Embrace: Thirty

It’s magic hour here in my living room. It’s just before sunset, and the light is perfect. Terrence Malick shot almost all of Days of Heaven during magic hour, which is really about half an hour, and it’s one of the most beautiful films ever captured on celluloid.  The entire day was spent setting up and then for 25 minutes, they shot. It took months. And it was worth it.

Today I turn thirty.

My daughter is hugging me from behind, arms around my neck, chin on my shoulder. My wife, lovely in her first short dress of the spring, is laughing at something on her laptop. My best friend, Melinda, is sitting on the couch in a scarf and hoodie, because she prefers rocking those to dresses. Her sister Bernadette, my new friend I’m really going to like becoming old friends with, is asleep on the couch beside her.

I’ve spent a couple years wondering how my heart would be with turning thirty. My birthday is important to me. It’s a day of self-reflection, and a healthy bit of self-celebration. I like me. But the thought of leaving my twenties behind and what they represented was admittedly hard, and not really for any terribly poetic reasons. The reasons were the same as they would be for anyone. I don’t want to lose another piece of my youth, to see a little more of my future become my past, to see a few more possibilities lost to maturity.

But the last year of my twenties has really been quite a year.

We’ve left a church. We’re seen friendships fade. We’ve faced a few dark places within ourselves. We’ve made new friends. We’ve seen one of those grow to a much deeper place, and embraced the crazy path of letting that friendship become the seed for a greater space of community in our lives here. We’ve celebrated our first ten years of marriage, and looked ahead to the next.

I’m very okay with turning thirty at exactly the age I am right now. I’m not in my twenties anymore. Just a little bit more of my future is behind me, a few more steps along the path have been walked, and there are fewer now ahead. It’s okay to grieve the younger versions of ourselves we won’t meet again. We keep them with us if we let ourselves really see them for who they were. Rilke said Every true happiness is the child of a parting it did not think it could survive. I’ll miss my twenties, miss what they represented.

But sitting here right now, people I love and the light so right and the year I’ve had and the one I look ahead to, I’m ready.

Thirty is with me, and I’m embracing it.

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4 Responses to Embrace: Thirty

  1. Alise says:

    So glad that you had a great birthday. I look forward to seeing what the coming years give to you and what you can give to us as a result.

  2. shan k says:

    That Rilke quote needed to come my way. Thank you for loving your life and embracing your crazy. It helps me feel safer in my life and crazy.

  3. Well, happy birthday, David!

    I missed the earlier post about embracing the crazy (just read it), and it sounds like a cool thing. In a lot of ways, I think that sort of lifestyle of community is a pretty close to how Jesus lived… not that I expect you to become an itinerant teacher and heal people, etc…. the sharing life with friends aspect is great.

    As far as getting older goes, the only real difference is in that list of experiences that we carry with us. I’m over 50 now, but looking back, I’m really the same guy I was in my 20′s… I just have more responsibilities, more worries, more experiences that I can reflect on, etc. That, and I’ve got no hops (ie, my basketball skills have seriously eroded), so what I do physically is not what it was (though if I really made that a priority, it wouldn’t be that big of an issue.)

    Happy birthday. Continue to enjoy the journey!

  4. .~mama~ says:

    I hope that turning 60 this November treats me as kindly as 30 did you!

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