Why I'm unashamed to turn 30

Written by Amber -

Today is my birthday, and I'm proud to be 30. I'm in the life stage where most of my friends have either recently turned 30 or they are counting the days until they do. Usually the tone of their voice changes dramatically when they refer to this event. You know, "the big three-oh" tone. It sounds an awful lot like the tone people use when they talk about about having to complete that dreaded item on their list of chores or when they tell the story of discovering their childhood dog didn't actually run away. I've also heard about some wanting to spend their 30th birthday alone so they can cry themselves to sleep in privacy.

Over the past year, as I've been inching closer to this milestone age, I just haven't experienced that kind of dread or anxiety. That got me thinking...why not? I've compiled a list of five reasons I'm unashamed to turn 30.

Also, Chad treated me to a birthday photo shoot to capture this unashamed joy. You can check out the image highlights below, too...

My identity is not found in a number.

Age is merely a number. It has no power over my life and has no inherent limitations on what I do. For too long, society has rallied behind 'Number 30' and duped generations of people into believing they are to meet a certain list of expectations and accomplishments by the time their age hits it. They make you feel awful if you fail to check off everything on this unwritten list. Who is "they" anyway?? Why do we give "them" power over our identity?

My identity is rooted in something—someone—much deeper than any number. You see, because of my fallible human nature, I actually deserve death, but because of God's unconditional love and grace, he sent Jesus down to this earth to show me how to live a perfect life. Jesus, fully aware of my shortcomings, died an excruciating death in my place so that I could live anyway. Because I believe and accept this as the undeserved Truth, the Bible says my identity has changed! I am now forgiven (Col. 2:13-14), loved (Rom. 8:35-39), chosen (Eph. 1:4), secure (Eph. 2:20), strengthened (Phil. 4:13), guided (Psalm 23:3, John 16:12-15), and victorious (1 Cor. 15:57, 1 John 5:4). I am called God's child (John 1:12), a co-heir of Jesus (Rom. 8:17), His friend (John 15:15), His co-worker (2 Cor. 6:1), and I am never alone (Heb. 13:5). That's not even an exhaustive list! You've got nothing on that, Number 30.

NOTE: Your weight, height, income and zip code are also merely numbers—don't let them steal your identity either! 

I have no regrets, just lessons.

There are SO many things in my life I've done, said, or thought that I am certainly not proud of. At times (more often than I'd like to admit), I've made poor decisions. I've broken promises. I've been an idiot.  From most of those situations, I have learned something, though. I would be a different, much less experienced and less intelligent person today if it weren't for all of those mistakes. Therefore, I have no regrets. I'm thankful for each of those important life lessons that enabled me to make improvements to become the 'Me' I am today.

I ask myself tough questions.

I've never been that comfortable with the idea of being "comfortable." I'm not talking yoga pants comfortable or fuzzy slippers comfortable—those are quite alright in my book. But when "comfortable" crosses into the land of "complacent," I've got issues. It's pretty easy to slip into the uniformity of a safe routine, but that kind of living doesn't usually leave room for "new & improved" or "discovery." I make a habit of asking myself tough questions—yearly, weekly, monthly, daily or however often is necessary. I write my responses in my journal to keep a record. These constant check-ups teach me more about myself and help me to live a life I'm happy with, no matter my age.

When was the last time you asked yourself, What if? What is something new I've learned this week? What is my goal this year? What is my goal today? What can I improve in? Am I proud of the life I'm living? Am I encouraged by the friends I surround myself with? What have I tried this month? What has God taught me this week? What obstacles in my life are keeping me from moving forward? What brings me the most joy & how can I do more of it? What stresses me out & how can I do less of it? What are my natural talents? What are my hobbies? How well do I love every person around me? How can I serve someone tomorrow?

I don't make excuses.

It's silly to waste energy on the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" scenarios of life. I can whine and complain about things I wish had turned out differently, beat myself up about something I didn't do in the past, or fret and fear about what might happen in the future, but it's pointless. I'd much rather be productive by focusing that same energy on what I CAN do today. 

H. Jackson Brown said, "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."

Jesus warned us not to worry about anything. "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? ...Why do you have so little faith? ...Your heavenly Father will give you everything you need." (From Matt. 6:25-34)

Every day is a gift.

It is true, I am not getting any younger... In fact, the first birthday present I received for my 30th was an increased health insurance rate! Apparently I crossed the "higher risk" line of health while sleeping last night. Getting older is a fact of life that I am embracing. I've looked up to people older than me for my entire life—they give me something to shoot for. It's an honor to consider the fact that some might look up to me!

Many around the world never make it to their 30th birthday. Every day is a true gift and an opportunity—you never know when your last might be. I'll celebrate today even if—no, especially if—it's my 30th birthday. And, if I am given a tomorrow, I'll celebrate it in the same manner. 

No matter how overused or cliché this Souza quote might be, it doesn't change the validity of its statement. I do my best to choose joy on a daily basis and embrace life as it comes. I think this quote effectively outlines my perspective on life and I hope it encourages you as well:

“Dance as though no one is watching you,
Love as though you have never been hurt before,
Sing as though no one can hear you,
Live as though heaven is on earth.”
― Souza

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Not one time in this post did I mention my relationship status or family count. Yes, I am happily married and no, I do not have children at this time, but those things are completely unrelated to the number of years I have lived. Although I am happy with those facts, they are not the ultimate source of my happiness or the aspects that define who I am as an individual.  Although expectations of your age on paper have become 'popular' these days, it doesn't make them true. I'm willing to prove them wrong and live my own life. You with me?