© Unretouched Me, Lucia Saldarriaga Photo
I was born on a Monday, thirty years ago. Two weeks have passed since I celebrated the beginning of a new decade. As a quintessential Virgo, of course I prepared by drafting a much needed color-coded list of things I’d love to achieve as I move into this new phase of my life (for the record, some of the goals on my list includes: getting my pilot license, PADI scuba license, more volunteering, earning a masters degree and one day being fluent in five languages).
It feels pretty surreal to realize that my twenties are over. From a wider lens, I can’t believe how much time has passed since I graduated high school, let alone college. Time travelling a bit, I was seventeen when I graduated from high school. During the graduation ceremony, I was flush with optimism, nerves and excitement as I realized I was heading off to Washington, DC. But even at seventeen, twenty-five, let alone *gasp* thirty seemed “ancient” and so “adult” (I’m laughing to myself as I type this, thinking about how ridiculously inaccurate that was).
Fast forward to college graduation and I remember it being a balmy May morning on the Mall in Washington, DC. There I was, sitting on the green with my classmates, ready to close another life defining moment in my educational and personal career. I had faced some genuinely intense adversities throughout college. Even now, there are days when I’m surprised by how much I could overcome and not just what was demanded of a rigorous course of study, but deeply personal trials and tribulations, first failures and many growing pains in between too. Anyway, I remember Former First Lady Michelle Obama imparting her wisdom upon my graduating class that we were are capable of so much, and many of us (myself included) were and are interested in giving back to our communities in many capacities.
Besides the graduation memories, I’m not sure if this is uniquely an American preoccupation, but I think there’s a weird obsession with the number “thirty”. Many of my friends back in the states kept half joking and saying things about being “old” or an “old lady”, but I think it’s quite funny! I genuinely feel the exact opposite! A quick Google search reveals that there are certainly scientific studies and publications analyzing the research about women’s declining desirability at thirty. But first of all, I say haha, so what? and that I disagree. I noticed that as I entered this new decade, I am imbued with this unshakable self-confidence and belief in my capacity that definitely didn’t exist in my twenties. It’s like all of the business of proving my worth and jumping (especially) through social hoops, are so unappealing.
The Friday night of my birth week (my close friends are busy people and couldn’t make all of the celebrations on one night, so I had two mini-celebrations and a big dance filled night) was spent in Prague. I re-wore my favorite red dress (what’s the point of having lovely clothes that make you feel wonderful, if you don’t re-wear them?) and Swarovski earrings/necklace that were a gift from my dad from a few years ago. My closest friends and I started the celebration at Black Angel’s Bar -which is by far my favorite bar in Prague. I visited it almost a year ago and hadn’t been back since then-. I indulged in their “Bohemian Manhattan” which had a Harry Potter like magical twist and Becherovka finish. My friends surprised me with the most gorgeous bouquet of two dozen roses and we hopped around Old Town Prague and danced the night away until the wee hours of the morning.
© Lucia Saldarriaga Photo
I can’t quite explain it but it feels like there is this new wave of confidence and understanding of who I am as a person, as a grown woman. I feel consistently and infinitely healthier, more energetic and like I genuinely prioritize my own self-care in a way that I absolutely took for granted in my twenties (the list of very intense sports injuries, consistent sleep deprivation and other health scares and harm that I endured).
However, I think there are still traces of my younger self and “inner child” sprinkled in with this new and improved “adult” me.
Make no mistake, I certainly wouldn’t trade in any of my positive or negative experiences from my twenties, because they have helped define who I am today. I am so ecstatically happy and grateful to be alive, and thriving and to make it to thirty.
With that, I think thirty looks great on me (hehe)! So, here’s to aging like a fine wine, abundant health, dancing the night away with friends, and most importantly, unbridled love.