It snowed the day of our flight. Of course. I wanted to shake my fist at the skies but settled for rolling my eyes. Winter weather has interfered with my January birthday since the beginning of time. True, it wasn’t my actual birthday but it was the start of my birthday getaway. Also true, it wasn’t a ton of snow. We Midwestern stock paid no heed while driving about so I could only hope the airline felt the same way.
Fortunately, Dad dropped Mom and me off at O’Hare without any trouble. Mom and I boarded one of the smallest planes I’ve ever been on, which deposited us in Asheville, NC a couple of hours later.
We escaped the Chicagoland snow but Asheville was unseasonably cold. I had to chuckle and then I patted myself on the back. Surely my winter birthday woes would be over when I moved to Nashville that May. (Alas, it snowed 1/2 an inch on my 31st birthday and most of the city shut down in response.)
The long weekend was a perfect blend of all the things I loved. We went thrifting and worked on a crossword puzzle while drinking tea. We ate at amazing restaurants and perused cute boutiques. We toured the phenomenal Biltmore Estate and my non-drinking mother stood by while I enjoyed a wine tasting. (Oh my word. If you like wine, the Biltmore Winery will hook you up.) We found fried pickles and we watched cheesy Hallmark movies. We visited the All Souls church and happened upon a lecture. Best of all, there was time and space for many heart-to-hearts.
I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your mother but I count mine as one of my best friends. We don’t see eye to eye on everything but I know I can trust her with whatever is on my mind and that she will do her best to listen. I also know we can have a good time doing just about anything.
When I turned 29, I decided I was going to look forward to turning 30. A whole year devoted to embracing the age which depressed the majority of my friends. I understood why so many feared turning 30. I loved my birthday and I didn’t even mind getting older. The ace in my back pocket is that I will never look my age. But ever since turning 25, my birthday also served as a reminder of how far off the mark I was from what I thought 25, 26, 29 would look like. No more, I declared. I was going to own turning 30.
And for most of my 29th year, this positive outlook worked. Right up until about a month before.
Then those familiar feelings of failure crept in. 30 and single. 30 without children. 30 in a job I wasn’t sure was for me anymore. 30 and I still hadn’t traveled Europe the way I always dreamed I would. I ticked off the list of things I hadn’t yet accomplished. 30 was not supposed to look like this.
I paid attention to those feelings for a day or two and then I squared my shoulders. I was not going to let it ruin my birthday trip. This was exactly why I planned a getaway.
Like I said, I love my birthday. I love celebrating it. I love the attention. I love parties and presents and messages and general affection. My 30th birthday called for something special. I wanted to be with one of the people who loves me unconditionally. I could’ve chosen any number of friends but I couldn’t imagine a better travel companion than my mom. Even though she hadn’t been on an airplane since before I was born.
No one has encouraged and loved me more than my mom.
What’s more, my move to Nashville loomed. While moving out of state wouldn’t rule out future trips together, it would make them more complicated. I wanted to take advantage of our remaining time together…by going elsewhere.
My mom never fails to remind me who I am and Who I belong to. She never fails to champion me and her often prophetic voice soothes my soul like none other. Oh, how I needed to hear her words that weekend.
There was no better way to turn 30.
I have loved my 30s. I am more settled in my skin, more confident of who I am. Certainly, I still wrestle with insecurities and difficult circumstances have happened each year but let me set the record state: my 30s rock.
In less than a week, I’ll turn 34. The feelings of failure that pestered me in my late 20s have returned. I don’t have a getaway to look forward to, nor will I be able to see my mom.
I don’t want to buy the lie that I’m not enough- that this wild and precious life is not enough.
Once more, I’m squaring my shoulders. Once more, I’m embracing the coming age.
34, I’m about to own you.