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30, Flirty, and…Nothing Like the Movies

Thank you to Aubrey Nicole Photography for the images, our very own Caiti Mondragon for the cake, and Harper + Hudson for the custom tank top featured in the photos!

I turned 30 a couple of months ago. 

To be honest, I was pretty excited leading up to it! I’m a few years younger than my close circle of friends, and having celebrated all of their 30th birthdays and seeing how each of them seemed to find their stride, I was really excited to do the same! I planned one of those grown-up cake-smash photo shoots, had the cute birthday shirt made, and I was READY for this new decade of life.

Well you know that movie with Jennifer Garner? 13 Going On 30? That’s a little more of an accurate representation of how my transition to 30 went…stumbling into a reality that has me playing catch up all the time and wondering, “Is this my life?” over and over again.

The big difference though, is that I have yet to find a closet that has a secret stash of magic fairy dust that will send me back to do all the things right so that I end up with that finding-my-stride moment I’ve witnessed from all of my friends around me. And of course, the way Jenna Rink ended up with all the things she dreamed she’d have at 30.

{Oh yeah, I guess the fact that real life is nothing like the movies…there’s that difference, too.}

I turned 30 and everything changed.

If we’re being honest, life leading up to 30 was a combination of putting out fires, taking on new and big things where I had no clue what I was doing, and trying to find out who I was after coming out of a rough season battling postpartum depression. I. Was. A. DISASTER. Most people would never know it though.

See, I had gotten real good at putting on the mask. You know which one I’m talking about…the “I’ve got everything together” mask. You might be wearing yours right now, and no judgement, Mama. I totally get it.

Suddenly when I turned 30, however, the mask didn’t fit anymore. It had grown older, or smaller, or was wearing out somehow, and the cracks were beginning to show. The truth is, having come out of a rough season and trying to reach for an authentic understanding of my new season of life, I was tired of putting it on. 

I turned 30 and I started wishing for my younger days.

When I was in my early 20s, I could more easily hide the moments of disaster I encountered in my life. Looking back now, I sometimes wish for the so-called problems I thought I had a decade ago! Ah, sweet girl…sweet, naive girl. If I could go back and tell her anything, it would be stop trying to hide. I would tell her to embrace the disaster moments, as they will build strength for when the disasters become bigger and involve more people who rely on you to handle them well.

I turned 30 and stuff got real.

I bet you can tell that ‘stuff’ is not the word I wanted to use there. 

See, those disasters…they did get bigger. {Shocker.} And I do have more people who rely on me to handle them well.

I think that’s the number one thing I had clarity on, coming out of the other side of my postpartum struggle. My attempts to hide the real issues, and not take care of myself, hurt my family as much as it did me. So on top of the PPD, it was like, “Oh hey, mommy guilt…nice to meet you.” And the hole I was digging got real, real deep.

Well, when the stuff really hit the fan around my 30th birthday, I knew I had a choice. Undo all of the work I had done, and nose-dive back into that deep hole I had just dug myself out of, OR, throw away the mask, embrace the REAL, and make my stride happen by designing the life I wanted.

I turned 30 and I’m finally learning the true meaning of giving myself grace.

Those disasters that happened when I turned 30 didn’t just magically go away when I decided to re-frame my reality. I just learned the power and true meaning of giving myself grace, which is something that I never did in my 20s. Honestly, I don’t think I understood how to.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not something I’ve perfected and I’m still learning how with each new misstep, but dang is it ever freeing when I get it right.

Whenever I feel the urge to reach for the mask and hide, I call a girlfriend instead. I open up, and I allow her to tell me that I need to give myself grace, and that these things are normal and okay to go through. I reach for community instead of drowning in isolation. 

I turned 30 and I discovered that growth is a lifelong journey.

I listened to a podcast episode recently, where the podcaster said, “If you want bigger growth, get bigger problems.” That message was like jet fuel to me when it came to how I frame the disasters I’ve encountered in the last few months. My problems feel big now, but in order to get to where I want to go in my life, I’ve got a road of bigger ones ahead of me. The path to growth requires me to go through them, and you know what? For the first time in my life, I believe that I will be okay on the other side.

It’s going to suck to go through it. But with faith, grace, community, and leaving the mask behind, I WILL get through it. And I will be better for it.

In the meantime, I say Cheers to 30 Years! Here’s to a lifetime of growth, and living each day with the goal of being better than I was the day before.

turning 30
A special thanks to Aubrey Nicole Photography, Caiti Mondragon, and Harper + Hudson for their contributions to this post. Northern Colorado Moms Blog is proud to partner with these amazing local Mom-Owned Businesses!

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