My long-awaited Golden Birthday is tomorrow. It seems so weird that it’s almost here. Your thirties are so far away for so long that all of a sudden you’re thirty, which I suppose counts as actually being in your thirties {gulp}, and the clock still chimes on.

It’s not so bad, honestly. I am far happier at 30 than when I was 20. I can’t say I’m necessarily happier at 30 than 10, because it’s judged on an entirely different scale of relevance. Happiness at 10 was ice cream and thunderstorms and days off school, while happiness at 30 is well, ice cream and thunderstorms and days off work (plus the hubs, the kiddos, and of course, wine). So maybe it’s altogether not that different.


And here on the eve of my Golden Birthday, I thought I would write a letter to myself. Random musings about things I wished I knew way back when and notes of things I hope to never forget as that grand clock chimes ever on.

To my funny 11 year-old self, 

You are you, and that is enough. What you like today is not fundamentally different from what you’ll like at 31. You’ll try to convince yourself after high school that you are a completely different person, but then you’ll spend most of your twenties realizing that you’re still you and re-discovering all of the things you used to (and still) love.

You are perfect the way God created you. No boy or job or degree or amount of money or change in appearance will ever make you a better you or complete you in any way. I’m so glad you decided to like yourself early on, because it saved you so much trouble down the road. Don’t ever stop liking yourself, because you are so worthy of being liked. Never stop wandering and wondering. (Your daughters love those stories best). 

P.S. You do end up figuring out what a mortgage is and how to live apart from your Mom, so don’t waste your tears on what tomorrow holds. Also, eating Golden Grahams for every meal and living in squalor has far less appeal than you imagine. 

To my striving 21 year-old self, 

Stop. Breathe. Relax. Your twenties are a decade, not the Bucket List for your entire life. You don’t need an MBA or to run marathon or drive a fancy car and you certainly don’t need them RIGHT NOW. These things take time, money, and effort that are better spent elsewhere. You made some bad choices, but overall, you mostly made good ones. 

This is going to be a confusing decade for you, because you’re going to spend time convincing yourself that you need so much more to be happy, to be complete. You’re going to buy into the lie that you’re not enough on your own. God’s work in progress won’t be good enough or fast enough for you. You will strive in vain. 

Don’t consider these years a waste, though, because you were learning. Learning that your purpose is not wrapped in your job or your education or your status. You’ll learn that your purpose is found in God alone, and He already has your life planned out for you. Anything that deviates from His plan is not meant to be. That which He desires for you, He will make known, so seek Him first. They are plans that give you a hope and a future.

Trust me, it’s going to be okay. 

To my 31 year-old self, 

Happy Golden Birthday! You’ve waited all your life for today and at last, here it is.

You’re starting to pursue your purpose; funny that it lies in your strengths and the things that have always brought you joy. Keep listening for His voice as you discern your steps. This year, don’t get discouraged! Have more amazing adventures, make more time to write, and try to get more sleep. (Maybe you can finally kick that caffeine addiction you picked up in your twenties.) 

Slow down. Step back. Take a break from technology. Your “babies” are growing up way too fast. Kiss them and that handsome husband of yours. (You already can’t remember what he looked like without that mustache). Hold them tight and make memories and messes and create a life and a legacy of love. Show them what it means to have a joy-filled mom. One who builds  forts with all the couch pillows for movie day and sings silly songs about them and looks into their ever-watchful eyes as they speak.

And no matter where this decade takes you, hold fast to the promise you have in Jesus Christ. He alone is your hope. He alone is your future. Set His words as the mantlepiece of your home and the cornerstone of your heart. In this life there will certainly be sorrow and uncertainty, but Jesus remains the rock on which you stand firm. Grow in Him, know Him more, and cling to Him for the remainder of your days. 

May this be the best year, the best decade, the best life lived yet.

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