On turning 30

I'm 26 days away from my 30th birthday, and I'm feeling nostalgic.

Maybe it's because 30 is almost close enough for me to reach out and touch; maybe the nostalgia comes from listening to bands I listened to in high school that have evolved and taken on mature sounds and themes. Or, maybe my reflection is spurred from my recent lunch with an old friend from my college days, during which we kept saying, Who would've thought this is where we'd be ten years ago?! Perhaps it's a combination of all of these things. For whatever reason, today I'm reflecting on the changes I've experienced in the last twelve years.

In my younger days, I could not study or write in the quiet spaces of libraries or my home. I had to trek out to a bustling coffee shop or a park filled with families if I had any chance of being productive. The lively nature of these places energized me. Now these places are too distracting. I sat at a local coffee joint last week and tried to pound out a post, but the conversations swirling around me were loud and pulled my focus away. It was over-stimulating, and I left feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. It was only when I spent time reading in my rocking chair at home that I was able to regain my composure. Today I spent some time writing in the quiet library where I work as a writing coach. The quiet energized me. Now I'm finding pleasure in the spaces right at my fingertips.

Only five years ago I was teaching high school English in Ogallala,on the brink of finishing my MA in English, and making back-up plans for what I'd do if I could never become a mother--things I could do to dull the pain of a dream out of reach. Doctoral programs, a move out of state, trying for a job as a curriculum director, applying for a summer internship at NPR. It was a difficult time in my life, but it was exciting to think about the possibilities. It gave me a break from dwelling on what might never be. And now I'm a mother to two kids we adopted from foster care (something I said I'd never do) working part-time to give me more time to spend with the kids I never thought I'd have.

About twelve years ago, I fell wildly in love with my husband and thought it was impossible to love a person more. Ten years into our marriage I'm realizing that despite the argument we had last night, I love him more today than I did twelve years ago. There is an attraction I feel now to my husband that moves beyond the boundaries of a physical connection. He has seen me at my absolute worst and still chooses to crawl into bed with me at the end of each day. After ten years of marriage, infertility, parenting, and the impact of age on a body--he still chooses me even though society says it would be okay if he chose someone else.

There have been growing pains for sure, but these changes seem necessary and good and worth the pain. And for the first time in the last year, 30 doesn't seem so scary...

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