I’m turning 30 in a few weeks (maybe I’ll already be 30 by the time you’re reading this blog) and like any “major” age milestones it got me thinking about, well, aging and maturity and the old “hey so if I’m turning 30 shouldn’t I have it (aka life) all figured out?” I had a conversation with my husband that went something like this:
Me: “Oh no, I feel all this pressure to have it all figured out when I’m 30.”
Him (he’s a few years old than me so has already hit that 30 milestone): “Your 30s is when you realize you don’t have to have it all figured out.”
Of course, 30 (or 20 or 40 or 70) are all just numbers. And 30 isn’t any more special than say 33 or 29. I think we humans just like to attach extra meaning to these decade markers. That way we have the fun of saying, “Oh 10 years ago I was doing X.” Something like that.
The thing is, probably the most “figured out” we can have in life is the realization that we don’t have to (won’t) ever have it “all” figured out. It’s not possible. Each moment, each day, each year, each decade is wonderfully different. As soon as you figure out (or think you figure out) one thing in your life, something new and maybe scary/stressful, maybe exciting (depending on your frame) will crop up to challenge you to grow in a new way.
I remember talking with an older lady in her 70s in a wheelchair when I was a teenager and asking her when you’re “grown up.” She said why would you ever want to be that? That would mean you stop growing. Even though I supposedly learned this important nugget of wisdom at the tender age of 13, it’s one of those lessons that has trouble sticking I suppose. Which is probably why I’m writing about it. To help cement it into my brain. And heart. Growing can be scary after all; riddled with uncertainty and all that good stuff. But really all of life is riddled with uncertainty. The only true certainty is how you choose to handle it.
It’s like the analogy that living in a mindful, present way is like surfing (or learning how to surf). Life throws all kinds of different ocean conditions at you. Sometimes the water is calm and warm and you can just savor the beautiful day. Other times, it might be stormy with massive waves and you’re struggling to balance and ride those waves. And you might fall off and have to get back on your board again. You might even lose your board altogether and all you can do is try to keep swimming. Knowing that no matter how rough the waters get, hey you’re in the ocean, the magical ocean, full of wonders each day. And even in the worst storm, there’s a magic there, and if you can embrace it, you just might find yourself that calm anchor in the eye of the storm, knowing that while you probably won’t ever have it figured out, that’s ok. You’ll figure it out anew each day. Each wave.