It's really something for people who are approaching 30 to take a look at what that means to them. I think turning 30 is a chance to re-identify with yourself.
Recently I’ve learned that there such a thing as a pre-midlife crisis. Thanks, social media for explaining what I’ve been feeling. Turns out that in the late 20s so many people question the point of life, their achievements if any and asking if where they areas where they want to be. It's hard to look at life with a positive attitude, not to feel that time is wasted and you could've done more. The secret that I discovered is to appreciate every single thing that you archived.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there two types of people. The first kind are making big deal out of their achievements, big or not, they can sell it as something extraordinary. I used to know one guy who claimed in vivid details that he finished school in Germany at the age of 16, got a job as an investment banker, by age of 20 made so much money that he was sick of his job, went on traveling, spent it all and then came to NYC to start a new career from scratch. There were a bunch of holes in his stories and a lot didn’t add up but the enthusiasm was astonishing. We spent a lot of time together but for some reason, all extremely fun, crazy, almost unbelievable stories always happened when none of his friends were around. Same stories we heard about girls he was dating, although strangely enough, for 3 years knowing him I didn’t meet even one. (He turned out to be gay in the end).
Truth is NYC is full of the “I’ve done it all and I’m so awesome” personalities, that often turn out to be just as lost as you are. But there is another kind of people: self-doubters, the ones for whom whatever they do is not good enough to even mention. But YOU SHOULD MENTION IT! You should be proud of everything you did, because every experience, every decision you made brought you where you are now. And maybe it's not an ideal situation, but hey, you are doing the best you can and that's enough. It's ok to be proud of your achievements, either it's a small habit that you incorporated in your routine or something grander, like successfully raising your kids. And I'm sure everyone has something to be proud of.
Turning 30 hit me hard. I didn’t know there such a thing as a pre-mid-life crisis. Now I do. Perhaps it’s due to a fact that I just had a baby 3 months ago and my life is still upside down, trying to adjust to the life of a mother of 2. Oh, and the hormones are no joke! Perhaps it’s my never stopping self judgmental side that whispers to my ear: you could’ve done so much more by now.
It’s interesting when we are in our early 20s we have a completely different picture of us turning 30 and the place we would be in the world. I thought by 30 I’ll have a house, a career, beautiful family (I nailed that one though), a balanced lifestyle, basically like a gazelle graciously going through life. I thought I’d change a world by now and be remembered. Instead, I continue to beat myself up for things I haven’t done and forget about the amazing things that I made happened.
So today I decided to do something different. Instead of thinking of something I wish I've done I wrote a list of things I DID till now. Nothing revolutionary but trust me, it will completely change your perspective and you will realize that 30 is awesome, you have so many things to be proud of, that you are amazing. I encourage you now to go take a piece of paper, a pan and write it ALL down.
In honor of my 30th birthday. 30 things I archived in my life that I’m proud of.
- Sasha. She made me a mother and turned my world upside down. She showed me what’s unconditional love is and how much patience I don’t have. (We are working on it). This little girl is so precious. Seeing her grow into a confident, fearless young lady makes me proud.
- Sia. She changed my perception of babies. She is the most smiley baby ever. That’s the first thing people say when they see her. She is just happy all the time and wants to giggle and laugh all day long. And oh my! She wakes up with a smile (something I can’t say about Sasha even till now)
- The love of my life. I couldn’t make my gorgeous babies without him. He is always on my side and supports my craziest ideas. Either it’s raising kids together, traveling, dreaming about our future, living our everyday routine, he is the best partner I could ever wish for. We are in sync and that’s all that matters.
- Bold. I felt college where I was studying finance at 16 and got a full scholarship to study literature and become a philologist with a major in education.
- Adventurous. I left Russia and moved to NYC at 21, not speaking English, not knowing anyone, with $400 in my pocket. Haha, that was true love for adventures. And look at me, I made it here
- Learn a language. I learned English by watching “Friends” with subtitles. I knew all the episodes by heart so it was easier to understand and eventually pick up the language.
- Dostoevsky. I finished complete works by Dostoevsky when I was 20, except “Brothers Karamazov’s”. Only because I felt too sad to read it all and sort of say goodbye to an old friend. Maybe it’s time to read it now. (if only I knew back then that having more time will be my biggest wish when I turn 30)
- Friends. I have very few true friends but they are solid. Hey, you know who you are! Life in NYC taught me that true friends really prove themselves in times of hardship. When you are riding on a lucky strike there will be a lot of leaches near you that will disappear as soon as you need help. People tend to forget all the good you’ve done to them and disappear as soon as their life gets fixed and on the right track. C’est la vie
- Every single person I’ve met in my life. Thank you! I’m grateful! You were there at the right time of my life, in the right place. Every person I met along the way gave me a valuable lesson and made an impact on who I am now.
- Not afraid of changes. I’ve come to the point in my life when I had to turn it 180 which I successfully did.
- Living abroad. I lived and studied in London for 6 months (funny enough, I wrote it in my Life list when I was 23 and my friend fairly pointed that the USA is already kinda living abroad for me haha well, it didn’t count)
- Traveling. I’ve traveled to 19 countries in the last 9 years and visited 44 states (that’s way more than any average American have been to)
- Musical school. I finished musical school when I was 15. 7 years of my life I hated it because it was so much work and I wasn’t naturally born with a talent. But I didn’t give up and finished it which I’m proud of. I can now impress people by pulling off few compositions, even though that’s the only thing I remember haha
- Masters degree. I got a master's degree in the art business. That was one of my biggest dreams and the condition I made to myself when I decided to stay in the States - to get a valuable education. I worked in the auction house before I got pregnant and went to never-ending maternity leave.
- Various jobs. I’ve had countless job titles and each taught me something new which I’m grateful for. From bartender to legal assistant, courier during my college years to owning a business, each left a mark on where and who I am now
- Changing lives. I can proudly name at least 2 people on whom I had an impact and got them out of the dark places in the dark times of their lives.
- DIY queen. Knitting, sewing, crocheting and tons of other crafts that I can perform at a very decent level. Lately, I’m interested in building furniture and I’m very proud of the floor bed that I made for Sasha.
- Starting a blog. I need to be more consistent with it but it doesn’t take away the fact that it’s here and it’s mine
- Extending boundaries. I climbed Elbrus, one of The Seven Summits. It made one unforgettable memory
- I did things that scare me. One of them is skydiving. I still remember when the instructor, right before we had to jump asked me to give him my number if we don’t die. Lovely
- I caught my own dinner. I got the biggest tuna I’ve ever seen in a deep fishing trip to Mexico
- Driving. Learning to drive might be easy for someone but I just got my license 7 months ago. For some, it might seem like not a big deal but it is for me. I was quite terrified of driving, I still take it very seriously and if someone tells me they drink and drive be ready to get the longest lecture from me. With fist fighting if necessary
- I’ve learned to watercolor. Still not a pro but it brings me joy
- I’ve been supporting myself since 16
- I cut 17” of my hair and donated it for wigs to kids with cancer
- Suburbs. Moving to the suburbs almost a year ago was the best decision at this stage of my life. Absolutely loving a slow pace, not crowded streets and ability to drive.
- Traveled solo. Those trips were often a reflection point, the opportunity to recharge, reconnect with me and learn a thing or two about myself. In this busy world, we often forget to stop, exhale and breathe.
- Spanish. I speak basic Spanish and could probably get by in a foreign country.
- Wild. I’ve had a very eventful early 20s. Life in NYC was wild, exciting, memorable, something that they called in a fast lane. The perfect life for a young expat with a thirst for adventures.
- Slowing down. If 5 years ago at 9 pm I would only start getting ready to go out, now it’s my bedtime 😄 being adventurous means to push it till 11 pm. I couldn’t understand why 30+ people go to bed so early. I went a long way to accept the reality and here I am now, go to bed early, take my vitamins and gracefully embracing turning 30! You're still a rockstar' I whisper to myself as I take my multivitamin and climb in bed at 9:45."
I found this exercise surprisingly positive and cheerful. It took me a while to finish since I was going down a memory lane. The first 15 were easy, then I had to put some effort, haha But after writing all of this I see my life from a totally different perspective. There are so many things I’m proud of. And just like that, not so humble but grateful I’m turning 30 and can’t wait what another 30 years will bring.
Be proud of who you are, for what you’ve done and never look back with regret. 30 is such a small number in a matter of a lifetime.
If you think that nothing important happened to you, I encourage you to sit down, take a paper and write it all down. I bet you’ll be surprised how many things you are proud of! That’s the wisdom I have for today, as I turned 30.
P.S. Oh, and one more advice - buy yourself flowers 😉 Even if you already have it from your loved ones. There is no such thing as too many flowers 😉
Your old lady,