Thirty-One / by Kate Brightbill

It looks so much better to have only "thirty" and not "one" trailing behind. With all my friends who turned 30 before me, I immediately lost my memory on exactly what point of their thirties they were at any given time. Even my sister. I told her one time "well, you're over thirty, so I can't remember if you're 32 or 33, it's all the same to me."  I'm eating my words with this birthday, let me tell you.

My apple calendar has somehow glitched. My birthday is scheduled 87 times into this calendar, so when it was calendar alert time, my poor overstuffed iPhone made the 87 attempts to alert me at once, and instead froze on me, and waited for a reboot. My iPhone is breaking because of my age, I say.  

I was begged by four blue eyes this morning to do the "flip somersault." I said "okay, this?" and performed a basic somersault. "No!" insisted Sophie, "the real one! The big one!" I thought for a moment about the decision to or not to do a handspring for my children with no backup. I then thought about 31 on the all-too-near horizon, and that if I'm not doing handsprings at 30, what if I decide I'm too old at 31 and never do a handspring again?  Not on my watch. I did my handspring, landed it- kind of- and sent Sophie and Maggie into a fit of giggles and myself into a fit of "I need to sit now, and I hope I didn't tweak my back... or my feet... or my arms." It didn't feel good. I never really succumbed to peer pressure, so why not start on the eve of 31 with a 4-year-old prodding me? Now I know. Stretch beforehand, be sure another adult is present in case I break. But I landed it, so I'll take it as an overall win.

So how was thirty, you ask? Well, it wasn't too bad. I wouldn't call it a banner-all-time-great, but it wasn't a bad year either. It was a lot of juggling, a lot of learning, and the best job we've done of settling in one home and making it truly our home. The longest we've stayed in one apartment since we've been married is 2.5 years. We're coming up on our second year here, with no intention of moving anytime soon, so there's that. It feels so good to have a bit of consistency, you know? Here's to another seven! hah! Okay, I don't know about that... 

This is already long and I feel I've just begun. I want to make a list or two. I love lists. Here's a list of things I've learned at 30: 

  • It's good to challenge yourself. It's good to put yourself out there. Learning is good at every age.
  • Laugh as much as possible. If everything is going completely wrong in a given moment, say a prayer for sanity, and then laugh.
  • Forgive. Say sorry. Be sorry. I think this has been the biggest lesson this year for me. I've been so set in my mindset that I want to be right, and this year, I realized how little it matters. It's far better to be teachable and forgiving. We are ALL wrong sometimes and we're all going to have times where we're not there for one another, and we're all going to be imperfect. I need to forgive and not hold grudges.

Okay 31, I'm ready for you... 


Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly.

-Micah 6:8