Friday, February 03, 2006

Self Portrait at 30.

February 3, 2006.
Today is my 30th birthday.
Thirty! Three-o!

I've been looking forward to turning 30 since I was 12. It always sounded like a nice, round, solid number -- the magic number. The perfect age, the age of comfort and reason, at which I would finally become the person I was meant to be, living the life I was meant to live.

I'm not sure if that's the case, today, but I'm still pretty excited about the prospect of embarking on a whole new decade. My Thirties. It sounds very grown up. You can't mess with me now, I'm an adult! I have experienced no sense of dread or ennui about turning 30. On the contrary -- I feel like turning 30 is a sizable accomplishment, if for no other reason, than that I've made it past my 20s, which were kind of insane.

The last year or so, I have been feeling a slow but deliberate internal shift of my thoughts and energy, focusing more inward, and less outward. I am much less concerned about what or how people think of me, and much more focused on how I feel about myself, and what I'm doing with my life. It's stunning to me how much time and emotion I've wasted over the course of my last 30 years, caring about how other people perceive me, and what they think may about what I wear, how I live, who I am. My next 30 years are not going down like that.

I do not have a list of things I want to accomplish "before" -- before I turn 30, before I turn 50, before I die. But if I did have such a list, you can bet that becoming a mother would have been at the very top, no doubt (above "become an astronaut" and "find my real parents," even). But if you'd told me 10 years ago that at 30 I'd be married, living in the 'burbs, and a full time mother, I would have told you that you'd been rubbing up against the crazy tree. At 21, 22 years old, the thought of doing what I do now was horrifying -- just completely beyond my sphere of understanding. But here I am, just a few years later -- and I love it. Most days. I feel like I'm doing a lot with my life, raising my two girls up to be strong and intelligent women. I feel like I made a really radical choice, in forgoing "work" in order to be here with them, and make our home a peaceful place to grow and root and be. More than anything else I've done in my life so far, motherhood has changed, inspired, and humbled me. What a difference a few years can make.

There are still a million things in my life that I want to do. If they happen, great. If not, I'm sure that other wonderful things will have happened instead. I want to go back to college -- and finish this time. I want to travel with my husband and my girls to Africa, southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and the parts of Europe that I missed the first time around. I want to learn to play the drums. I want to finish The Satanic Verses. I want to own a house and paint every room a different color. I want to live somewhere that gets snow in the winter. I want to eat fruit fresh off the tree on a beach somewhere. I want to learn to knit/throw pottery/insert craft here. And I feel pretty confident that I will, at some point, do most, if not all of those things. Not so much because I'm a goal oriented person, but because I am a hardcore hedonist, who likes to to bum around the world, lazing about, reading and eating and daydreaming with my family. I'm a grown-ass woman, and I can admit that the things I really want in life are pretty simple.

When I think back to my 20th birthday, it seems like eons ago. I was so different. I've lived three lifetimes since then! Ten years from now, who will I be? What will be different about me then? What will the same? I don't know. But it's exciting to think about. I'll get back to you in 2016.


Blogger Carlos P said...

happy birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:31 AM  
Anonymous starrycharley said...

happy birthday mama! i miss you and wish i could be there to celebrate with you.

10:28 AM  
Blogger shane said...

Jeesh, you make me want to have a 30th birthday again so I can try to address it so eloquently. It *is* a good thing, and you're due congratulations for loving what you are. Happy birthday :)

10:42 AM  
Blogger lesley said...

having seen you grow up through the entire last decade (yes it does seem like lifetimes), i can truly say you have always been and will always be an amazing, intelligent and beautiful woman! now you are finally rooted in an exquisite place where all these qualities are blossoming. i love you alisyn, and can't wait to celebrate your 40th, 50th and beyond. happy birthday old friend, and welcome to the club!!

11:05 AM  
Blogger Stefania Pomponi Butler aka CityMama said...

Happy Birthday to you!!!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Debbi said...

Happy Birthday Ali!!! 30 is an awesome birthday very reflective. 40, not so much and 50 well sorry as I hit the hump of the 40's this year and am on the down slide with my hair now completely gray, no need to try to deny it and ever grateful for Miss Clairol who ever she is, as my chiropractor has now become my best friend and as yoga has become a means to preventing arthritis as the end of child bearing is clearly ahead and imminent and as I pop chocolate flavored calcium in hopes that my 5'7" frame will not shrivel to 4'7" by the time I die, it becomes a little less thrilling. Upside of course is retirement, travelling, doing fun stuff and grandchildren which are like your kids only better cause you can give them back if they are annoying. LOL. Have an awesome birthday. You make me smile each time I read your blog. You married the little boy who melted my heart and whom I still love very much. Together you created two of the most adorable children on the planet and I am so proud and happy to have you as part of our family. You enhance us and we are truly blessed. Love you all. Smooches around to all. Debbi

5:53 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

Happy Birthday. I loved reading that and wish you all the best now and over the nest decade. lots of love.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Bella Sultane said...

Happy Birthday! 30 sounds fabulous. Enjoy!

7:12 PM  
Anonymous starrycharley said...

i forgot to mention that you look totally hot in that picture.

super fine!

9:28 PM  
Blogger Mistry said...

Happy Birthday have a great year ahead.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Bridgermama said...

Happy Birthday! I wish I could've had such a super attitude about turning 30. It was crazy though, I thind your 30 was my 32. Having baby "B" made me put everything into perspective and all of a sudden I feel like I have so much figured out. Way to figure it out 2 years early than me.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Misfit Hausfrau said...

Happy Birthday (belated). I like February 3rd birthdays as it was my daughter's 1st birthday as well!

I totally get the whole "list" thing. I have a few hidden in a fireproof box in the hall closet. I haven't looked at them lately. I may need a refresher.

And from personal experience--finding one's birthmother isn't all that it's cracked up to be. I was just fortunate to have also found a sister. And she is cool.


10:48 AM  
Blogger Binky said...

Happy belated birthday! It's nice to see such positive reflections on the big 3-0 when most of what I hear from people on the verge of a new decade is more on the depressing side. Here's to another ten years of wonder and excitement.

1:04 PM  
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11:13 AM  

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