30: Or, Why I’m Not Freaking Out

No. This is not a “30 things I noticed once turning 30,” post, or even a, “God, I’m 30, but I still don’t have babies,” post. It’s definitely not a, “I’m 30 and I feel myself rotting,” post.

I’m turning 30 in a few days. No longer having “twenty” as an identity is a bit odd…now that I’m sitting in this comfortable leather chair and thinking about my greater existence. Haha, turning thirty for me is not as much of a deal as some. If you’re a fan of the TV show Friends, you know what I’m talking about. They devote the entire episode to remembering each of group turning thirty years old. Rachel is freaking out about getting “old,” and they recall their previous milestones at thirty. I just don’t feel the same. I guess I’m similar to my dad in this respect. It’s another year, and you won’t feel much different afterwards. Now, this gets a little less true the closer you get to 40, 50, 60, and 70. As for me, I’m still young, not old.

Truly though, thirty is a prime time to be alive. I’ve had multiple conversations with forty year olds, or older, saying that their thirties were incredible. You are much less concerned with external opinions about yourself, you’ve arrived in a place where you’re working on your career, you’re dating and figuring things out, or you’re married and also figuring things out, haha. Thirty isn’t always, but CAN be an incredible moment in your life, filled with adventure, experience, pushing boundaries, and self discovery. I know that sometimes I entertain the thought that I haven’t done enough before thirty or pushed myself to where I want to be, but when I stop feeding that thought, I realize that I have accomplished much. I have seen much. I have felt much. I have lost much. I realize that reflection on a year passed shouldn’t be a time of regret, but refocused into a time of celebration and appreciation. In other words, you’re still alive, ha. And God willing, you have years ahead of you to go! Take opportunities when they arrive.

In some ways, I understand our obsession with time and how our yearly birthday is just another reminder that we have such little time on this earth, but flip that around if you can. Take a breath. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself of your friends, your family, and those who actually love the real you. Remind yourself of your happiest moments, and the moments that truly tested you. Remember your victories and the times you cried out to God for help. Remember that you are becoming fuller with each late night conversation you have about your vulnerabilities, each bad day you’ve overcome, each new relationship you build, and each regular day that you found some joy in.

This is my first birthday in my new home, with new friends that I’ve made over the last few months. In my dad’s words,

I have full faith that you’ll find friends Eric. You never seem to run out of them, and I don’t really know how you keep up with them all.

I always laugh whenever my dad tells me that. I guess being an introvert, I don’t seem to want to give myself enough credit for being able to meet people and draw them closer into friendship. Still, it’s new. It’s all new. And frankly, I can’t wait for that to wear off. I know one day, I’ll wake up, go about my day, as I have for months, and I’ll say to myself, “Huh, it kind of snuck up on me but none of this feels new any longer.” Given that a year before I turned thirty God told me to stop moving around so much, and then I got a job that I’ve been working towards since I was eighteen years old, and I moved to Colorado with the full intention of staying here for a while…I think this is going to be a year to remember. Now if only I could finish any of my short stories. One step at a time. One coffee shop at a time.

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One Year, Looking Back

One year ago I was excited to see all of my friends again and live with my family after 3 years of seperation. I was anxious about the transission, after living in New Zealand for that long, but I was happy none-the-less to be back home.

Looking back feels weird to me. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been back for 365 days now. The time feels more like months have passed rather than a full year. I have made good use of that time being with friends, traveling to places I’ve never gone before, meeting new people, making new friends, reuniting with old ones, continuing old traditions, and eating ALL the good food, haha. Continue reading “One Year, Looking Back”

First Christmas Back

It’s been some time since I’ve been able to have a white Christmas with my family. For the past three years, Christmas has been 90 degrees, shorts, sand, some sunscreen, your jandals, and a bach to hang with your friends in. Paradise, some of you may be thinking right about now. Well, I found these versions of Christmas to be rather…unfulfilled. Where’s the snow? Where’s the pine tree? Where are the snowmen? Why do ALL Christmas songs feel so hollow when heard on a tropical Island? Continue reading “First Christmas Back”

Many Mother’s Day

What does it mean to have three incredible mothers in my life? What is the impact of seeing motherhood lived out day in and day out? What is the alternate of this? The impact of a horrible mother, the effects of a neglectful, unloving, absent mother? The scars left by an abusive, overbearing, and insulting mother? This day, like Christmas, Father’s Day, or birthdays, can be a reminder of something we’d rather forget. The pain that is drudged up by the annual forced reminder of this person’s presence, or lack there of, can be more than they would like to deal with. Continue reading “Many Mother’s Day”

Dating. A Dying Art form.

carnival fair themed engagement couple shoot

This post has been a long time coming.

Lately, and especially with my 26th birthday now under my belt, I have been doing a lot of thinking about my past. This included talking about my successes and my failings. One area that my mind drifted to recently was Dating.

With chasing down a Master’s degree right after getting my Bachelors degree, cramming my education into half of the time, in order to finish early, and leaving the country to live in New Zealand…it’s no surprise that I didn’t have much time to go on dates. Very few in fact.

Dating is fun. Plain and simple. It is an opportunity to have a lot fun with the opposite sex, with the possibility of that first date turning into a longer, more meaningful relationship. Dinner, movie, and ice cream. Walks, drinks, and star-gazing. A drive, conversation, and an out-of-the-way adventure. However you design the date, it’s a fun time. That being said, don’t go overboard. You can absolutely do too much in a date. If you’re unsure, vet your plans with friends you trust. Additionally, not all dates go the way that you planned. I know that territory, ha. Once I was on a date and didn’t even know it. Talk about awkward.

And that segues perfectly into my point. Dating, as I have come to notice in New Zealand, is a passive game. (DISCLAIMER: I am speaking from my perspective and accounts told to me by women here in NZ, as well as some men. If you feel you are not one of these men I am describing, feel free to tell the world and comment below. Also, prepare for some massive over-generalizations.) Young men in NZ can sometimes take the back seat and fail to commit when it comes to dating. “But asking someone out is dangerous, risky, and scary.” Yeah. It is. But taking months to even ask her out on a proper date can most times be exhausting for the women. Assertiveness goes a long way.

To that effect, when you’re going on a date, make sure it’s actually a proper date. When I told you earlier that I didn’t know I was on a date, I was 18, and it was a group event. Being young, I must have missed something. I learned from that horrible awkward night and made sure to treat dating differently. First off: Groups. Okay for the first few times, but eventually you have to take a leap. Also, Dating should not be a random coffee meet-up, or haphazardly pulled romantic-dates-a-dinner-to-remembertogether. That makes things confusing. An intentional, thought out, Yes, possibly even risky planned night eliminates the need for awkward conversations where you are trying to define your relationship. It’s brave. It’s assertive. And most of all, It shows you care about the person.

Like I’ve said before; going out with someone, even if it doesn’t turn into a second date, can be fantastic. Don’t hold on so tight to the result. Just be yourself and enjoy each others company.

I have to tell you, I missed out on opportunities to date while getting my professional degrees. It happens. Some opportunities couldn’t be helped. But others I wish I would have taken advantage of. Now I’m going to say something that I usually wouldn’t say because of how it could be taken out of context, and maybe it’s because I’m getting older…slightly, but we’re only young for so long. Enjoy the opportunities you have to get to know someone new, until you find the person who doesn’t make you sad that you stopped dating.

Call me a traditionalist, but there are times when I feel like the kind of dating that I have been talking about is on its way out the front door. Chivalry and kindness. Bravery and courage.  Boldness and fervor. Dating can be an art if you treat it like one. Men, women, I plead with you. Reform how we date each other, and I promise you, not only will you have a lot of fun, but they will respect you above the coffee date. I mean…I really hope they do.

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