At the “tender” age of 28, a wise 30+ year old gentleman by the name of Mr. Oliver once said to me “Your 20s are for learning and your 30s are for living.” Those words impacted me heavily, as I was not only learning a lot at that time in my life, but I was also eager to get past the uncomfortable Saturn Return phase I found myself in. Having just moved literally and diagonally across the US from Miami to Seattle, I was struggling to find emotional balance, professional prosperity and growth amidst a very different culture than my own, with a complete new set of acquaintances, and within a broken economy. I was unemployed, confused, and homesick. Reaching my 30s was an anxious goal as it carried the significance of stability for me, especially after Mr. Oliver’s words circled in my mind daily. I was embracing the learning lessons, but I really just wanted to live!
To cope with the many changes I was experiencing, I turned to yoga and was successfully reaching an internal depth and awareness I would have never expected to achieve so suddenly. I began to spiritually reach towards a higher self while attempting to get through the daily challenge of the emotional and mental transience I was inevitably living through. My ultimate goal was to reach my 30th year as a strong, successful and serene being. I therefore collected every bit of energy in me into making this happen. I was determined to shine rather than conform to the “downhill” effect most folks fear when reaching 30. And to support the idea of glowing rather than greying, I was informed of the concept of one’s “golden birthday”, where the day of your birth aligns with your age, and magical moments arise. To my fortune and surprise, I was born on June 30th.
While looking forward to embracing Mr. Oliver’s advise to really live during my 30s, I decided to set a very defined 2-year plan for myself. I sought to complete a master’s degree prior to my 30th year celebration and expand my yoga practice to promote the idea of finding myself in the best physical shape of my life (yes, my life). In addition, I was seeking to implement and practice grace in everything I did, said, thought and became involved in. Grace meant stability in so many ways. Handling anything that life blew my way with complete objectivity, managing confrontations and less than positive moments with ease, and becoming a centered person in every sense was all I wanted.
I’ve since come to understand that finding grace is a lifelong endeavor, and as much as I try, it’s not a daily possibility (at least for me). However, what matters about this aspiration is that it continues to remain my ultimate goal, and though I may stumble more days than I’d like to admit, I strive to be gentle and forgiving when I falter, while remaining humble and grounded when I’m on top. Which brings me to the conclusion of my story. I’m 30, I’m learning, and I’m proud to say I’m humbled every single day. Learning and living are not mutually exclusive. They are able to coexist in the same way we are able to coexist with individuals, emotional situations, and environmental factors. To add to my virtue, I can say that where I find myself at 30 is not where society wants me to be, nor where my pride led me towards. I’ve learned that to be happy we don’t have to fit in, we don’t have to be comfortable, and we don’t have to make money. And isn’t that the true definition of living?
User Experience Researcher in the Seattle area. On her free time, you can find her amidst friends and in one yoga pose or another.