The Big 3-0.

I turn 30 in 12 days.

I’m struggling, which isn’t unheard of. But…maybe I’m crazy, because the biggest source of my frustration is that I feel like I’ve done everything I set out to do. Well, by last year-28!-even.

I graduated high school. Went to college, graduated said college. Started a teaching career. Bought a house. Got married. Had kids. Got my masters.

In my “senior spotlight” in my hometown paper when asked where I would be in ten years I said, “Teaching English, married, having a couple of kids.”

Here I am. Teaching English, married, having a couple of kids. I hit my milestones.

In a way, I feel like I have nothing else to look forward to. I know that I should set goals for myself, and there are things I want to do: travel, run a half marathon, have grandkids, but there aren’t any concrete goals that I have in my life anymore.

I used to think thirty was old, or contrarily, this magic age where you had all the answers. Fuck knows I don’t. I don’t even have control of my own emotions anymore. In some aspects, I think I was better off at 22–especially in the hangover one. Ha.

I find myself wishing more and more often lately that my life was different. That I had a bigger house, that I lived in a city, that I hadn’t been so afraid of everything and had gotten a nose piercing. For a hot minute a couple weeks ago I contemplated getting my nipples pierced.

My. Nipples. Pierced.

Is this what a midlife crisis feels like?

I feel this soul deep restlessness lately, partly because of the fucking pandemic, and partly because of the milestone birthday.

I was supposed to bring 30 in on a beach in Florida, but COVID-19 and a few tropical storms changed that plan. Now it’s looking like I’ll be bringing in 30 with my husband and sons at our home. Just like every other day.

Please note, I’m not normally a person who gets worked up about my birthdays: we rarely really celebrate, I don’t go out, I don’t make people spoil me all week. But this one feels like I should be doing something.

I wish that I could see if in a different life things were different. The words one of my exes said to me keep playing in my head. When we broke up (rightfully, it’s not like I’m hung up here, okay) he told me we wanted different things: I wanted to teach and get married and have kids; he wanted to save the world. He felt like my wants were too small time for him. But I don’t know that they were really what I wanted either. I think that they were what’s expected of me to a point. I’m a small town, small world kid. I had humble beginnings: mechanic dad, secretary mom; small town; trailer house; rural community; midwest state. You get married, have kids, pick a sensible job.

And I don’t regret the choices I made (usually) but I do wonder what would have happened if I moved out of the midwest, if I’d taught abroad, if I waited to get married and have kids until my late twenties/early thirties instead of my early twenties. Would I still have this restless itch in my soul? Would I wish my life was quieter? That I’d started earlier?

Is it really just as simple as we always want what we don’t have?

Is it just me?

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