Thursday was my 30th birthday.
It was the last of the big birthdays. I know every decade after thirty is sort of a milestone in its own right, but most of the significant birthdays come before this one: 1, 13, 16, 18, 21, 25. They all measure some sort of cultural or social achievement: being born, becoming a teenager, driving, voting, drinking, being able to rent a car. And 30 is the age at which one truly reaches adulthood, whether she likes it or not.
I do like it, though. I'm actually kind of excited about 30 and all the years that (hopefully) come after this. Thirty brings with it a sense of accomplishment and, in many ways, stability. Not stability in terms of finances - although we are certainly more stable in that regard than in previous years - but stability in terms of having survived my youth largely unscathed and come out on the other side just a little bit wiser.
It's a strange feeling. Being thirty is almost like moving across the country: Every place where I have lived or loved or cried or rejoiced will always be present with me, in my memories. And they will always exist. But I will never live in those places again. I'm here now, and this is my home. This age of motherhood and marriage. This age of writing and serving. This age of looking back to the people coming up behind me and reaching out, because they'll need someone to help guide them the way I did. The way I still do, everyday.
If my next thirty years are anything like the first thirty, then I've got a lot to look forward to. So cheers! Here's to another three decades of this crazy, messy, lovely thing called life. And thank you to everyone who has helped make it so special.