30. Treinta. XXX. Three decades. No matter how it’s spelled, spoken, read, written, in English or Spanish, I’m now THIRTY years old.
For the six months leading up the 29th-plus-one anniversary of my date of birth, I struggled internally with the fact that I was rapidly approaching the aforementioned, unmentionable age. My twenties were over. Done. Gone. I was about to take my first baby steps as the newest member of the 30s Club.
Growing up, I never envisioned what it would feel like to be three decades old. I had no idea what 30 would feel like. The only thing I knew was that being 30 meant I was a full-fledged adult. And getting older. And older. And older.
I remember my parents being in their thirties and thinking they were so grown up and responsible for so many things. While my biggest concern in life was whether I was going to be picked last for backyard baseball or first in Red Rover, my parents were dealing with car payments, getting food on the table, keeping a roof over my head, and all the things in between.
Then, there I was — standing at that same door– about to take tiny, timid steps into the next decade of life, and scared as hell as to what lay waiting for me over the next 3,650 days.
It had been my personal ongoing struggle of Denial versus Father Time — a struggle Father Time never loses. With each passing day, the grip grew tighter and tighter, until the inevitable victor extinguished the final flicker of hope at 7:11 a.m. on March 6, 2014.
The battle was over. Denial was no more.
There I stood: a 30-year-old man. There was no denying it. The struggle was over, and I was forced to begin my first day as a member of a club I had spent the previous six months dreading and loathing.
I was tired. A six-month battle had just come to an end and it was time to face the inevitable. But as I began preparing myself for the day that lie ahead, I closed my eyes and spent a silent moment speaking to the one who blessed me with the ability to enjoy 30 years of life.
After a quick prayer, I opened my eyes.
Like coming up out of the water for the first time on Baptism Sunday, I felt different. New. NOT thirty.
I wasn’t tired; I was energized. Not defeated; determined. Not lethargic; excited. And, maybe most importantly: not old, but YOUNG. I was ready. I grabbed a shirt and tie from my closet, determined to make my first day of thirty look good. I hurried over to my better half, who had spent countless hours the night before forfeiting priceless moments of sleep to make my first day of thirty special, and I gave her a big wet one and thanked her for her generosity and work that made my morning spectacular.
As I continued through the next 24 hours — Day 1 of 3,650 in my thirties — I enjoyed laughs with coworkers, decadent celebratory desserts, two softball games (that made me feel twice my new age), and priceless time with loved ones who proved to me that thirty really is just a number.
As a two-day veteran of the 30s Club, my feelings on the previously unmentionable age of 30 have done a 180. I’m excited about being 30. I’m proud of my twenties and the things I learned and accomplished along the way, but I’m excited and looking forward to what’s in store over the next 9 years, 364 days.
The six-month struggle was one I was incredibly fearful of losing, yet knew was not winnable. Today, I’m excited to have lost.
Why? Because I’m 30. THIRTY! No matter how it’s spelled, spoken, read, or written, I’m now THIRTY years old.
And it’s going to be one helluva fun ride.