My 30th birthday was in the middle of a pending divorce. I was feeling lost, sad, and embarrassed. The birthday celebration itself ended up being fun because my incredible friends and family rallied around me serving as a welcomed distraction. Though the future looked like a scary uphill climb.
Trying not to repeat past mistakes of bottling up grief only to have it bite me later, I decided that I would give myself one year as a "freebee". I could be a total screw-up, sow wild oats, not worry about money or consequences, be irrational, and use the divorce as an excuse to do whatever I felt like I needed to do in order to heal and move forward. This year was about rediscovering myself, which did not leave room for a relationship or anyone else's issues but my own (not easy for a recovering codependent!).
I am so happy to say that "30" has met and exceeded even my wildest expectations. Turns out that I didn't have nearly as many wild oats as I thought. Acting out and letting myself be free of any constraints didn't look anything like I thought it would!
The first 30 years were pretty action packed, but I have learned, experienced, and grown more in the past 362 days than I have in all of the previous combined. To summarize this year seems like an impossible task, but here is an attempt:
It began with a week long celebration with incredible friends and my awesome sister who all stepped up in a big way.
Went to the coast with my pups for their first ocean experience and camped on the beach. Still getting sand out of my car!
Visited MIT when they hosted the Dalai Lama, and his monks. Listened to their wisdom and felt their incredible presence.
Explored Boston, met up with a dear friend, and listened to James Taylor play an acoustic set.
Rang in the new year backstage at the Willie Nelson show with my ex-sister-in-law, and got a hug from Willie as he went on stage just before midnight.
Took a "staycation" and spent 10 days and nights experiencing SXSW to the fullest.
Saw more amazing concerts than I can list, including Sam Beam/Iron and Wine, Patty Griffin and Robert Plant, Emmy Lou Harris, Ben Harper, Dixie Chicks, and Soundgarden...
Finally met my beautiful 20 year old half sister. And, ended a lifelong dysfunctional relationship with our father.
Visited LA, San Fran, Berkeley, Malibu, and Vegas over the holidays.
As I began to open up publicly I realized that I'm terribly insecure and afraid of being seen/vulnerable. I hired an amazing photographer who helped me overcome that fear.
Fought Rick Perry's oppression and brought a tampon into the state capital. ...for real, google it. They weren't allowed!
There were also business successes and failures, lawsuits, crazy people, awesome people, new friends, old friends, as well as things too personal to share. I thought "30" was going to be about getting back to my old self, and I ended up discovering someone I never even knew. I am not my old self, and thank God! Turns out there is so much more to life than I ever imagined, and I've only scratched the surface. Letting go of any "should's" and "supposed to's" has opened a door that I have no doubt has changed me permanently.
This year has been full of adventure, heartache, soul searching, loss and gain, discovery, and letting go. What started as a year to be free of expectations or consequences has become a new life entirely. There is so much to look forward to in the near and distant future, and I am excited to see what lies ahead.