Updated: Jan 8
It’s Sunday morning. I wake up at the ass - crack of dawn naturally now. At one point my worst nightmare, waking up before 6:30am is the new regular. My internal clock has been conditioned by 2 babies in the last 4 years. It’s the only quiet 30 minutes I’m going to get all day, so rise and shine self! If I move quickly, maybe I can get a full cup of actual warm coffee down before the girls wake up. The thought is exhilarating.
I didn’t get a full cup of hot coffee down, but I did get through a fresh row of last night’s snapchat updates, before making my 4 year old breakfast. (Today, I “made” Fruity Pebbles.) A whole slew of funny video clips, and adorable, filtered images of my girlfriend’s at last night’s party. The kind of party that used to give me a severe case of FOMO. Back when I could hang.
The mere fact that I can no longer hang used to bother me. I’d wake up, view bits of what I missed, and feel a huge sense of regret, imagining all of the hilarity & craziness I wasn’t there for. I’d be overtaken by a sense of longing for “the good ol’ days”. I wanted to be a part of those video clips. But with each passing year, & the addition of each daughter to our family, that FOMO began to fade. I’m days away from turning 29, and this morning my only lingering thought besides how pretty all of my girls looked at the party in downtown MSP last night was, “Thank you self, for going to bed by 9.”
I have zero regrets. These days, my favorite place to YOLO is on my couch with an ice cream sandwich.
It’s 7am, I got 9 hours of sleep, and I don’t have the urge to vomit. I’m well-rested (kind of), I have an extra hundred dollars in my bank account, I know exactly where my drivers license is, and I don’t feel like pedialyte and pizza are the only life force on the planet today - Well, pizza is always a life force.
Almost 30 year olds like to joke about this phenomenon. They say things like “We stayed in to watch Netflix last night - we’re getting old.” It’s not a joke. We are getting old(er). And so far, almost 30 has been my absolute favorite age.
1. You have far more confidence.
By now, I know what I’m good at, what I like, & what I want. I know exactly who I am, & who I want to be. I like myself. Imperfections & all. I care far less about what other people think, & on the rare occurrence that I still do, things are easily shrugged off my 29-year-old shoulders. Because with age, & the mountain of once-unfathomable duties that come with it, I’m getting better at the art of letting the unimportant things go. For sanity maintenance.
2. Your friends are quality, not quantity.
Instead of maintaining 40 half-hearted, after 11pm only relationships, I spend my free time & energy putting effort into the ones that matter. Siblings become less of an annoyance, & more of a ride-or-die. The “sort-of” friends have slowly been filtered out with each life-altering change, & what’s left are the ones who still love you even when they know you’re only half-listening, because you’ve just become disturbingly aware that your 10 month old is sucking on a dirty flip-flop, & all you can think about is where said flip-flop has been in the last 5 years (the state fair, Mexico, the city bus, the dance floor at the Smiling Moose - like one time, 2 years ago). At almost 30, you know who’s really there through thick & thin. Through change & growth. There’s beauty in having a few really amazing friends. You know who you are, & I love you guys!
3. You can actually afford things.
If I want a lobster tail & a bottle of wine at dinner, I get it. Remember the times when you went out with a friend, & you were panic-reading the menu trying to find anything on there for under $10, & strategically coming up with a plan to order a free cup of water without looking too broke? Classic early 20’s. Too funny, because I was broke. I shouldn’t have even been reading any kind of menu at all. I should have been having scrambled eggs for a $1.99 a dozen in my too-expensive Milwaukee apartment for the 3rd night in a row. At almost 30, those days are mostly over. It’s worth it to be old, to be able to afford to occasionally treat yourself to upgrades... like HBO, & a heated steering wheel.
4. More beauty with age.
A few more lines on our faces, & a couple more dimples on our asses, but for the most part the cheap skincare, bad makeup, too-thin eyebrows, & diy hair mistakes are behind us, & we’re never looking back. We’ve grown into our own skins, we’ve figured out what works for us, & we’ve acquired the wisdom to leave our hair to the professionals. Hallelujah!
5. The thought of being 21 again is exhausting. & that’s okay!
I had nicer boobs, & a lot more freedom. The days were full of loud music, a lot of care-free dancing, cheap vodka, & hungover days waitressing or laying out at the beach. A blast at the time. I’m glad I have them to remember. But I sure as hell don’t want to go back, or do it all again. I wasn’t sure of anything, & there was no sense of direction. I didn’t quite feel like I was exactly who or where I wanted to be. Your early 20’s are a time of finding yourself. I’ll take the saggy boobs.
6. You love harder, & in bigger ways.
Before I get into this one, a small Disclaimer: I realize at almost 30, not all of us are in the exact same places in our lives. Some of us are married. Some of us are dating. Some of us are neither, & some of us do or do not have kids.
If you’re almost 30 with children, you’ve learned about a love you didn’t even know you were capable of. The biggest love of them all, & one that every hopeful parent-to-be out there deserves to experience. A kind of love that can change the whole course of your life, make you replace your dog, & make you feel like nothing else matters in the whole world except the safety, health, & happiness of this adorable, chunky, being that you yourself freaking GREW! (Whew, that’s a lot of love!) A love I never could have dreamed about at 21. & instead of loving my then-boyfriend for his good looks, fun personality, & throwing a good party at Stout, I love my now-husband for working hard, being my best friend, sharing the same goals as me, growing with me, & for being an incredible father to our girls. A richer, deeper, we’ve-been-through-a lot kind of love. (Still love him for his good looks & humor too! 😜).
7. You’re wiser.
By now, I’ve realized my Mom & Grandma are actually superhumans, & are usually, always, mostly right. About everything. Turns out, life experience gives you knowledge & wisdom, & knowledge & wisdom really is power. The eye-roll-inducing things they always lectured about were mistakes they once made, & didn’t want to see me make too. I did make them. And now it’s my turn to be usually, always, mostly right for my own girls. Plus a superhuman. & yes, I’m prepared for the eye rolls. It’s like a generational chain of eye rolls around here!
Fast forward a few days, & it’s my birthday - cheers to all 29 of my years! I’m in my slippers, & my favorite pair of old sweat pants. This birthday getup didn’t cost a thing! There’s red wine, & no tequila. Cliche, I know. I’m baking a grocery store box cake with my 4 year old daughter, & 2 year old niece to celebrate. There’s lots of finger-licking, & a few heavily concentrated areas of confetti sprinkles. A few tears are shed over who gets to blow out the candles. My daughter asks me if I’m turning 3, because it’s the only number of candles that I could find in my cupboard. They’re hastily stuck into the cake. Good observation M, but nope, not turning 3! Birthday songs are sung by tiny voices, & the wildest part of the whole night is a suspenseful game of hide & seek where the seeker peeked through sticky fingers, & the hider hid in plain sight. It’s 9:30pm. Definitely time for bed. & I’m excited. Because at almost 30, I get excited for bed. My last thought before I drift off to sleep is, “I AM in the good ol’ days. Smack in the middle of it. Right here. Right now. 28 has been one of the greatest years of my life. Bring it on 2-9!”
@_lifeofkaylaanne | @kaylaannehair