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turning thirty // a thousand threads
I’ve been putting this annual birthday post off, partly because I’ll actually be away next week on my birthday, and partly because I don’t think I’ve quite had the time to let the whole 30 thing sink in.

For most of my life I’ve assumed that the inevitable approach of that birthday that’s not the new black would be terrible. But then, I’ve made a lot of assumptions over the years, and most of them turned out to be far from the truth.

At 20, if I didn’t think I’d be running the world by 35, I at least thought I’d be pretty well on my way.

I assumed I’d get a good job straight out of college. I assumed my first marriage would stick. I assumed I was analytical – as opposed to creative – and would be satisfied with a purely analytical job.

At 20, I tried very hard to fit myself into a box. I assumed that if I was one thing, I couldn’t be another.

I thought I had to choose. But at 30, I still can’t.

The difference is that now I’d never try.

I love politics and the issues I work on during the day. Surprises like the majority leader’s defeat and the ongoing shakeup in Washington give me an almost childlike thrill. I love to dig deeply into a subject and try to understand its inner workings, to monitor negotiations in Iran and attempt, somehow, to predict an outcome… but I also love to spend the whole day in the kitchen surrounded by a mess, with scorched hands and sore feet, creating something I can touch and feel. And I love to see the joy on someone’s face when they take their first bite.

I love to write about foreign policy, feelings, and completely frivolous things, and I love to write about each of them equally.

I love food, and music, and fashion, and the way my body feels after a 20 mile run. I love books, and silly magazines, and the genius of truly effective propaganda.

I love my husband, my second try and my final everything. I love who I am when he’s near. And I love our little family that will someday grow.

I love my work, and I love being with them at home. I love when there’s no work at all.

I love my self. I love the confidence I’ve gained in my still very short time on this earth, the woman I’ve become and the one I’m still yet to be. I love my successes, and my failures, and everything that’s brought me here to this still stumbling, searching, wandering through the dark toward the tiniest spec of light life that I’m leading right now.

I love that I have the strength to stand up and say that the medication I’m on doesn’t make me weak. That I am stronger when I’m not held hostage by my fears.

I love (at least some of) my body, and the way it carries me through even the longest days. I love my father’s nose, my sister’s smile, and my mother’s worried soul that keep the ones I love close when they’re so far away.

And I love that at 30, though I wish I’d learned it sooner, I know that nothing is certain. That there are no assumptions to be made. No one can fit into that box, and I don’t have to be any one thing to any one person, especially myself.

When I was 20, I thought maybe I’d become a lawyer, because then I’d be a success.

At 30, it’s not money or power or the things I own that define the success I feel I’ve had. It’s the love of the people around me.

I still don’t have it all figured out, not even close. And maybe I never will. But at 30, that’s so much more okay than it ever was before.


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