Well hello faithful readers! It’s been too long. Truthfully, it’s been difficult for me to write post-election. Seven weeks later, I’m still experiencing waves of shock. Every time I begin to feel a bit better, I learn that another under-qualified person with dangerous or degrading messages has been appointed by our president elect. I’ve grieved and allowed myself to feel angry and now I’m channeling that into action. I called my senator and a few offices in DC to voice my concerns, and I’m supporting organizations who still care about women + LGBT rights. I’m also looking for new opportunities to volunteer. I may not be able to change much on my own, but I can’t sleep if I don’t try.
All that’s to say, it’s a good thing that I started planning my 30th birthday before the election because otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have had a party at all. And that would have been sad because thirty is a big milestone and I love birthdays and I love parties.
Fortunately, back in June, I started to think about the big 3-0 coming up in December and how I wanted to celebrate. Inspired by my first half marathon and my fascination with the American Ninja Warrior competition, I decided to have a “Better Faster Stronger 30” -themed party. I looked into a few obstacle courses in Richmond, VA (Richmond because I was planning to be ‘home’ for Christmas and Richmond is a good mid-point for my DC and NC friends). I ended up settling on a children’s inflatable obstacle course for a few reasons:
- they allowed me to rent the whole facility
- they had a glow-in-the-dark arena
- they offered an inflatable throne for the birthday girl
- they were (by far) the most friendly & enthusiastic about hosting my 30th birthday party.
Done and done! From there, it all came together perfectly.
This party was the most fun I’ve had in a while. I wrote on my invitation “you need this” and after such a difficult and emotionally draining month (year?), it couldn’t have been more true. We raced through an obstacle course, had a jousting match, played basketball on an inflatable court, and it was amazing.
I felt happy and free and completely myself. It was amazing to look around and see my friends from pre-school (hi Elizabeth!), high school, college, and grad school all in one room. It means the world to me that so many people took off work and traveled hours to celebrate with me.
So, where did this whole Stronger Better Faster thing come from? I think I had some anxiety about turning thirty so I wanted to plan something bold to prove to myself that thirty is cool. I also love the ideas of building strength and setting goals and conquering fears, but Stronger Better Faster 30 extends beyond the obstacle course.
In my thirties, I want to prioritize my health. I want to build my yoga practice and grow stronger, but I’m not just referring to physical strength here. I want to build myself up with strong, kind internal thoughts instead of tearing myself down. That’s essential to my well-being.
And I want to strengthen my mental health. Self-care is not selfish. I should not feel guilty about taking a long bath, indulging in some good food, or spending a whole Saturday watching movies with my cat. I want to praise myself for finding hours for peace and clarity.
I want to be a better version of myself. I believe consistent, thoughtful self-assessment is necessary for self-improvement. I want to learn how to be a better ally to disenfranchised members of my community and I want to be able to stand up for causes that matter.
And I want to be a better friend. Friends are everything. When you have a few people who can share anything with without judgement, that’s an incredibly liberating feeling. As my friends continue to spread out all over the country, I don’t want to let those friendships go.
I want to be faster to ask for help. I want to be faster to admit that I’m struggling or carrying a burden alone.
I also want to be faster to step in and introduce myself to someone. When I see someone in need, I don’t want to look the other way. I don’t want to hesitate to do something kind.
There’s one thing about this one… I want to reach my dreams with greater speed and focus and efficiency, but I don’t want to rush through life. I want to enjoy these years.
As I say goodbye to my twenties and all the things I want to leave behind (mainly my insecurities & fears) I think about all the things I want to carry with me into my thirties: humor, joy, gratitude, wonder, and optimism. In my thirties, I want to keep setting big, lofty goals. I want to dream up experiences I want to have and direct my time and energy there. I want to be a writer and a world traveler and an activist.
When I think about my mid-thirties, I can imagine buying a house or having some kids, but right now, I’m enjoying the freedom that comes with not having those responsibilities. And that’s the best part of being an adult: being able to make your own decisions. I’m enjoying the days that we can call our landlord when something breaks instead of paying for it ourselves. I’m enjoying the girls weekends and the beer festivals and the spontaneous weekend trips with Bret. I’m thriving where I am right now an I’m grateful for this life and looking forward to this new decade. More on that in my upcoming end-of-the year annual post!