10 Birthday Reflections From a Sober 30-Year-Old

06/09/2015 11:26 am ET | Updated Jun 09, 2016
Hidehiro Kigawa via Getty Images

As a gemini my birthday is the most important holiday of the year by far. Fellow geminis, I'm sure you can relate! We want everyone to know it's our birthday and how they can help us celebrate. June 7 is that day for me. As with most milestones in my life I took the time to sit down and reflect about how this birthday is different for me and what I've learned so far in my 30 years on this Earth.

1. I'm dealing with body changes

I was mad the other day because I felt so old and slow at my soccer game. Two sprints down the field left me breathless. Man, that's a horrible feeling when you've been an athlete your entire life. Granted, I just had knee surgery at the end of February, but I'm finally accepting that my body is changing. My metabolism is slower and my lung capacity is decreasing. Even when I do play a good game of soccer, afterwards I feel like I got hit by a mac truck and I'm out of workout mode for two days. This is 30.

2. Patience levels are down

I don't know if this is a fair one to point out since I've been impatient my whole life, but this is a different kind of impatient. I don't have the patience to wait in line at Disney World. I don't have patience for loud crowds and road rage. Crowds actually give me anxiety now. I used to love crowds; the bigger the better. Now, I'm like get me directly to the couch as soon as possible. Even laying out by the pool is better than going to the beach. Why? Because there's no people! This is 30.

3. Tiredness is the new hangover

It might be because I'm sober, but seriously, being tired is the worst. It's the new hangover. I can't function on less that seven hours of sleep. I feel all crazy. I am envious of the people that can work an eight-hour day on three hours of sleep. Seriously how do you do it? I can't. Being tired is hell for me. This is 30.

4. Arbitrary timelines are the devil

You know, everyone thinks they'll be married with two children and have the white picket fence by 30. How I thought this would be the same for me is beyond me. I do everything on my own timeline. Plus I was living a crazy selfish alcoholic lifestyle for many years. Now that I'm sober and have a great man, I'm itching for the American dream (even though I fought hard not to have it for so long.) I have to remind myself there's no rush. I've already seen a handful of divorces in my Facebook newsfeed amongst peers I went to high school and college with, and that makes me sad. I'm grateful that I am in a loving partnership and that's enough for me, for now.

5. Comfort over fashion is everything

I never thought I'd say it. I remember hearing my mom say it all the time. "Pretty soon you'll grow up and you won't give a f*ck what people think, you'll just want to be comfortable." What? Ok mom I'll stick with my heels and tight party dresses. Fast forward to now. She was right. I'm saying it: I never want to wear high heels again! Why do they even exist? They look amazing ON, but they are so unrealistic. I just had to come to terms with the fact that I'm not ever going to be one of those people who can rock high heels. My limit is three hours in wedges once a year. Give me my jean shorts, graphic tees, and snapbacks and I'm good. This is 30.

6. Remember to slow down

I've basically rushed through my entire life and look where it's gotten me: to 30. When I was 16, I couldn't wait to be 18. When I was 18, I couldn't wait to be 21. When I was 21, I didn't really care what age I was turning because it was an excuse to get drunk and party. Then all the sudden I get sober and I'm thinking, "no, no, wait I want to stay 27." Now I'm 30! The moral of the story is, life moves pretty fast and you have to slow down and soak it in. I wish I was more consciously able to do this in my 20s, instead of just counting down the days until my next birthday. This is 30.

7. I want to achieve my dreams, not the dreams of others

It's time to stop doing what I think others want me to do or I should do. I'm going to do a career that feels morally right and fills me up each and every day. Otherwise life is wasted. I never dreamed writing would be my career, but now I'm going to do everything in my power to continue on this path because I love it. Writing a book used to a dream that I never thought could be obtainable. Now it's actually something I'm going to do. Stop listening to all the reasons why you can't and focus on all the reasons why you can. This is 30.

8. Sometimes the fight isn't worth it

I always support the belief that you should fight for what you believe in. Stand up for your rights. However, at 30, I finally feel like sometimes an argument just isn't worth it. Now that I'm living life sober and drama-free, I recognize that there are some people in this world who will never see it my way. They are just hardwired to stay with their narrow-minded vision of the world and it's not my job to change it. And you know what? That's their right. I feel much more at peace not spending the energy trying to change others. This is 30.

9. I must grieve my 20s

I would be lying if I said I am happy about turning 30. It's a little sad and depressing. Even though many people have told me my 30s will be my best years, I am still grieving over my 20s. So much happened in my 20s -- lost relationships, lost friendships, my alcoholism peaked, I got sober, moved countries, started my writing career, and found the love of my life. The lows were low and the highs were high. I am embracing the pain of letting go of the last decade of my life. This is 30.

10. No one else cares that I'm 30

I'll grieve my 20s and I'll celebrate June 7 as my birthday, but no one else cares that I'm 30. It's just a normal day for most people. See, this is a new revelation for me. I used to think time should stop and everyone should wish me a happy birthday. Now I know that life goes on around me as normal and I am not so unique. The world doesn't revolve around me? Where have I heard that before...

Most importantly, I have the tools to count my blessings and deal with the bad days. I have awareness I would never have if I didn't get sober. I appreciate every little second of this life. I have joy. I feel love. I might think turning 30 is a little depressing and sad, but in reality I am the happiest I've ever been in my life. Wow, what a paradox. I am so lucky. I am looking forward to all of the ups and downs my 30s will bring. Okay 30, I'm ready for you!

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