26 November 2007

"Though I questioned the sky, now I see why..."

"...had to walk the rocks to see the mountain view
Looking back, I see the Lead of Love"

This Caedmon's Call song has meant a lot to me throughout the last decade. It's been blasted from my '86 Oldsmobile with the plush red seats as I left my college home in Nashville for the freeways of Houston. I sang it aloud as I then drove away with Houston in my rearview mirror back to Nashville. And it made me cry a little when I left Nashville for the second time to embrace my grown-up life in Dallas.

On Thanksgiving Day, I said goodbye to the twenties and turned Thirty Years Old. I left behind a decade that has formed me. In my twenties, I became an adult. I have been blessed with friends near and far. I began to find out who I was and what I wanted my life to be about...what my gifts were and how to best use them...how weak I am and how much I need to continue becoming a better person, friend, daughter, wife.

I admit, there is a small aching feeling deep in my chest when I realize I will never in my entire life be Twenty-Something again. I can't ever take back all of the moments I spent in college or living a carefree life of single girl in Houston and Nashville. Turning from 19 to 20 is so different. It's more like, See ya later teenage years, don't let the door hit you on the way out. But turning 30 is such a watershed moment in one's life. I thought I was becoming an adult when I turned 20, but what I'm learning is that I haven't really become a woman until now. Even though it's bittersweet, today I would not trade the confidence I have as a 30-year-old. I do like who I am. I look forward to finding out how God is going to use my little life in this world.

I love this time of year, too. Not only is the weather cooling to the soul, but it's such a time of celebration! I have several friends with birthdays including my mom, sister-in-law, dear friends Jenni and Brett, and new friend Victoria. It's so fun to celebrate them. I remember sitting on the floor of Brett's apartment in Houston in the summer of 1998 when I asked her age. She answered, "25." Nearly 5 years older than I, she seemed so much wiser, more like a mentor than a peer. Now, she is 35, I am 30, and many things have changed. I am blessed with an amazing home, family, husband, doggie, several kindred spirits, and more friends than I can count scattered around this globe.

A few months ago, I started making a list of all the things I've done or accomplished in my twenties...like "Lost 50 pounds," "Bought a house," and "Traveled to India, Kenya, Uganda, France, Italy, Monaco, and Switzerland." I considered posting them all here but decided to keep them in my journal to enjoy on my own. Who am I, if my last ten years is just a list of things I've done and seen? As I was reminded last night while reading When The Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd, who I am is not defined by what I have, what I do, or who is in my life. Because what if it was all taken away? Who would I be then?

I am thankful I can look back and genuinely smile, laugh, and thank God for where I am today. There has been struggle and sadness, and there are circumstances in my life that I would not have chosen on the front end...but everything that really matters, I have securely, and that is a gift. So really, what else needs to be on that list other than "I Learned to Love And Be Loved"? As I face the next thirty years, I hope this is the one thing I keep in sight.


A California girl... said...

Congratulations on your 20's -- all that you learned and lived through and accomplished!

And now - welcome to the thirties.
May you feel passion for something and love for someone every day. I hope the 30's are everything you look forward to and more...Just take it one day at a time!

A California girl... said...

PS. that amazing chocolate soap sits 14" from my nose at work. Love it.

Suz said...

wow, Stine. I love this whole post and it made me feel really nostaligic and got me thinking about lots of things. Thanks for sharing so much. I can't believe I've already known you five years...life is definitely better with you in it. :-) I might email you some other thoughts too.

Shawna said...

I have one more year until I turn the big 3-0. Thank you for encouraging me to savor every minute of this "last year" of my twenties and look forward to the "new beginning" that awaits in the thirties. I'm excited to join you! You have formed a noble path, my friend.

jenni said...

I'm telling you, the 30s rule! You are a lovely woman, Stine, and you'll only get lovelier in the next 30 years. Here's to Novembers. :)

themojos said...

happy birthday stine! lots of wisdom and warmth in this post...you are such a BEAUTIFUL woman!

Madi said...

i'm 23 and and am sooo looking forward to the next 7 years! thanks, and happy belated birthday! (your present is a sloooow work in progress, so maybe you'll get it when you're 31 instead....=)).