My birthday was last week, and I turned 29. Most of my friends are also that age now, and in the coming school year we'll all be turning 30. We've been friends since we all turned 20, so that means we've known each other for ten years. It used to be that when one of us was dating a guy who was 30, we would say, "He's so much older than you!" Nowadays, dating a guy in his 30s isn't a problem at all!
Still, though, there is some apprehension. Many people say that the 20s are the prime of a person's life. By turning 30, people might say that your prime is done, and that it's all downhill from here.
But personally, I am really looking forward to my thirties. My 20s were a developing time in my life. I started the decade optimistic, believing that I had my life figured out. I thought everyone in their twenties had it figured out. (I'll give you a minute to laugh. Done? Okay.) Eventually learned I still had a lot of growing up to do. Was I going to do the college-job-marriage-children route? No. Was I going to come out of college being the best teacher ever? Absolutely not! Did I have my hobbies and interests settled? Nope.
This decade (which is still going on for another year) gave me a lot of insight over the type of teacher I am, and the things that I have to improve in my teaching. I have lots of flaws, but I can't just settle with it - I have to actually make myself better. How I work with the kids and parents is a reflection on the school - I can make the school better by being a positive influence, and putting aside personal things and focusing on the students.
I have been working on good relationships with my peers, as well. It started well in Wisconsin, and it's still fun in Colorado. I have a good core of friends here, who aren't hardcore partiers or drinkers, which is good for me. They share the same beliefs that I do, which is even better. But we still have our differences, and I understand now that I can't try to do everything that they do. Some of them participate in Tough Mudder - definitely not my cup of tea. A "casual" hike to them ends up being several hours and pretty intense uphill hiking - not my idea of a "casual" hike. I enjoy the things that I do with them, but I know my limits.
I also can be comfortable with my hobbies. In my high school years I wasn't afraid to show off my hobbies and what I liked. I went to the comic book shop with my older brother. I did midnight showings of movies like Spider-Man and Star Wars prequels. My dorm room was covered in posters of the geeky stuff. In my college years, however, I focused on my degree and enjoyed hobbies with my friends.
Now that I'm on my own, I'm discovering (and rediscovering) my passions again. At first it was everything about Disney and Walt Disney World. Then I found Doctor Who. Then I got hooked on Orphan Black. Now I'm back into Star Wars. I enjoy all these things, and I'm not afraid to let the geek flag fly. They are things that make me happy. If they make me happy, then I am going to enjoy them to the fullest.
So as I get closer to my thirties, I get more excited. I enter my fourth decade on earth more confident of my abilities, strong in my beliefs, content with my hobbies, and happy with my friends. That doesn't mean I'm just going to settle - there's still stuff on which I need to work (keeping up with my long distance friends, for example). But I have an exciting future ahead thanks to the growth I made in the past!