My Next 30 Years

Today, December 9, is my 30th birthday! Some of my family and friends have asked me how I feel about turning 30, and my answer, unequivocally, is “GREAT!” And that’s the honest truth. I am so excited about starting this new decade!

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3 year old Danielle is excited about turning 30, too!

I feel like my best days are ahead of me. To be honest, my early 20s were pretty rough, and I’ve documented a lot of those struggles on the blog. Since turning 26, things have gotten better for me each year – partially due to good luck, and partially because I started advocating for myself and my own happiness. I’ve grabbed life by the balls more and more over each of the last few years and watched myself change from someone who I barely wanted to know into someone I’m proud to be.

Is life at 30 what I thought it would be when I was in the 4th grade? Not at all! I thought I’d have 4 kids (I always swore I’d be done having kids by age 30) and lots of horses and live on a ranch!  Fourth grade Danielle was clearly insane because 30 year old Danielle could not possibly be less equipped to have 4 children.

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Fourth grade Danielle was also clearly insane based on this choice of ensemble

The reality is that I’m happy with where I am right now because I don’t take a single day for granted anymore.  Like many people, I grew into myself in my late 20s and I feel more confident and sure of myself than ever before.  I don’t believe in waiting until I’m older/wealthier/retired/whatever to do the things I want to do, because that day might never come. It’s a morbid way to think, I guess, but it’s true! I’ve found that passionately pursuing my goals and the things that I really want to do and taking steps to achieve them right now has made me happier and more fulfilled than I ever thought possible. Yes, there are a lot of things I still want to do, places I still want to see, and things I want to experience – of course! I don’t feel like I’ve done it all, and in fact, knowing how little I have done makes me all the more excited to wake up each morning, because who knows what the day will bring?

The most important thing I’ve learned in the past decade is that I can only control myself, my reactions to things, and my behaviors. I have no control over the world around me and what might happen next. I can’t control how other people treat me or behave; all I can do is make the effort to be the best version of myself and see what happens. Here’s to my next 30 years!

“My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here
In my next thirty years” – Tim McGraw

26 thoughts on “My Next 30 Years

  1. A very very happy birthday to you!! You’ve figured out more before 30 than I have at 38. My 30’s have definitely been my best years and hopefully I’ll feel the same about my 40’s. Age is just a number. Hope you have a great day!

    1. Thanks so much, Colleen! I have spent a ton of time really thinking and doing a lot of introspection over the past few years. It might seem a little hokey but I think it is the reason I’ve been able to get to this place in life and I’m much more content when I’m actively connected to my thoughts, feelings and goals instead of pushing them to the side like I used to. I’m so glad I got to meet you in my 20s 🙂

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Love this post and the pictures of you! Unfortunately it took me 50 years to figure this stuff out. The best is yet to come!!

  3. Happy Birthday Danielle! Whew – December of 1985 … Loads of memories from that time (sophomore year of college for me!).

    I love your approach, and think it is really mentally and emotionally healthy. I was really concerned about structure and order when we got married, so wanted to wait and travel and enjoy before we had kids, then we ended up with years of infertility and way too many miscarriages … So while it all worked out for us, it is a reminder that your nice little checklist for adulthood seldom pans out.

    You certainly know that on the health and relationship front … But I look at where you are now and it is amazing! I am so thrilled for you personally and where you have come, for you and AJ and my hopes that you two have a lifetime of happiness, and for your health and the rationalization of what does or doesn’t work for you.

    So happy birthday again and I believe the best is yet to come!

    1. Thank you, Mike! I can definitely appreciate having a checklist and being concerned about structure and order – I can be a little bit that way as well. I currently have a “pre-baby bucket list” of trips I want to take and places I want to see before we start thinking about having kids. We aren’t exactly sure how we feel about the idea of starting a family, but we do know how we feel about traveling, so we do want to check some things off if possible before that day comes. Of course, nothing ever turns out how you plan, so we’ll see!

  4. Happy birthday, Danielle!
    I am a somewhat new reader and with every post, you get cooler and cooler to me! Congratulations on all of your accomplishments and courage to do what you want to do right now! You do you, boo! You do you! Enjoy your day!

    1. Aww, Hannah, thanks so much! Welcome to my blog and I am so glad that you are following along! It’s nice to have someone tell you that you are getting cooler at 30 🙂

  5. Happy birthday! I too thought when I was younger that I’d have four kids by now (I’m 31). You’ve already led an amazing life and it sounds like your heart is in the right place. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Noelle! Isn’t it funny how our goals and priorities change as we grow into ourselves and learn more about the world? Maybe I’ll have 4 kids one day, but probably not anytime soon.

  6. So very many happy birthdays, Danielle. I think that anyone who can kick as much ass as you have in the past 10 years, not even the past 30 years…. imagine what you will do now that you have your feet in firm foundations! I hope I will get to be a part of some of those years. Or I will just stalk you. Either way.

    1. Thanks so much, Allie! I am so excited for my 30s, and that is in large part due to people like you who have been so encouraging about what a great decade it is. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring!

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