I turned 30 five months ago. I am a person who cares about birthdays. Not celebrating them publicly, as in having parties, but reflecting on them privately. Birthdays for me are a time to take stock. I’m a little late, but I’m taking stock now.
On my birthday I was three weeks shy of the wedding that I was responsible for (my wedding). I was three months into a new job (I now realize it was – and is – a new career). Since my birthday, I’ve executed the wedding (great success!), took an indulgent honeymoon in Barbados, had my annual girls’ May 24 weekend, went on several epic bike rides with my new husband, toured at least ten homes in hopes of finding one worth investing most of our life savings into (no luck yet), took a gorgeous day trip to Niagara, a camping overnight (not quite a trip) with my book club and just returned from a beautiful culture-packed extended weekend in New York City. I also started seeing a Naturopath, reading about the diet and skin connection, kicked my coffee habit completely, and have been practicing yoga about three times a week.
Oh, I also learned how to crochet. I have big plans for crocheting this Fall/Winter.
Generally speaking, I don’t think I’m very interesting. But all that stuff I just listed is pretty interesting!
And now, standing on the other side of Summer 2014 I think: all good so far for 30.
Today at the bookstore I felt like I was 30. I’m in it and I’m into it. I forgot how much I like bookstores. As a converted e-reader for over a year now, I forgot about the warm chumminess that invites glacial browsing. The bookstore is a great place for all ages, but especially nice at 30.
What does it mean to be 30? Well, I can still break down in tears in the dermatologist’s office, despite being 30 (that happened today). I can also haggle my way into airport cabs, spin a resume into anything, take care of my husband’s cold, practice crow. I cannot stand on my head, not yet.
In yoga yesterday we focused on the side body. The side body represents the knitting together of the front body (the Self) and the back body (the Divine). Stretching and breathing into the side body strengthens the bond between the internal and external worlds, inviting a great, positive power to transpose and subdue the Ego.
This morning, with all that great yoga in my body, I had this vision:
Two footprints in clay, large footprints: “My place to stand”, in other words “Where I belong”, in other words “My true Self”.
And my little feet, hopping and fleeting around the footprints, afraid of their size, their truth. Sticking a toe in here and there. Still afraid to be stable and steady and settled into That Which I Am. And they were beautiful foot prints, large and noble. Do I think I’m not worthy of them?
So I set out to remedy all of that, standing tall and safe and comfortable in myself. And then I went to the dermatologist’s office and my eyes welled up and then I burst into tears when she told me the only way I will have clear skin is by taking Accutane. I’m just not ready for that, for so many reasons. And I felt like an unsophisticated, out of control 30 year old who isn’t standing in her own footprints. I thought that for about 20 minutes.
Then, with a little help from my wise mother, I thought of this: crying is a natural process. Sometimes we tear up when we are emotional – and acne and hospital specialists and medications and healing are all fertile breeding ground for emotion. So is awakening and strengthening the connection between the inner self and the divine, like I did last night. Yoga doesn’t start and end on the mat, it’s a garment we are wearing all the time. Sometimes we forget that.
Our worlds are delicate ecosystems that crave balance, despite our vain attempts to compartmentalize.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not planning to take Accutane in the short term and probably not ever. Right now my skin plan includes gut health, clean eating, supplements and stress management. For the rest of my thirtieth year my plans are to focus on my work and my health, including my skin, teach more yoga, help take my choir to the next level with my new board seat, create homemade Christmas gifts for my family and generally enjoy life.
I will spend more time both on the mat and in bookstores – two great places for this 30 year old. And I will nudge my feet into the grooves of those clay footprints, where I belong.