I turned 30 on Sunday in Nashville, the current home of one of my best friends from college, Madison, and another best friend, Bri, flew out from Portland to celebrate. If your 30th birthday exists to remind you to reflect back on your 20s, Madison and Bri were two of the best people I could spend it with, since they've both seen me through different periods of those years. They hadn't met before last week, so I loved watching them become friends over the course of my extended birthday.
Before coming to Nashville, I drove down to Houston to visit my friend Lindsey for just over a day. In about 30 hours, I accompanied Lindsey and her friend, Robin, to a speed dating event, followed them as they ran [sprinted] down 3 flights of stairs after they realized speed dating isn't for them, found a hipster bar to catch up at, slept, went to aerial yoga, got a backstage tour of the Houston Zoo [she's a zookeeper!], ate more Texas BBQ, caught my first rope-n-ride rodeo, and saw Brett Elderidge perform in concert. Then I got up at 4AM to sell my trailer on the way to Nashville.
I decided to sell my trailer when I realized it's served its purpose, which essentially was to allow me to wake up on the beach in California. I've found that people keep offering to let me stay with them in all of the cities I'm visiting, and it's more of an inconvenience to find parking for a trailer than it is to have it with me. Plus it's slowing me down, and I've got a lot of ground to cover before I fly to Hawaii for my brother's wedding in April. I got a little bit emotionally attached to it, since it hosted so many good memories throughout this trip, but part of my newfound 30-year-old wisdom has been realizing that things serve a purpose for a certain period in life, and as long as you enjoy it fully while you're in it, you can close the chapter without any regrets once its over.
The same goes for leaving my 20s behind. This morning, Bri and I were talking over coffee about how your 20s are a time for instability, mistakes, trying on careers and then starting over again, heartbreaks, and late nights out with friends. As long as you get your fill of it in your 20s, you can move onto your 30s without feeling like you missed something, and trying to fill that hole when the moment has already passed. You shouldn't rush to the next phase until you've exhausted the one you're in, which is the best way I can think of to explain how 29 felt. I wasn't ready to be done with my 20s, but there were subtle cues that I was getting close to being ready to move on to the next chapter [like trying to keep up with my 21 year old sister in Vegas a month ago].
A couple nights ago, Madison asked me what I thought my 30s would be about if my 20s were about chaos and unsettlement. It took me a second, so at first I deferred to Bri, but then I realized I had a feeling it would be about honing in on my career and taking all the time I've spent unsettled to begin to appreciate settling down.
I've spent the last 4 months on an extended vacation, and the past week was like a condensed version of that with so many reasons to celebrate and explore the city. Madison and Bri surprised me by taking me to see Dierks Bentley at the Grand Old Opry on Saturday night, which was a bucket-list type of thing for me, plus it was my third country concert in a week [I saw the Josh Abbott Band in Austin and Brett Elderidge in Houston if you're keeping score]. They also pulled together a punny scavenger hunt on my birthday that led me to a yoga class, a mechanical bull, a stage to sing karaoke on, and a bar to go line dancing at. I'm lucky to have such thoughtful friends, and this entire week has made me feel more country than I have in my entire life.
I feel guilty admitting it, but it's crazy how having the freedom to have fun for an extended period of time can cause you to take for granted the opportunities in front of you. One of our first nights in Nashville, Bri and Madison were planning out a night downtown and I mentioned that I wouldn't mind staying in and cooking dinner before I realized I'm in Nashville and that's unacceptable. It's been amazing to spend so much time exploring, but it's started to make me crave stability and my own kitchen. At the same time, I understand that someday I'll be standing in that kitchen wishing I could be driving around the country, so for now I'm just staying present and grateful for what's in front of me.