Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Turning 30

30 is fast approaching and I keep telling myself to be cool about it. It's a bit ironic that I even mind, since I've never really been "young at heart." Mom likes to joke that I was a 50 year-old in a 5 year-old's body. I was wound incredibly tight in my teens and just wanted to grow up so people would "take me seriously." In fact, even now I think it would be just perfect to simply stay 25.

Perhaps 25 sticks out for me because I think that's the time I really came into my own. My early 20s were a muddled struggle to figure out my place in the world. I recently read some poetry and other writing from college and saw such sorrow and uncertainty. I am so grateful for those struggles, though, because working through them strengthened my confidence, my testimony of the Savior, and my empathy for others.

When I married Tim at 25, I took it as an opportunity to change more than my name. I'd made so many changes personally and felt exhilarated by the chance at a new start. With marriage came a myriad of other changes: a new apartment, new job responsibilities, a new ward at church, and a new people to meet. I discovered that Mindy Farmer could shed the old burdens that weighed me down and present myself anew.

I decided that Mindy Farmer would enter a room with confidence and spend less time worrying about herself than Mindy May did. This is probably not a secret to anyone else, but it was a revelation for me: When you focus on others, you don't worry so much about what everyone else is thinking about you. When you behave confidently, you feel confident. When you have positive expectations, you see the blessings of life unfold around you.

Tim inspired this quite a bit: being with him is so wonderful because he personifies "what you see is what you get." Because he is naturally open, he doesn't approach others with suspicion. I used to waste so much time worrying about what other people were "really thinking" or overanalyzing motives, basically letting my insecurities rule me. I armed myself with sarcasm and pushed my way into a room before anyone could push me around. This, of course, caused people to put up their guard. When I started approaching people differently and expecting the best of them, I felt incredibly free.

I've truly learned to love my life over the past few years. I grew professionally, learned the joy of marriage, and became a mother. Life has been far from perfect, but that's perhaps what's most wonderful about it. When I consider the past few years, I remember it with such joy and gratitude. We experienced frustrating times, but I don't isolate them as "bad times." Instead, I include them as a part of a collection of wonderful experiences that have helped me to experience new things, develop new skills, grow as a person, and enhance my family relationships.

Perhaps the truth is I've been looking at turning 30 all wrong. I look back at the past decade and recognize so much growth in myself and changes in my life. I can also see so much more that I want to experience and learn in the coming decade. Who knows. Maybe when I turn 40, I'll think the ideal age is 35.

No comments: