… lo and behold … nothing happened! I at least expected a thunder clap, or a unicorn, or the onset of instant wisdom and white hair … but nothing! Nada, zilch, zip … and for some reason I can now hear Bamzigi’s voice in my head. Anyway,the point is I looked in the mirror the next morning and thought, ‘I’m 30. Wow! Where’s the toothpaste?’ I spent all year agonizing over the big three-oh and yelling at people who said it was no big deal. Turns out they were right! I should have taken bets.

I remember sitting at my desk that morning as my workmates hugged me and asked me why I didn’t tell them it was my birthday. I whispered, ‘Because I’m 30. My life is over!’ It was probably more of a wail than a whisper. But then my beautiful friend played me a happy birthday video on Youtube by The Beatles, which made me laugh, but also made me feel old. I mean, she couldn’t pick a song by oh, I don’t know, Justin Bieber?

Anyway, in the run up to the day, a lot of things happened, including the planning of a party. It wasn’t for me. It was for my little girl. See, my little princess was born on my 21st birthday, so every year as I get older, I focus on planning her party so that I don’t have to think about mine. This year we had musical chairs and ice cream, and lots of balloon volleyball. We also heard the best suggestion ever! Usually, I just put her name on the cake, and count out her candles. But this year, her uncles were in charge of the cake. They put down both our names in pink, and suggested that instead of putting 30 and 9 (which I insisted was ridiculous) we should just subtract our ages every year. Then we’ll be 21 forever! #WIN

As we were getting stuff ready, my dad asked what us girls would like for a present. The question took me off guard, but I quickly recovered and mentally ran through my January wish-list from last year. Back then, all we had was a mattress and a radio. Well, okay, we also had a fridge, a microwave, and a TV which we had bought the day we came back from Tanzania, but other than that our house was empty.

But as I ran through that list, I noticed something interesting. Every single item had been crossed off my wish-list! In two short years, and without even realizing it, I’ve managed to get everything I want, from viable Internet to a vacuum cleaner and two tattoos! I may not be where I want to be yet, but it feels good to notice that I’ve actually made progress! Now all I need is a 100th Floor Penthouse, a Burgundy X6, and enough money to retire and spend the rest of my life reading novels, listening to rock, and watching documentaries. It would be cool to clear my debts as well, but I’m a good risk, so that doesn’t really worry me so much.

Now that the drama is over and I feel relaxed again, I can focus on the rest of my plans, and on the stuff that I’d like to achieve in the next 10 years. I’d like to save up enough to put my little girl through any campus she wants, and I’d like to have enough to feed myself in my old age – which isn’t asking a lot because I don’t plan to live a day over 65. Long Story. Fortunately, there isn’t a milestone breakdown at 40 so … oh wait … crap.

I’m reading a book called Approval Addiction by Joyce Meyer. It’s interesting because a lot of the stuff in the book makes sense to me, even though I’m not really religious. She says something early on that really moved me, because it applies to directly to me.

I was so afraid of being rejected that I acted like I didn’t need anyone, like I didn’t care what anyone thought of me, while deep down, I was trying very hard to please everyone and act the way they expected me to.

She also says that when you’re afraid that people won’t like you, you subsconsciously behave in ways that attract their dislike. What you fear is what you get. Joyce says we base a lot of our decisions on how we feel, without realising just how fickle our feelings are. The main message of the book is that you don’t need anyone to approve of you because Jesus died for you. That doesn’t really work for me because, well, that’s a story for another day.

But for now, what I’m trying to do is gather the philosophy of self-love. I like the quote that says it’s hard to love a woman who doesn’t love herself. I’ve been thinking a lot these past few weeks, and I realize that all my insecurity comes from my desire for approval, and my conviction that I’m not good enough. I approach it the wrong way. I deal with my fear by eliminating the need for people, when what I should do is stop wanting them to like me so deeply. I need to change the way I feel about me, and the only way to fix it is inside my own head. Hopefully, the book will help me do that.

It’s funny, because a lot of people see me as someone self assured and confident, and in a lot of ways, I am. But in a lot of other ways, I’m just a girl that’s scared of saying or doing the wrong things because if I do, the people I love won’t love me anymore. The book gives an analogy of a crumpled $50 bill. Even if it’s dirty, crumpled, or splashed with mud, it’s still worth $50. Self worth is something that comes from the inside, and nobody can really give it or take it away.

Every once in a while, I meet someone who clicks with me in every possible way. I start to think that if somebody that awesome likes me, then I must be worth something. But when you place your self esteem on someone else, you turn them into a drug, and sooner or later, you’re going to get addicted. And then when they have to go away, you’ll have withdrawal symptoms. That’s never pretty.

I suppose what I need to do is stop placing my value on my family, my support systems, my friends, or even my little girl, because I may end up simply being a burden to them. My sense of self should come only from myself, from consistently learning to focus on my good points instead of my bad, from teaching myself that I’m here because I’m worth it and I deserve it. We all do. It’s easier said than done, but it’s a lesson worth learning, and now that I’m older and wiser, it’s a skill I hope to achieve.

♫ Imagine me ♫ Kirk Franklin

13 thoughts on “So I turned thirty and …

  1. Happy Belated Birthday!!

    You see what you did up there, where you looked in yourself and realized what you need to do for yourself? Recognizing that it all comes from within? That’s 30 🙂 It might not bring better times, or worse times, but it gives a certain self assurance that helps accepting the times, whatever they are.

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