 20s?

Anything I MUST do as I enter my 30s?

Do tell! Maybe you can give me something to look forward to other than crows' feet and a crushing sense of failure ...



  1. Ok, calm down, relax, take a deep breath...whatever it takes...hug a baby, take a bath...

    You'll be alright. You'll survive.

    Ok. Kidding. Totally. Not about that you'll survive...but about the relaxing. But you will survive. And, I think, you'll be quite pleased.

    I was always that go-getter kid, too and everyone thought I had the whole world at my beck and call. And then I said phooey and did my own thing. Joined the Navy and dropped out of college to do so. Everyone was convinced I'd never get my degree or amount to anything. But I did. I was going to be a Ph.D. by 30, be married and have kids.

    And I was none of the above.

    And I'm so very glad!

    Cause it's worked out a gazillion times better than my mind had pictured.

    Anywho. To answer your questions...

    No, turning 30 did not freak me out. I couldn't change it and I was glad to be getting the opportunity to celebrate another birthday. My mom had recently passed away and I was feeling quite different about life.

    My 30's have been WAY better than my 20's. 20's, even the best of 'em, are tumultuous, rough, and filled with uncertainty. You are forging your way, breaking free from expectations and finally, for once and for all, truly developing your own. Things go right as you go through...and things go wrong. And because you are just starting out, in your 20's, it doesn't take much to derail your plans.

    The 30's, on the other hand, is when you finally get to sit back and start to see how it's all going to unfold. Careers blossom, children become independent, parents finally recognize you as a person of your own right, your finances are probably better than's all starting to work out. It still isn't set in stone but the 30's are way soo totally more fun, relaxing, and promising than the 20's. Sure, you might have had fun in the 20's but it was a kind of wreckless fun that was meant for feeling out boundaries. In the 30's, it really is just fun!

    Anything you MUST do? ten days? That's all I can think of. Have a big party. Pamper yourself. It's a birthday.

    Anything you must do as you enter your 30's? Ummm...enter your 30's? Have a big party. Pamper yourself. It's a birthday.

    I hope you are having a party. And a spa day could be a good treat, too.

    As for the Ph.D. and whether or not you have done all that you can - would you give back anything you have for that Ph.D.? As long as YOU are happy with where YOUR life is going...that's what matters!

  2. I'd have to say I agree with the previous comment. You should definitely celebrate!! Don't let this momentous occasion go by without some sort of party, and make sure it involves lots of your favorite bevvy and high fat foods, because calories don't count on your bday ;). I was preggers on my 30th, looking after my own toddler plus others, and my DH forgot! He left for work with nary a word about it! Talk about depressing. So don't let it pass by unnoticed, the thirties are not so bad (I'm ~gasp~ 37 in October!)

  3. Rita, you went to Stephens, right? We have a degree completion program through Graduate & Continuing Studies at Stephens (online). If you give us your permission to see your transcripts, and if you are interested, we could see how many more classes you need to complete your degree with us online. Just throwing it out there but it's up to you.

  4. I think my 30s are better than my 20s were, because I'm more confident in who I am now. But, I get what you are saying. I, too, was one who was going to do something big with her life. And yet....nada. Well, nothing that others would look at and consider an accomplishment.

  5. I didn't stress turning 30, but that's partially because I was due with my first 3 days later, so I was more wrapped up in impending baby arrival than impending 30th arrival. But honestly, I wouldn't have freaked out anyway, since I didn't think my 20's were the be all end all.
    I say try to relax and enjoy it--the 30's are when we really get the ok to come into our own, and from all I've heard, they're WAY better than the 20s!

  6. Well, since I just turned thirtyEIGHT, I feel I should weigh in (so to speak, I weigh more in my 30's than I did in my 20's, so that part sucks). However, turning 30 was no biggie for me. A lot of my friends were freaked out, but approaching 40 definitely freaks me out more. Life in my 30's has been more "stable" I guess...getting married, 1st child (and second), buying a house...all done in my 20's. 30's saw moving (a few times), raising 2 girls....but HELLO - age 35...I decided to have another baby! My little boy! So, that's an adventure in itself. So...don't think the fun is over b/c you're no longer a "twentysomething". And--we can still party with the best of them in our 30's, but are smart enough (usually) not to be completely hungover or hanging our heads out the window puking (okay, USUALLY). And as someone else said, just enjoy being able to celebrate another dad's cancer diagnosis has put a lot of things in perspective, and you are still plenty young to finish your degree, publish books or work towards whatever your dreams are :)

  7. I have to agree with the above, 30s are much better than 20s. I loved my 30s, I truly did. I don't remember whether it bothered me to enter them or not (it was so long ago,lol), but I know I felt, in many ways, at my best in my 30s. I have to say the 40s have been much rougher and I am totally freaked out about turning 50 in less than two years.

    But honestly, I really think you are entering your best years, they were mine.

  8. Okay, I'm not 30 so I'm not sure if I'm allowed to comment. But, it's a blog, damnit, and I'm doing what I want.

    I have a minor panic attack every year that I am not where I "should" be with my life. That doesn't make you unhappy or ungrateful, just ambitious. And, I'm thinking your description is the same thing. I think these thoughts keep you reaching.

    And, I hope you get published someday. I'll be waiting in line at Waldenbooks to get an autograph.

  9. Personally, I love my 30's. They have been so much better than my 20's.

  10. You have already accomplished much more than most in their 30's. Well, at least out in the Metro NY/NJ area. We are all holding on for some damn reason and don't start the life you've been leading until into our 30's.

    As someone who's only 34 for a few more weeks, I can say my 30's have been just as fun as my 20's, just different. 20's were wild and free, but I stressed out that I wasn't "there yet" when I turned 28 and hadn't settled down & started a family yet. Yet, I have friends that are just getting married in their mid-late 30's. So, I don't think it matters when you do it, just that (if you want to) you DO do it! And that applies to EVERYTHING! Marriage, kids, careers, etc.

    We have time! Hey, if it takes me until I'm 50 to finally get back to school for my Art History career, so be it! I'll do other things I enjoy until then! Like the bakery career I'd also like to start. \

  11. I had no problem turning 30 until today when I was talking and flirting with a guy who is 6 years younger than me. I don't know why but for some reason, I just felt old.

  12. Not to worry. The 30's will be good (take it from someone in their 40's!) You're already way ahead of me - at 30 I wasn't even married yet and my first son didn't come along until I was 33.

    Your 30's will be good because your boys are getting older and therefore more independent. Which means you gain back a little "me time".

  13. I had a mid-mid life crisis at 25! I figured after that it was all down hill.

    The other day a teenager called me ma'am and I nearly walloped him. I'm 33! Ugh.

  14. Thirty craps all over the 20s, absolutely. As I get closer to 40 though, I do feel like I need to hurry up and do all that stuff I really want to.

    What's great for you, is that by 40 your kids won't be little and needy (yeah they'll be big and needy lol, totally different!) where as I didn't start having mine until 31. I'm pretty sure I would feel heaps more energetic had I started younger.

    Either way just enjoy your life. It's only a number!

  15. I did not freak out turning thirty because as several of my friends (all of whom were pretty much single and childless at that point) said "at least you're married and have kids."

    But being a stay at home mom is pretty much all I've ever wanted to do, so I'm lucky because by thirty I'd achieved the goals I set for that age - I never had the ambition to be a published author (I had the dream, just not the ambition), or doctor of anything. Of course, now I'm looking at the rest of my life and thinkgin "all my kids will be full time in school in 4 years - and I will do... WHAT with my time then?" I guess develop some ambition.

    As someone who has passed the 3.0 mark, I will tell you not much changes in terms of how you feel or think about yourself (especially as a mom - you already have to be a grown up most of the time).

    But 32, well, let me tell you 32 is when it all starts sliding downhill.

  16. At 36, I can definitely say that my life is not what I thought it would be at this age...for the good and not so good. Mostly good though. I was married at 21 and thought I'd have babies by 25. I was 31 before I had my first and am expecting my 3rd at 36. I fully expected to have an empty nest by 50. Now, not so much!

    I have to agree with the first commenter about really feeling comfortable with who you are once you hit 30. I think at 17 we all thought we knew exactly who we were and what our convictions were. But at 30 you've had enough life experience to REALLY have it cemented.

    My 30's have also been a great time for me to evaluate and plan what I want to do with the next part of my life. Take the next several days to really think about where you want to be in 10 yrs. Talk to your husband and make some concrete goals. It might motivate you and give you something to look forward to!

  17. Fascinating info on your braininess! Impressive really.

    That said....

    I didn't freak out turning 30, but that is because I had FINALLY gotten married at 29, so I wasn't stressed about being an old maid. haha

    My 30's are DEFINITELY better than my 20's. In fact, I most of the time still feel like I'm in my 20's, 'cause well, I have two babies and I'm 37, oh and lots of our friends are still young 'uns.

    Anyway, you have plenty of time to finish a degree, or whatever. But you just need to celebrate and ENJOY the moments you ahve right now. Cherish your babies and the life you have.

  18. As someone who has lived MANY more decades than you, I can say without a doubt that your life is well on its way to getting easier. The years before all your kids get in school are so hectic and you have absolutely no time for yourself, so you sort of lose your identity for a while. That's okay - it's not really gone - just waiting for the opportunity to show up again. There's plenty of time for that book or degree, and anything else you chose to do. Meanwhile, you're doing an awesome job of the life you're living right now, and that's what's important. Live in today and tomorrow will take care of itself!
    And, unlike some parents, my identity doesn't depend on what my kids accomplish. I just want you to be happy. I'm extremely proud of you as a person, and your choices as a wife, mother, and writer. You're doing fine! XXXOOO

  19. No its all should just go out back and shoot yourself in the head! Naw jk...30s stop caring so much what others think...and say what you are thinking to pep you dont even know.
    But the worst part of 30 is your are always saying to yourself.."Gawd I wish I knew in my 20s what I know now..." What you have that some of us 30somethings don't got is more'll have your kids out of the house sooner because you started sooner and you'll have tons of time to do whatever. you. want.
    Happy 30s!

  20. "Did turning 30, like, seriously freak you out?" Um, hello you were there with me - that was NOT a good day for me! Remember I wished a planters wart on you! LMAO!!! Any-woo there is a lot of things I had hoped to accomplish before turning 30 but haven't and you know what all I'm referring to! Let's work on accomplishing those things we want out of life.....we can motivate each other! XOXO

  21. Turning 29 was harder than 30, now that I'm 30 it doesn't feel any different, it's just another number, I feel like a full fledged adult now, lol.

  22. i think it was kind of hard to turn 30, but it was so long ago that i have forgotten.

    turning 40 was no picnic.

    and you have some major accomplishments under your belt. i am 40, never married, no kids, don't own a home, don't have a stellar career, etc. sometimes i feel like a loser. then i take a nap and get on with life. SIGH.

    anywhoo, 30 will be good. the 30's are fab. the are!!! and i hear 40's are good too, as long as one gets a good attitude! :)

  23. It's ok...the best is yet to come!

  24. I'm late on this (Happy Birthday by the way) but
    Did turning 30, like, seriously freak you out? Nope. I didn't look 30 (was still getting carded) and didn't feel 30 and didn't care.

    Do your 30s suck or are they better than your 20s? OMGosh YES 30's are way way way better.

    Anything I MUST do during these last ten days of my 20s? Missed this one.

    Anything I MUST do as I enter my 30s? CELEBRATE. The alternative is DEAD.

    Besides, you are ONLY twenty ten.

    can't do squat about the crows' feet and a crushing sense of failure ...


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