Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"On Fire": 10 Reasons Why I'm More Than Fine with Leaving My 30s

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One of the best gifts that my mother gave me...

Was to not have issues with aging. And I don't. In fact, I find it sad that some women seem to have this extreme urge to perpetually look or act like they're in their 20s when...clearly they're not. I remember my 20s. Shoot, 20 years later, I *should* have a lot to show for it. And thankfully I do.

Now that's not to say that I'm not thankful for when people say "What?!? You're (now) 40? You don't look anything close to that!" However, I'll be honest about that too. I'm not trying to look like I'm not 40. Another thing that I adapted from my mother is "Honey. This *is* what 40 looks like. Everyone else looks too old!" There's nothing wrong with looking 40. I earned that right. I just want to look like a happy and healthy one.

Yet being that several people have asked me how I feel about reaching this milestone (by the way, every year is a milestone and being that tomorrow is not promised, actually every day is a milestone), I decided to pen my responses and then get off of this thing so that I can enjoy all the little surprises that today has in store for me.

Oh and before I begin, if you're younger than 40, *please enjoy each season*. I'm just sharing why I'm personally glad that each decade brings with it another set of numbers. I did my 30s. Completely. It's time for something else. And new.

So with that said, here are *my* 10 reasons for why I'm glad to be leaving *my* 30s:

1) I have resolved all of my childhood issues. That might seem like a pretty big proclamation but as my family says to me "I am violent about getting healthy." I come from abuse, just about every kind that you can think of (including neglect), and since I don't want to bring any of that...brokenness into my own "leave and cleave", I was very aggressive about facing what I needed to face, confronting who I need to front and even forgiving who I needed to forgive. It's freeing to tend to your "inner girl" before trying to bloom as a woman.

2) My writing gift was realized. Something that I was told, since I could remember, was that I was a writer. In fact, my "toy of choice" was shaking newspaper as a toddler. And so, to be a published author, someone who has had a byline in over 40 publications and even someone works from home now, *as a writer*, that is a true blessing.

3) I don't allow "the wide path" to influence me. Those who are close to me know that my spiritual journey is a unique one. None of it is traditional by any stretch. But when I finally decided, in my 30s, to not do what is "popular" but to really seek what is *right*, I started to grow exponentially. So these days, when people ask me why I don't do certain things, I simply say "Watch the fruit." (Matthew 12:33) Something else my mother told me when I was penning my first book is "Christ never defended himself. Don't feel like you should have to." Those are words to live by.

4) I never want a boyfriend again. (Never, ever, ever again.) My last boyfriend---which is now nine years ago---is someone I grieve even to this day. Why? Because he was one of my absolute best friends. Unfortunately, transitioning into a boyfriend made us not be friends anymore. Why? Because we were "playing house" and that's not a healthy environment for a friendship to flourish. No, we didn't live together but we did everything else that married folks do. Yeah. It sucks to get a divorce when you're not even married. Therefore, I'm not interested in "having a boy of my very own". I can wait until I am ready to make lifetime vows to a man. The man that God customized just for me.

5) I like myself (and I don't need anyone's permission to do that). I had a season (A LONG SEASON) in my life when I was in the cycle of having what I call pretty-broken-friends. Physically, they were quite attractive but internally? Layers and layers and layers of stuff. Toxic stuff. Yet because my self-esteem was so low, I was so thankful that the "pretty girls" liked me that I didn't realize just how unhealthy they were for me. Now that I see the beauty of my mother and now late-father in myself---pretty eyes, full lips, breasts that some women pay good money for, an oddly placed dimple, a six-pack (when I want it), nice hands, hips, a butt that is real and cute (focus on *real*-LOL)...I could go on and that's the point. I can now go on about what I like about myself. Physically. And otherwise. I'm finally at a place that an ex once said to me: "Not seeing compliments as revelations but confirmations." And that's really nice. It's also contributed to the next point.

6) I have *real* friends. One of the hardest things about my 30s was navigating between people who had ill intentions, people who I was ministering to, people who were needy, people I was needy for and people who were meant to be my true friends. Those who know me now know I don't use that word lightly. Knowing me a long time doesn't make us friends. Sharing some of your intimate stuff doesn't make us friends. You even saying that we're friends doesn't make us friends. Going to God about who should be in my life, in that way, and then me and that individual coming to an understanding of what we both need and want from one another *and committing to do those things*---that is the basis for all of my friendships. I also don't have draining, manipulative, inconsistent, word-not-deed, cyclic people in my intimate space anymore and I'm not that way with the people in my life now. That is so refreshing.

7) I take each day as it comes. And that's awesome. Although I am trying to take in the fact that 10 years from now, I won't be 20 or 30 or 40 but (wow) half a century and therefore, I need to be more serious about retirement, still, I no longer spazz out about where I think my life should be. My life should be where God wants me to be and I can find that out through prayer and obedience. Take today for example. When I reached 20 (more like 21) and 30, I wanted a big deal to be made out of it. Today? I have some friends who are going to celebrate with me in our own special way (separately-crowds are not my thing) but I'm honestly just thankful to be healthy and in my right mind. Well, I'll add on to that. I also like the place I live in, that I don't have financial drama, that I really appreciate my family, that my friends are reliable, that I am finally past acne (that took forever), that my periods are still regulated and my breasts have no tumors (when you're knocking on 40s door, those are both concerns, trust me) and that I feel loved by God in a special way. Not a "I love all of my children" way but a "Shellie, I have some special things that are for you and no one but you" kind of way.

8) I don't internalize other people's issues. This one is short-n-sweet. People are human and humans are tricky. What people bring to me that they want to work out, I'm open. What they don't want to bring to me and they want carry even if it's with an attitude, I'm fine with accepting their right to live in that space as well. I remember reading a quote one time that said something to the effect of "You'll feel a lot better when you realize that people don't think or talk about you as much as you think that they do." I used to chase rumors. I also used to allow them to attack me. I know who I am. That silences drama---both ways.

9) I don't let the world consume me. This means lust and pride (I John 2:16). This means social media. This means all of the things that tend to be distractions from all of us focusing on living our best life. I enjoy being entertained. I prefer to be edu-tained, though. Yeah. That definitely came with leaving my 30s. Plus, I dig that Christ prayed for his disciples (John 17) to be in the world but not of it. I am finally understanding what that means. I'm pretty aware of what's going on but I've very cautious about allowing it to shape who I am. Greater is he who is in us, right? Right.

10) I don't want sex without love. I don't want love without God. The last time that I had sex was at 32. It was some good sex too. Physically. Now? I see that I was slighting myself. I see that God has always wanted me to get "the whole sha'bang" and so I'm willing to wait for it. In fact, I'll take it a step further and say that I see that waiting is all about preparation because as I tell people often, if godly sex is better than the counterfeit, I am preparing myself to pass out! God has a godly man for me who will give me love and sex---and in that order. I want what is my divine right as God's daughter. Finally.

Well...

I'm sure I could say more but I don't want to be online all day.

Enjoy today. It might not be your 40th birthday but it's still a gift!

Luxuriant,

SRW

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