For the friends and family who have to listen to me reference episodes of Friends all the time, this will draw eye rolls and laments of “here she goes again…”.
But have you ever seen the one where Rachel turns 30?
In that episode, Rachel was apprehensive over turning 30, because she wasn’t where she wanted to be in her life. Not married, no children, and dating a younger man who had no intentions of settling down for a long time. To reassure herself, she sat down to make a timeline of how she needed things to work out in her life if she wanted to have a baby by age 35. That would mean getting married by a certain age, getting engaged by a certain age, and thus, meeting the man she needed to father her future children… now.
Cue the panicking, as her handsome young beau flew by on a scooter, looking every bit his boyish age!!
Well, Rachel. This girl? This girl can relate.
That episode had crossed my mind many times in the months leading up to my 30th birthday. I felt a little bit like Rachel as 30 loomed. If someone had asked me where I would be at age 30, oh, say, 10 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have said here.
Unmarried. No babies (which I long for). And unlike Rachel, I don’t even have that hot younger man hanging around… All I had hanging around was a very large spare tire, sitting riiiiight about my mid-section.
I’ll admit it. 30 was looking pretty scary, and in the dark days of winter, everything seemed bleak. Alone, close to the heaviest weight I’d ever been, feeling blue, & no hope seemed to be in sight… There are just things you expect to happen in your life by this age. Things that just haven’t… happened for me. Not even close.
Because of the panicky, worried feelings that the upcoming milestone birthday brought me, I decided to do something to make myself feel better about it. I couldn’t guarantee a boyfriend or a baby, but I could do something to make me feel better about me.
On January 7th, roughly 7 months before my 30th birthday, I embarked on my “30 Before 30 Project”. The goal: To lose 30 lbs. before my 30th birthday, in hopes that my spirits would be buoyed and that I could actually enjoy my birthday instead of dreading it.
As anyone who has been reading this blog already knows, the “Project” went well. SO well, in fact, that I lost the 30 lbs. long before my goal date, and thus changed it to the “50 Before 30 Project”. And I was able to reach that goal well in advance of my big day, too.
On July 28th, officially at “30 years young”, I had actually lost 62 lbs.
And while I might still be single, and still not entirely thrilled about where I am in my life, overall I have to say I’m feeling amazing.
No matter how much I’ve weighed over the years, I’ve always known I was well-loved. Even if I hadn’t shed that much weight over the past 7 months, I know my family & friends would have still made my day as special as they possibly could.
I have awesome people in my life. And I am so so grateful to them for helping me celebrate 30 in such fun & wonderful ways!
Some of my girls had planned to take me out to dinner in the Market in Ottawa on the 27th, and a few weeks beforehand, my friend Lindsay also told me to “just plan not to be home at all” that day. Her birthday surprise to me? A day spent at Le Nordik Spa. It was my first time there, and ever since that day, I haven’t stopped dreaming about going again. It was amazing. We spent the morning trying out the many different saunas, baths, and relaxation areas, before enjoying a delicious lunch on their patio.
After some more relaxing after lunch, we were off to meet the girls for our evening out in the Market…
This portion of the evening still makes me giggle every time I think about it. We all traveled to the city in my friend Sara’s mini van, and dined on the patio at the Hard Rock Cafe. My 30th birthday dinner? Fish & chips. Anyone who knows me will be baffled. Since when does JILL eat FISH?? Well, I’ve started to try it out recently, and discovered I actually like fish – or at least, some kinds of it - and decided I’d do something “different” for 30! (The good news: it was YUMMY!)
After dinner & visiting, we strolled around the Market, and had delish cupcakes from The Cupcake Lounge. Following that, my friend Sharon asked if we could go to Chapters to browse for a while, and then she wanted to go to Forever 21. The rest of us had a riot in there while Sharon shopped – finding some of their more crazy styles and wishing we could buy them! ;) (STILL wish I’d bought that bathing suit. MAN!)
I’m still not sure how I didn’t realize that the girls were purposely delaying things – I mean, the fact that Sharon made Linds detour to a “cleaner” Tim Horton’s so that she could use the washroom, and that Stacy made us detour by a house that had burned down…these SHOULD have been big hints – but I didn’t catch on at all. I recall being a little baffled when the girls impulsively decided that we should go bowling in Aylmer, but I still had no clue that another surprise was in store… Not even when my cousin & her husband drove by us just as we were arriving at the bowling alley! haha!
I walked in to find a circle of family & friends who all started singing Happy Birthday, while all I could do was laugh and shake my head. :) Unbeknownst to me, Luke & Amanda had organized this surprise for me and had co-ordinated with the girls to make sure I didn’t get there until after 8 PM. (hence, all the crazy stops and detours over the course of the evening!)
I had a blast seeing so many of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who had come out to share my 30th with me. I just couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!
My actual birthday the following day was a little more low-key. We went to church, out for brunch, did some last-minute vacation shopping in Shawville, and then ended up at my brother’s for a take-out Chinese dinner. The evening was spent doing laundry and getting packed up for a few days away at the Camp!
I’ll do a different post to re-cap the vacay at the Draper Camp soon, but everyone knows that I like to drag my birthday celebrations out as long as possible. (Strangely enough, this desire hasn’t really diminished with age…) And so I was thrilled to discover that my family had planned yet another birthday party for me at the Camp! More aunts, uncles & cousins, as well as all of my immediate family, made their way by boat to the Draper Camp that following Tuesday. Another wonderful meal, more delicious cupcakes, and just a fantastic day spent with loved ones at one of my most favourite places in the world. I couldn’t have been happier!
I can honestly say that 30 felt fabulous.
Would it have been this great if I’d still been the weight I was back on January 7th? I have no doubt that I’d have had an awesome time surrounded by family & friends. I’m certain of that. Even if I was still carrying around those extra 62 lbs.
But losing the weight has given me a whole new outlook on life. At age 30, I’m still not where I thought I would be in life, but I’m accepting of where I am and why I am here.
I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me to think of all that I wish I had now, at this age. But that’s why I try not to think about it much at all. Instead of dwelling on the woulda coulda shouldas, I’m trying to look forward with a content & hopeful heart.
I’m happier now. I’m lighter. I’m more open to possibilities, and more excited to see what the future holds.
I feel good.
And I really do feel like my best days are yet to come.
Thank you so much to everyone who celebrated my 30th with me. You all made it such a special day, one that I will never forget!!
Here’s to the next 30 years… :)