On Turning 30…

ImageAs a teenager I couldn’t wait to be “grown”… The idea of having total and complete control over my life seemed so appealing and I often fantasized and bragged to my girlfriends about what life would be like when I “grew up…”

By the time my twentieth birthday rolled around I had a high tide, low tide thing happening. Intellectually – my college years were the best of my life. I was learning so much and growing exponentially on almost a daily basis. I was connecting with people who would turn out to be my friends for life. I was learning to navigate life in the big city by elevated train, public transit bus and my trust flats. However I was also knee deep in a bad marriage… hiding behind a dry wall of security and familiarity. A low tide… I watched as the flash flood started to cover my flats and almost knocked me off my feet…

During my twenties I spent a lot of time looking around… I constantly felt like like I had to prove myself… I often felt like an outsider… and my actions were largely shaped based on how they would appear to others.

Shortly after turning 25, I met a guy who told me, “I don’t really want to hear about your problems if you’re not going to do anything about them.” I felt a ball of emotions… initially it was “who does he think he is?” then it is “how come he won’t listen?” and then it was “wait… he’s right.” Before that moment I was in control of every other aspect of my life… I decided to pursue a college education. I decided that I would major in Education. I decided that I move to Chicago… and for whatever reason I had allowed myself to separate the ownership of the reality that (despite my intuition telling me “NO!!!”) I decided to get married at the age of 19, and I was also deciding to stay & be unhappy.

I was a great gardener in my twenties and those seeds were all over the place… It went from starting a brand new school, to a scrapbooking business… to an editing company… to a fast food restaurant… to a political campaign… to nonprofit A… to nonprofit B… I was watering gardens all over the place… some of those gardens grew weeds… some of the crops died… some of the gardens are still standing to this day. 

I’ve only been 30 for all of 21 hours now so I haven’t really processed what it means, nor do I have the experience yet to talk about how the thirties are different from the twenties. I do know what I’d like to see in the next decade.

In the next decade I want to spend little to no time looking around, and more time looking in the mirror and more time looking to the sky and bowing my head. I want to compete with and be better than myself. I also want to rely more on God’s promises and seek him more in all things.

I want to do more travel… Intellectually, nothing has matched those four years I spent in college. I believe that if I travel to new places… breath air that I’ve never smelled before… see things I’ve never seen before… I will grow and change just as much as I did in college.

I spent a lot of time pouring foundation during my twenties and watering those gardens. In my thirties I’d like to build… solid brick structures financially, as a property owner and as a change agent. I want all of the structures I build to last my entire lifetime and beyond.

I want to train and share as much of my knowledge & resources as I can. I want to be the reason someone enjoys getting up coming to work each day, I want to help people discover their passion and I want to be a source of positive inspiration and support in the lives of others.

I want to move away from a spirit of entitlement of what I should have and what I am owed… to a spirit of gratitude and fluidity. I want to embrace every lesson good or bad and I want to be so fluid that when faced with challenges I’m never completely broken or permanently down.

I have been blessed with a very good life so far… I have a beautiful home to come home to everyday… I have a loving and supportive spouse and life partner who empowers me… I have “bonus” children who look up to me and who love me and accept me as someone who is important in their lives… I have a career that provides a paycheck every two weeks with good health care… I have a car that starts every time I put the key in… I have a refrigerator full of the type of food I like to eat… I feel blessed to enter into a new decade because so many others aren’t even given a chance to live and I pray that my thoughts, my energy and my time are devoted to the mission and purpose for which my collection of DNA & combination of atoms were sent here to this earth…

3 thoughts on “On Turning 30…

  1. Donnie you are such an awesome young woman. I can remember when you were a little girl and my mom and your grandmother would spend Sundays together! Continue to plant your seeds and water them, you are an inspiration to many, young and old! I hope I remain on this earth to continue to see you stirring up the gifts that GOD has given you.

  2. I loved reading this! I am currently in the “looking around” phase in my life. Approaching 25 years old I’m now looking foward to the next 5 years instead of dreading them!

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