The eve of my 30th birthday was relatively quiet. I chopped rainbow carrots and kale in my little San Francisco kitchen. I did not turn on the TV or listen to music. I resisted the urge to fill the space with noise. Instead, I washed the kale and peeled the carrots. I minced garlic and stirred it around with olive oil and cumin and coriander.
I listened to the sound of the knife on the cutting board, and savored the aromas filling the room.
I reflected back on my day – how busy it felt, like I was moving too fast and yet not getting enough done. How I kept having to remind myself to slow down. As my boss would say wisely, “This is PR. Not the ER.”
I carried that purposeful slowness into my evening. Letting my body and mind rest after a day of post-vacation email pile-up. Not avoiding it, but not worrying about it too much either. Sometimes you just have to hug the slog.
Much like excelling in the workplace, cooking from scratch requires patience and a methodical commitment. It requires focus and time. And if you’re going to enjoy the process, it requires slowing down and being present.
This is the greatest truth I’ve discovered in my 20s. Slowness. Savoring. It’s the truth I want to carry into my 30s. The gift I want to give to others.
I want you to know – just as I’m having to remind myself daily – that you have time. That there’s really no rush. That savoring is better than striving and calm is better than chaos.
I recognize that birthdays are relatively arbitrary. Just because you turn 30, doesn’t mean you’re suddenly older or wiser or in anyway equipped for a new state of life. And yet, they do help mark the passing of time. They force us to look back from where we came in order to see where we’re going.
And as I look back over my 20s, I can see just how much God has changed me over the last decade. It’s hard to even imagine what I was like at 20. And I wonder if I’ve feel similarly at 40. And 50. And 80 (Lord willing).
I’ve chronicled much of the journey through my 20s on this blog. Not just for myself, but in hopes that by sharing my story, someone else – whether they’re in their 20s or their 60s – might be encouraged to slow down, trust the process, and examine the story God is writing in their life.
I’m so grateful for everything I’ve learned over the last 10 years. I cherish each new truth – each discovery that’s brought me closer to the heart of my Father and deeper into connection with who he’s made me to be. I’m still working on accepting the truth that my beauty doesn’t fade as my body changes. And I’m discovering more and more that my worthiness is not tied to my productivity.
So that’s why tonight, as I mentally prepared myself to enter my 30s, I didn’t rush. I savored the smell of the carrots roasting in the oven. I sipped on the crisp white wine that remained from our trip to Santa Barbara this weekend. I worked, and I didn’t worry about “wasting” time.
Tomorrow’s a new day, a new decade. And yet it’s also the same. There’s work, and there’s people, and I firmly believe the latter matters most. So, as I take on 30, I want to keep learning. Learning to love better, to rest more, to be confident in my yes’s and no’s, to live simply and boldly at the same time.
I’m excited for 30. I’m excited for May 17. I’m ready. And I’m thankful.
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