On July 9th I turned 30. Yikes! To many people that seems so young – and I guess it is! But so often people use 30 as a milestone, when youth runs out and something is expected of you. In your teens and 20s most birthdays are exciting because you hit some milestone –but 30 is the first real birthday that makes you feel like you should be maturing. You are supposed to feel like an adult – or something…
Though it’s a bit anticlimactic for me because most of my friends have already turned 30, this is the first time I’ve really reflected on my 20s (because, you know, I was always the one still in my 20s!).
I had my injury when I was 19, meaning I spent my entire 20s in a wheelchair. That’s an important decade for everyone—graduating college, first career, sometimes a wedding, moves, sometimes a second career, if you’re ready and lucky, maybe a kid or two! Putting myself in the shoes of my 19 year-old self, the day before my injury, and I would have said “I have my entire 20s ahead of me”, without even thinking about turning 30. Suddenly everything became focused on one day at a time. This was Saturday, suddenly I became 30!
Do I feel like I missed out on my 20s being in a chair? Not at all! I hit all the milestones with joy: graduated, first career, back to school, got married, second career, moved 4 times, now have a kid! I’m blessed that all of this has happened for me.
Do I wish I had spent some of my 20s out of my chair? Well, of course. Everyone would prefer not to be in a chair. I would have liked to continue playing soccer, going for hikes, traveling spontaneously. But these things were only frustrating in the moment; they’re the little things. There are so many other cool things I was able to do because I’m in a chair. Sometimes people would also prefer to be taller or not need to deal with some personal struggle, but I’m happy because the big things have worked out and the little things keep it fun.
Do I feel 30 (aka grown up)? Hell no! I still have to sort of pinch myself and wonder secretly if I’m qualified (meaning old enough) to be a licensed primary care provider, a mother, the figurehead of an awesome non-profit. Maybe everyone feels like this forever. Maybe when I turn 40 or 50 or 60 I’ll start to feel like I know what I’m doing but probably not (my dad just turned 70 and he has no clue ;). I imagine that each era in your life throws something new at you and you are constantly feeling like you are continuing to learn and figure things out. For now though, I feel very lucky that I’m where I am in my life. I can’t wait to see where the next 10 years take me!
So for those who are interested here is the Dylan update (and for those who don’t care that much feel free to stop reading, I get it!). We have continued to have issues with her feeding and her fussiness. We are wondering if she has an allergy to something I’m eating so we’ve finally decided to stop breastfeeding and try a test period with a hypoallergenic formula to see if that helps. I will continue to pump and cut things out of my diet (like dairy and soy) so that hopefully if the formula helps I can start breastfeeding again if we can figure out what she is allergic to. Dylan has also started smiling a lot which has been very fun. When we are at our wit’s end (particularly at night when she won’t sleep) she will flash us a big smile and it makes it all worth it! We love watching her grow (albeit slowly) and change. We’re hopeful that with the switch to this hypoallergenic formula she will be even happier!