Sunday, October 6, 2013

What it means to turn thirty

Thirty. The number became me recently, or perhaps I became the number (I like to think it's both). It's a year mark I'd been waiting for since I was seventeen. Thirty is hip, thirty is cool, or swag, or whatever it is the kids are calling 'it' these days. Thirty is calling twenty-somethings 'kids.'

Good is as follows: I am exactly where I'm meant to be. Whether its because I'm thirty, or life's events just happen to coincide, is anyone's guess. But I'm happy, and self assured, and in a good spot, and there's not much more I could ask for at the beginning of a decade.

At current, I sit surrounded, by boxes half-unpacked. I moved, and it's been all encompassing in every good way. There's much to be done here, so much work to do. Plans upon plans sit heavy, on eldest intentions. Thirty is giving up the right to perfection and getting shit done anyway. Thirty is saying 'shit' even though I know some will be disappointed to learn I'm part sailor.

I've looked back a lot. I still intend, and don't think I could escape my need, to process life in afterthoughts. But I'm feeling less hesitant, less afraid of going forward heart open. I am meant to write about the grit, am feeling pushed toward the un-diplomatic. Life is not fair and tidy, or neat and holiness-seen. Work isn't always fun, energizing, or safe to complete. I am ok with this, which is very un-me, though perhaps this is thirty.

Maybe it all started when I ate celery for the kid. I hate celery, but had to prove eating a vegetable I hated wouldn't kill me. I chewed that stringy taste-of-bad-breath and swallowed it bravely. See? No death, though it wasn't pleasant. Work is like this, life is too. Pleasantries are lovely, but pleasantries don't put food on the table. Things only grow when we get in the soil and dig around, dirty our hands, bruise our fists, and scrape our knuckles on the seed. There are a million ways I've gotten past my blood's need for perfect conditions.  Only one of them was celery. Only one of them was thirty.

I am afraid of writing terribly and putting it out there for others to read. I am afraid of what people will think when they see me, peeking out the front or back end of an attempt. I am afraid I won't survive the criticism. But, though these insecurities dangle loosely, clang around my rib cage, poke my heart's holes on occasion, they are withered by the biggest fear of all, and the reason I'll never stop working: my life will not be wasted. I am meant to say things on a page. I'm going to live life, and write about it.

photo credits


Shenelle said...

I love it Ashley! Welcome to thirty! And I love your writing! I can see you in it! All of your writing is perfect, because it is you and your feelings!

anita said...

oh, I've missed peeking inside your brain. Welcome back :) Promise you won't be gone so long again? xo

Suz said...

Grit & un-diplomatic are real. Real is really the only way to be & you do it best for yourself. Keep on! And thank you.