No longer a twenty-something.

I'm not sure what I think about that.  I've been a twenty-something for so long - it feels like about a decade, amiright? - that it's weird to be in a new place.  Like it or not, age is a part of our identity.  We don't really remember our youngest years, though every birthday is a thrill then, until we hit double digits, which is it's own form of excitement.  Pre-teen segues into teenager and then we hit our twenties and it seems to slow down a bit and we stay there awhile.  There are so many milestone birthdays all piled on top of one another 1-10!  13! 16! 18! 20 and 21!  But this is the first *big* birthday in-what? Five years?  Nearly ten?

I want to say it feels different, but it really doesn't.  I mean, I'm pretty convinced that I've been sitting at twenty-five for the past few years so anyway, so thirty doesn't even seem possible.  But here I am.  And when I stop to actually think about twenty-five?  It seems like eternity ago.

Thirty is definitely NOT twenty-something.

Twenty was college and classes and friends and parties and roommates and projects and papers and deadlines.  At my twentieth birthday, I hadn't even met Tyson yet (though that was just a few months away).  I wasn't looking to meet anyone and I had halfway convinced myself that I would move somewhere out east after graduation in a couple of years.  I wasn't officially in my university's interior design program yet.  At twenty, I hadn't even met most of my core group of friends in college.  I wasn't writing as much as I do now and I hadn't realized how much I enjoy food and the process of cooking, which are things that seem so integral to my life right now.  I probably did still drank the same amount of coffee, though.  Pulling all-nighters hasn't really changed.  It's just that now it's with a baby instead of a design project (although really, both of those things are kind of my babies).  Otherwise, thirty looks absolutely nothing like twenty.  Twenty was very different.

Twenty-five.  At twenty-five, Tyson and I had been married for a little over a year.  I was working my first interior design job as a closet designer, though I didn't yet know that it wasn't going to last but a few more months.  We had moved the previous fall to a new apartment in Madison, but we didn't really know how much longer Tyson had left in school, much less what our next steps would be.  We certainly didn't anticipate having twins in another couple of years, or adding a third baby to the mix almost exactly two years to the day after that.  Twenty-five was still so fluid.  So many unknowns.

Now thirty.

Thirty is settled.  It's an interesting switch, since my life at forty will probably look very similar to life at thirty.  Of course I realize that anything can happen.  There will be hard things and happy things and new life and losses along the way, sure.  But it's incredibly likely that we'll be in the same house, with the same kids, albeit a decade older (even if kids in their double-digits seems absolutely unfathomable now).  We'll (hopefully) have many of the same friends.  Thirty is more determined, and life is settling into a pattern that was absolutely unimaginable five years ago, ten years ago.  Heck, even two years ago.

It's almost like this is my first "grown-up" birthday.  In many ways there are fewer unknowns.  Most of the big questions in life have been more or less settled: marriage, kids, house.  There's not the "where will I even be what will life look like" questions that there were at twenty, or twenty-five.  My kids will have memories of me in my thirties.  They'll start to make memories and form attachments to our traditions, our values, our family life, during this decade.  Heck, I remember my mom wearing a faded pink sweatshirt around the house, emblazoned with the words "thirtysomething" printed in teal.  For all I know she wore it into her forties.

In fact, I should ask her if she still has it, tucked away in a drawer somewhere.  I could use it for about the next decade.