Thirty-something…I like the sound of that, at least while I can still claim it! The first thing that pops in my mind when I hear thirty-something is the popular TV series by the same name back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. My parents loved that show and, although it wasn’t necessarily suitable for a nine-year-old, I would try to listen and sneak a glimpse every now and then. To my young mind, of course, the characters on that show seemed “old.” I was curious, though; like most kids, I was intrigued by the concept of being an adult with all the drama and sassy dialogue that pretend characters on a TV show suggested would be my life someday.
I’m not sure why, but my mother’s 36th birthday is embedded in my memory. I can only attribute this to what kind of wife, mom, friend, and woman she was at that age. Yes, I knew she was getting older. She knew, too, but you would never know it because she has always lived life with such energy. She loved her close friends, her neighbors, her family and her community. I never heard her complain about being in her 30’s or even passing that 35 mark. It's only now, when I'm navigating the 30's myself, that I realize how profoundly her attitude about aging influenced me. And, in a really awesome way. Honestly, getting older doesn’t bother me in the least bit. What does bother me is the fact that my little, sweet, six-year-old daughter is getting older (insert sad face). Alas, but I digress.
Life is all about change and I live a very different life now than I did in my 20's. Back then, my husband (of almost 15 years) and I lived in the beautiful city of Chicago. We did it all! We have both always had careers, but man, we lived that city life. Dinner reservations were at 9:00…PM! There were the baseball games, museums, countless bars and restaurants at the tip of your fingers. We loved the convenience of all the public transportation that were ideal for weekend bar hopping and festival hopping. Then the big MOVE! Kansas City! I'll be honest, we had reservations at first because KC is quite different from Chicago. We realized, however, that the things we loved about Chicago could be explored right here – and, with time, embraced in a new and beautiful perspective because we're exploring the city as a family.
We visit the museums, are anxious to try new and amazing restaurants, and had to be among the first to ride the street car. We attend the many festivals, concerts, and live performances in KC, experiencing them in a whole new way because we're introducing our daughter to what it means to live in a vivacious city (and she loves being in the heart of it all). As a thirty-something in KC, do I eat dinner at 9pm and stay up till 3am? No (well, okay, sometimes…when a sitter is involved.) I admit, the majority of the time we are visiting the local Mexican restaurant in the strip mall for family dinners and the neighborhood bar in our small town of Parkville for date night. But, the thing is, I have come to LOVE that too!
Does life in my 30's look exactly like life in my 20's? Not exactly, but that has nothing to do with geography. With age comes perspective, greater appreciation for life's little gifts, and lessons learned. I wouldn’t change a thing about what my life looks like right now and can only hope that my daughter remembers me as a thirty-something just like I remembered my Mom at that age. If so, she will be having the time of her life and that number will be merely an afterthought.