I reached the milestone age of 30 recently.
The morning of my birthday, I stared hard at myself in the mirror, looking for wrinkles and other signs of aging, as if overnight I would have magically become much older.
But it was just the same old me staring back.
I’m sure even if I have aged, it can’t be too bad, because I was asked for ID at the liquor store just a few weeks ago. I wanted to lean over the counter and hug the lady.
I know how I expected to feel 10 years ago – like my youth is over, forced to do only adult-like things for the rest of eternity.
When you’re 20, 30 seems so far away.
Back then I thought that by the time I was three decades old, my life would all be in order and there would be nothing left to figure out – I would have a career, a husband, a house and maybe even some kids on the way.
I would go to bed at 9 p.m., drive a mini-van, eat pork chops (seems to be a staple for young families with mortgages if my own parents are any example) and spend weekends maintaining the yard and house.
Well, I do have the career, the husband (we celebrate our second anniversary this summer) and the mortgage.
I do sometimes spend part of the weekend doing yard work, but more often than not, I forgo vacuuming and mowing the lawn in favour of hurtling down some hills on my mountain bike.
I certainly do not have it all figured out – for example, I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up and I’m still counting on winning the lottery.
And instead of mourning my birthday this year, or ignoring it altogether, I threw myself a party and dragged everyone out dancing.
Dancing is just as fun at age 30 as it was at 20, even if my feet hurt a little more than they did 10 years ago and I have to take a rest more often.
Truthfully, I think 30 is a great age, despite all the jokes from friends and family about being old and “over the hill”.
The bank may own most of my house, but my husband and I are both working and slowly paying down the mortgage and, hey, at least we’re not paying off someone else’s mortgage, as was the case for part of our 20s.
We don’t have much extra money, but enough to be able to go out to dinner sometimes and fund our hobby – maintaining a mountain bike isn’t cheap, given all the parts that are constantly in need of repair or replacement.
I am always improving at things like budgeting and dealing with the curve balls life throws me, though by no means am I an expert.
I can cook all sorts of things other than soup from a can now (in my early 20s, the average dinner in my dorm room usually included something that was either out of the freezer or a can) and I grow some of my own vegetables.
With age comes more experience and maybe a bit of wisdom, but on the down side, recovery time from physical activities goes way up.
My body is becoming something that needs taking care of, as opposed to my mid-20s, when I could get away with running, biking and hiking all day, not bothering to warm up or cool down with a stretch, and doing it all again the next day.
Now, I try a new activity and I’m sore for a few days after. I can’t afford to be careless with myself or miss a stretching session; I pay for it with stiff muscles.
But my aging body is just another hurdle to overcome, and I vow to continue acting like I’m in my 20s, at least mentally, for years and years to come.