Growing Pains

31. This is.

There’s something terrifying about turning 31. I mean as I faced my 30th birthday, just over a year ago, I wasn’t worried. I thought to myself, “30 will be no different from 29.” But it was. My body changed in ways I never imagined, I experienced adventures I never anticipated, and I fell in love with someone I never thought would be the one.

So much changed in my life at 30. I moved to a new state to live with my (then) boyfriend: a man I met up with once because I never thought I’d ever see him again since we lived in different states. I’ve moved plenty of times before- but never for a man or for a relationship. This was uncharted territory for me and it came with a lot of “what-ifs” and very little security.

A few months later, I was involved in a terrible car accident. Again, I’ve been in more than enough accidents in my 20s, but this one was different. I realized that the accidents I was in during my 20s was nothing compared to the pain you experience after being in an accident in your 30s. It’s been six months, and there has yet to be a solution to the pain I’m in. My body just doesn’t bounce back and repair itself like it used to. This causes me to worry about any future injuries I may sustain and how my age may affect the speed in which I recover. This also makes me so much more in tune to what my body needs as I get older. If I want to live a long healthy life, I need to care for my body with this goal in mind.

That brings me to the next change. I became more conscious of what I eat. I’ve scaled back so much on eating anything that has eyes. I began to eat more veggies, grains and plant based foods. I went two months as a vegetarian and found that though I craved red meat once in a while, I really didn’t have any difficulty keeping it up. It definitely was made possible because I am living with a vegetarian. And so cooking and eating together made it so much easier. Now, I consider myself 80% vegetarian. In my 20s, I would have laughed at you if you told me I’d change my diet this much.

I got engaged at 30. I came close to getting engaged in my late 20s, but I broke off the relationship the week he was going to ask. Why? Because I was done dealing with his infidelity. And it shouldn’t take you six months to convince yourself to say yes when you’ve been in a relationship with the person for over 3.5 years. (My best friend gave me a 6 month heads up that the ex was going to propose.) That should have been enough of a red flag to begin with.

Getting engaged to the right person (a person I was willing to move for) is so incredibly important. Time should never be a factor. Length of relationship should never be a factor. You should be able to say, “S/he is 90% (or more) what I need and want in a partner.” If that statement is true then you already know what the answer is going to be when the question is asked.

So though my 30s allowed me to experience a host of new things, it also caused me to realize my mortality. I am terrified of 31, because being 30 was nothing like my 20s and so I have no blueprint to go off of for the upcoming years. What will I experience? What will I face? What will I see and feel? How will I change?

Who knows. But I’m here for it.

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