The fact of the matter is, I've been rather quiet lately, and while ordinarily that is due to massive amounts of over thinking, this time, the case is the exact opposite. I have been trying to do the opposite of that.
The other day over a rousing game of Mexican train dominoes, my family and I were remarking on ages and birthdays and I especially proudly announced, "This is the year I turn 30." I said this with great excitement and fondness, because "turn 30" is what I have wanted to do for my whole life. (My mother insists I came into the world about to turn 30, but I would argue there has been a considerable amount of personal growth since 1984.)
And while to rack up the numbers isn't a feat I'm in control of, I imagined all the things one connects to 30-ness would be mine should I keep focus. So that this was the year the self-actualized Sarah would emerge ready to kick life in the butt!
Excitingly enough, I think this is actually partially true. But not for the reasons you think, or I thought.
Here is the main thing that I have learned by 30-eve: A whole lot of life comes to pass because of the goals you've set and the work you've done and the stuff you've made happen; BUT a whole lot more life simply happens to you.
That maybe sounds sort of victim-y, and I think I translated it that way for a long time. Things just kept happening (or more importantly, not happening) when I least expected it. And being a reactionary sort of person, I reacted. I reacted with introspection. I toiled over the inner workings of my mind and heart, which you know because I suppose that is essentially how this space came to be. I figured, if I couldn't change the circumstances of life or create the exact life I thought I ought to have, I would be darned sure that I at least knew myself. I would know every ounce of how I felt and what I dreamed and what opinions I held hard and fast. Unexpected life would not move me because I was self-assured!
Somehow, by grace probably, and really only recently, I've realized what a terrible idea this is. While I'll probably always be a sort of unconventional, introspective introvert, I think that I am now preferring the life that happens to me over the life I've made happen. Historically, the first has wound up richer and more fitting for me. It will be hard to relinquish control, it will be difficult to give up dreams; but it will be more exciting to think that even at 30, there is still some measure of incredible potential just around each and every corner.
I'm not big on sharing New Year's resolutions. I wish I could say that I didn't make them at all, but that would mean a year lived without a checklist of items to cross off, and that sounds unfulfilling! This year, mine are just silly things for the vision of a better me--they are the parts of that "life you make happen" that I will continue pursuing. But my overall vision for the year, what I hope to do, is just live life. That each day I will wake up with that day in mind and all it holds in store, and as much as I can, not worry about it's effect on the next day or week or month or lifetime achievement. Sometimes days are milestones and sometimes they are just days. But each one is still a beautiful brand new day.
So happy beautiful brand new year. May yours be filled with many, many days of life that just happens to you; and here's to hoping we worry about knowing ourselves a little less.
Photos by Stephanie Kincheloe.