I just “celebrated” my 35th birthday. As most of us know, I did not get my birthday wish, and instead woke up on my...

I just “celebrated” my 35th birthday. As most of us know, I did not get my birthday wish, and instead woke up on my first full day as a 35-year-old to the news that shocked everyone. However, as my Grandma would say, “It is what it is,” and in the words of Forrest Gump, “that’s all I am going to say about that.”

My 30s have been kind to me. I feel like I finally figured out what my “purpose” is in life. I am passionate about my profession, have managed to get through the baby and toddler years, and am now able to leave the house at a moment’s notice without packing diaper bags, snacks, and everything else for “just in case.” I have reached the point where I don’t feel it necessary to try and be friends with EVERYONE that I meet.

Some people I am just not going to mesh with, and in my 30s I have realized that it’s okay. I understand and accept that not everyone is going to like me, and again, I am okay with that now. Turning 35 is a milestone of sorts; I’m this much closer to 40 than to 30 now. However, I have no qualms about getting older, because I feel like I am just getting better with age.

I am more patient, I am able to listen much better than I did in my 20s, I am objective, I am more reasonable, and I am also more passionate about things that matter to me. I found in my 30s what was lacking in my 20s, what exactly I am passionate about. In my 20s I was a young married mother. I worked, sent my child to a babysitter every day, and was just surviving each day at a time. I had another baby, and was happy to float along in my young motherhood bubble. You are in a state of constant nurturing, feeding, diapering, working to provide, never having a moment to be alone with your spouse. The babies are the center of the universe. My 20s were occupied by distractions on a largely maternal level.

Now in my mid-30s, my children are no longer babies. I have my boy starting middle school next year (holy cow), and my darling flower will be in second grade! They are able to bathe themselves, fix themselves cereal if I am not in the mood to cook a hot breakfast, get their own snacks, and play independently and with each other without much intervening on my part. I am no longer “distracted” by the daily chaos that is two small children.

In my 30s I went back to school, finally realizing my dream of finishing my degree and pursuing a career that doesn’t feel like “work.” I love working every day, and human services is exactly the place I need to be. I live and love to help others. I can’t put into words the joy of loving your work. It makes life that much sweeter. With a wonderful career ahead of me, my children flourishing in their own right, and now having the time to enjoy my best friend and partner (my husband), life is looking good in my 30s. My husband and I have recently just returned from our first big trip away from the children. We were gone for six days, and went to Washington state to visit my brother and some friends from Oregon. It was the furthest we have ever been away from the children, and the longest amount of time.

Surprisingly, I did not have daily panic attacks while on the other side of the country from my children! I was amazed at myself. My mother and mother-in-law each took a few days, and came and stayed at our house with the children. The kids barely seemed to miss us, but when we returned it was a love-fest. Sometimes it’s good to have your children miss you!

I am thoroughly enjoying my 30s, and am finally feeling comfortable in my own skin. I look forward to many more decades of living, loving, and learning. Peace to all of you.