Thursday, July 9, 2015

20/52 :: thirty.

I have been thinking a lot these days about turning 30. (My entire family is rolling their eyes right now.) The milestone isn't until next year, sure, but I'm notorious for planning my birthday months in advance. Jordan hits the big 3-0 first, in November, and I've also been thinking about how to celebrate on his behalf, about what that milestone might look like for him. 

The truth is, I've looked forward to turning 30. Getting older has always looked better than the alternative, and 30 still sounds young and fun, but without the pressures and the confusion of your 20s. (Or so I thought.) Now, though, I'm noticing online surveys and questionnaires all cut off at 30. Meaning, my age bracket will completely shift: 18-24, 25-29, 30-35, or, in some cases, 40. It's a little jarring, to be sure. And there's the question of children, and the fact that I don't exactly have all the answers I thought I'd have by the time 30 rolled around. 

I've been thinking, mostly, about all the parties I threw in my 20s, and how now? Now I'm not sure who I would even invite to my thirtieth, which is a shame, because a) I throw a really grand party, and b) 30 seems like a pretty big deal. But all of my friends are spread across the states in ways they weren't five years ago, and we've moved, and life is different. 

In her book Searching for Sunday, Rachel Held Evans shares this moment when she looks at her husband and wonders who will throw them a baby shower. They've just left behind the church of Rachel's childhood -- also the church of their first years of marriage -- and they're embarking on an important journey of faith, one that's leading them to a new church, a new home. Rachel's not even pregnant, but no matter: The question is real, and it's there. It's also eerily familiar.

While Jordan and I have been visiting the Anglican church, which we love and appreciate more each week, I've found myself wondering if we'll have what our parents had, what I had growing up and for the first 29 years of my life: a church family, in every sense of the word. And it wasn't perfect, and I don't want to go back, at least not to that particular congregation, but I do wonder if we're missing something. No one calls me "Annie Sue," and if I were to become pregnant tomorrow, I have no idea who -- outside our family -- would take care of us, would host us a shower or show us tangible love. Rachel's question, which only takes up a short paragraph or two in her book, immediately struck a chord. 

In the middle of all of this truth-seeking and life-building, who is going to celebrate with us, weep with us? 

Thomasville has been home for a year and a half now; in February, when I'll turn 30, we'll hit two years. I've met some lovely people, a few I'd even call friends. But it's different, somehow, than before, and I find myself feeling a little jealous of the people I know -- on the Internet or otherwise -- who have built these grand communities and families, who seem to have friend-making in adulthood on lockdown, who will never be at a loss on birthdays or for baby showers. 

I am trying, mind you. I started a book club, and I become a completely extroverted version of myself at the store. I have not given up, but with February looming a bit as a deadline, I'm wondering: Who will I share that milestone with? I'm realizing it might not look like a big, blowout party or a trip to Vegas (which was a long shot, anyway). And that would be okay, if I knew I'd still be surrounded by the people I love, entering a new decade of life. 

But I don't know that, and it's hard. 

I'm not sure what the answer is, so I'll continue showing up and trying. Maybe I'll beg my long-distance friends to meet up somewhere in February in lieu of a celebration at home. Who knows? Living in the moment is not the easiest thing for me, but perhaps it's the best thing for me. Thirty will come along, and when it does, maybe I'll be ready. I suspect I'll at least have learned a thing or two, and maybe that's what's most important anyway. 


Brittany said...

I'll meet you in Vegas if you're at all serious. :)

I've been thinking about friends and community too, because I feel like I have such vibrant relationships with long distance friends (and not-so-long-distance friends) because of the internet. The friends that I used live with and see face-to-face every day are the ones I still feel closest to, even though, like your friends, they're scattered across the country. I kind of think it's like that for a lot of people, especially people in our age brackets. Maybe we don't feel the need to connect to the people that live around us because the internet sustains all of our old, favorite connections? Which is nice, but friends who live next-door or down the street are sometimes nicer (at least more immediate and convenient).

In any case, I love when you write about growing into an adult. I always find a lot of truth in your words.

Leslie said...

I really understand how you feel! We'll celebrate with you :)

Feisty Harriet said...

Goodness, this hits me right in the gut. I'm moving at the end of the year to a new city where I know exactly 4 people (husband, two step-kids, their crazy-ass mother). I have a wonderful network of people--My People--here and I am so very very disheartened to leave them. Who will I invite to dinner? Who will be in my book club? Who can I call to go on an evening walk and talk about everything/nothing? Who will I just SIT with when I'm sad? I realize "husband" could/should fill some of those roles, but we've lived apart for 4 years and that adjustments itself will be rocky.


Thank you for posting this. For getting this.


Sabrina said...

Oh 30....I am really enjoying mine, and yours will be wonderful. Let it emerge, give it some space, and that grown-up feeling will feel all the more natural. From one birthday loving friend to another, I will always be ready to celebrate with you:)

Laura Beggs said...

I want to celebrate with you!