It’s official, I’m the big 3-0 (which my brother so kindly chanted at me like a football player when I saw him on Sunday. 😉 ).
I really thought that I was going to freak out about turning 30. This summer I had all these thoughts about being in the best shape of my life and having everything together and that the celebration I had needed to be huge and big and worthy of this new decade.
And then real life happened. Grandpa started to decline, I started to go through interviews for new jobs, work got crazy, I got a new job, Josh and I decided to cancel the birthday vacation, I quit my current job, we lost Grandpa and then life stopped. It just stopped for a while and I spent time with myself and with my family. And you know what, I was reminded that life is not about weight or careers or organized closets or milestone birthdays. Life is about loving those around you. Hard.
I’m still processing my feelings and will be for a while. I miss Grandpa every single day. When someone takes part in raising you, I have a feeling you will always miss him. But I wouldn’t trade my time with him to dull the pain I feel now. It was worth it. Totally and completely.
After everything calmed down and my family all left town and went home, Josh and I decided to go on our trip – which was a surprise birthday trip he planned for me. I know with 100% certainty that Grandpa would have insisted that we go. So we went.
But instead of bringing all of my expectations for myself or the trip or the day, I just went. With an grateful heart and an open mind. And after one of the worst weeks I can remember, I was given the gift of one of the best. I turned 30 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after a day of kayaking, snorkeling, drinking, eating and laying by the pool. I felt so much love from my dear husband and from all of my friends and family who reached out via email and text. And we even go to facetime and talk to our parents.
Coming home from our trip on Saturday night after a week escaped away, I admitted to Josh in the cab through tears that I was not upset to come home because the vacation was over – I know we will have many other trips – but because we were coming back to a world without Grandpa. I felt his absence bigger at home where he belongs.
And then at 12:30 in the morning, we opened our mail box and out poured several letters from friends and family all talking about memories of Grandpa and I felt better. I was reminded he will never really be gone.
To soften the blow further, we had a big, casual party on Sunday with friends and family at Paradise Springs Winery. And I felt so loved. We were there for 7 hours eating and drinking and laughing. It was so fun to just be there surrounded by so many people that I love and watch them all chat and talk and be with each other too. I felt just overwhelmed with gratitude.
When we finally got home that night, Josh took care of the house, and cleaned out my car and continued to take care of me in the way he has always done and had especially that week with the trip and the presents and the party. When I turned 20, I had no idea who he was. I cannot imagine turning anything without him ever again.
So you know what I say to 30? I say, I hope that I experience as much love in my next 30 years as I did in the first. I pray that I can be present with those I love and soak up each moment of living my life because it is worth it. I plan to stop punishing myself for not meeting irrelevant expectations. I will love and be loved and be love.
Life is beautiful and hard and messy and joyful. We are here to live it. And that’s what I plan to keep doing.