At the end of the summer, I’ll be 31. Still a baby in the grand scheme of things, I know. Still so much to learn.
So many people fear 30, like it’s some space-time continuum that magically causes all metabolism and fun to close up shop. But I’ve had almost a year in this new decade and would pick who I am now over who I was at 20 any. day.
These are the reasons why.
My people know how to celebrate well. Period.
A week in which I experienced the biggest outpouring of love ended with a party our community group threw for our big news and the journey leading up to it. This, after two of said friends left a gift bag with a rainbow of office supplies and a giant slice of Tuxedo cheesecake on our porch the day I announced my contract. (They speak my language, y’all.)
We ended the week deliciously full of grilled chicken, veggies picked fresh from the garden, and homemade blueberry bread pudding. Full from watching our kids laugh and play in the sprinklers with their friends until a summer storm rolled in.
To borrow a phrase from Taylor Swift, this is the definition of true squad goals. Friends that will create a five-person assembly line when a newborn who doesn’t belong to them has a diaper blowout. It’s dessert on your doorstep, a random text message, or a surprise package in the mail when you’re going through a thing. Celebrations for the significant and everyday wins.
You might think I’m getting all nostalgic about what I have at age 30, but it’s more about what was missing that night — what I thanked God was missing.
In my teens and twenties, my people-pleasing gene was out of control. I had a deep fear of missing out and wondered why I didn’t connect with everyone — not because I wasn’t satisfied with my own people, but because I had this insecurity that I wasn’t enough for the others. That if they didn’t approve, there was something wrong with me. I spent so much time on this archaeological dig, the mission of which revolved between trying to figure out what that was and trying to figure out who I should be instead.
The other night, as we drove back into the city during a lightning-studded sunset, I realized that ever-present twinge, the curiosity and fear of missing out wasn’t there. And when did that even happen? At 30, I’ve learned that it’s about quality instead of quantity. It’s about loving and serving my Ones well.
And also, it’s about getting over myself a little.
Though I believe there’s value in every learning process, I wish I could tell 20s Laurie that it’s so much less pressure when we stop trying to be all things for all people and not to worry so much because the only ones that matter are the ones willing to embrace our particular brand of weird.
I love this conglomeration of people from past and present, from work and worship and school and writing and parenthood. It’s an ebb and flow rooted in seasons and settings, but it’s imperfect people loving and celebrating well who I can invite through my door and trust with my mess.
Here’s to friendship at any age that shows up,
that feels like welcome,
sounds like grace, trust, and intention,
looks like meeting needs — even when it means calling each other out.
Friendship that’s never too proud to ask for forgiveness,
asks only the questions that matter,
and adds lots and lots of laugh lines to your face.
Maybe you’re reading this closer to 20 and already have this stuff figured out. I’m proud. Or maybe you remember learning this at 30 and are all, Oh, girl, you have so much to learn.
Bring it. I can’t wait.