23 August 2009


By: Jessica B.

Today is my 30th birthday.


Wait, hold on, I’m still here, I didn’t keel over, grow scales or warts and hell hasn’t frozen over. Phew, okay lets continue.

Yes, at 11:23 p.m. tonight, I officially exit my 20s and say HELLO to my 30s.

In the last two weeks, several people asked me how I felt about this change and I struggled to answer because honestly, I don’t know how I feel. I can’t believe it’s time but I don’t feel different. Maybe I feel like some additional “stigmas” will be attached to me now but overall I feel the same way I did yesterday: content.

And it’s taken a long time to get here. Okay here is where I get teary as I write this.

My 20s were great, dramatic but great. Today, I look back at where I was 10 years ago at this time and I’m so different now. Then, I was sitting at a small school in Wisconsin, pining over a guy who didn’t love me and wouldn’t anymore and all I thought about was how I could change his mind. Now I’m in my Chicago apartment, able to live a good life in a great city and feeling like the best is still to come.

In my 20s I learned a lot about myself and life around me (corny but true.) I made three life-altering decisions that have brought me to where I am now, traveled to Europe (and survived), moved to two new states, dealt with some of my raging insecurities, let myself make mistakes and learn from them and learned how deep and painful love can be. I found myself in situations and places I never thought I would be and met some awesome people along the way. And laughed too.

I learned in my 20s that I can only really rely on myself but that I need to let my friends and family help me too. I consumed more alcohol than a person could handle and learned the reality of possible alcohol poisoning due to this lack of control. I dealt with crippling depression and self esteem issues and I still battle them, but I’m stronger now and have a stronger will to work through them. I moved between countless jobs and finally found a place I belong in a surprising city, Chicago. I watched my family be torn apart and be barely put back together. That won’t be fixed likely ever, but I’m grateful for them and that many of them love me just as I am. That’s a rare thing.

I don’t want to be 22 anymore because I feel like I’ve evolved to be a better version of me, someone who is wiser, stronger, happier and ready to take anything thrown at her.

Sure there are always bad days, but I need to keep in mind another big lesson from my 20s: don’t take things so seriously! Relax!

I don’t fear turning 30 and what lies ahead for two reasons: 1) it’s inevitable, hello! and 2) I have no complaints or regrets. I’m happy, healthy, have good friends and family that are also in good health, I have a good job and still wake up every day and find something positive in my life.

And when there are good things like that to look forward to and embrace, turning 30 really isn’t so scary.

Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and still be 30 and the day after that I will be too. But here’s hoping the next decade is a little less dramatic, more fun and still classy :)

Happy Birthday to me!!

Oh and I know I posted this last year, but here is a baby picture of me 30 years ago. Look at that face, I mean, damn I was ADORABLE.

So no big question for the day, just a little reflection from me while I’m out celebrating my exit from the womb :) More details on birthday weekend to come!


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  2. Miss Grace says:

    Happy (belated) birthday!

  3. E.P. says:

    What a beautiful post! Nicely worded, lady!

    I know I’m totally late, but happy birthday again!

  4. Maki says:

    Happy SO Belated Birthday!!!

    So sorry for being late — I hope you had a fabulous birthday!!!!! Big 30~~~!!! Yaaaay!

  5. Rebekah says:

    I am just now back on the interwebs after a few days off in the woods – do I get a pass for the belated birthday wishes?

    Happy happy 30 to you!

  6. MinD says:

    How cute! I love baby pictures, and happy belated birthday darlin’! Sorry I missed it. I suck, I know.

  7. Lollygagger says:

    Happy Birthday! again ;)
    What a great post — I feel the same about “your twenties.” I think it’s a great time to learn about yourself and what you’re capable of even if it is filled with drama galore. Better to figure that out now, so you don’t have to have a mid-life crisis. (Ok, well maybe that’s just my lil’ theory…)

  8. Such a wonderfully reflective post- happy, happy birthday darlin!

    I’m 24 right now and you summed it up completely when you said, “My 20s were great, dramatic but great.”

    Hope to have your level of clarity when I hit the big 3-0!

  9. Silvia says:

    Happy birthday Jessica! It was a pleasure to meeting you in Chicago.

    I have to say that I’m loving my 30’s the weird thing is since I turned 31 I have to think twice how old am I (of course I’m older than 31, but I’m not saying how many years more!) anyway, I think I will stay in this decade forever

  10. Susan says:

    Happy Birthday! You accomplished so much in your twenties, and you have such an amazing perspective :)

  11. Susan says:

    Happy Birthday! You seriously accomplished so much in your twenties and you have such a wonderful perspective.

  12. AuburnKat says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Gosh, I learned a lot in my 20’s too and once I got over the “I can’t believe I’m 30 phase” I’m happy that I am at this age! =)

  13. Happy birthday :) :)

    Hope you had a great day!

  14. Hal says:

    Happy Birthday! Hope you had a wonderful fabulous day :)

  15. katelin says:

    yay for turning 30! woo! happy of happiest birthdays! :)

  16. Andhari says:

    Wow, you welcome the big 30 so gracefully, wish I could be as happy as you when I reach that age. Happy birthdayyyy :)

  17. Bing says:

    Happy birthday! I hope 30 is amazing for you!

    You were a cute little baby! =)

  18. blaez says:

    i know i did already but i wanted to again:


  19. Nora says:

    Happy birthday, lovely! Hope you had a lovely weekend. =)

  20. Doniree says:

    Happy [slightly belated] Birthday!!! To be honest? I’m actually kind of looking forward to 30. I’m not in a hurry for it, but I look forward to it. :)

  21. A Super Girl says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! Way to take 30 by the balls :-)

  22. Kyla Roma says:

    Happy birthday Jess! Are you staying in 20SB?

  23. Kara says:

    Happy belated birthday Jess! I hope you had a great time and am really glad to hear that you are not having any sort of mental beak down about the next decade. Like you said, aging is inevitable and I always feel bad for those people who freak out like they have all ready realized their peak. Life’s pretty darn long if you feel you have nothing to look forward to! Luckily, we are amongst the few who realize that age doesn’t mean the fun is over, it just changes forms slightly!

    All my love!

  24. PomJob says:

    Happy birthday! Hope 30 is your best year yet!

  25. Happy Birthday!!!! It’s nice to look back and see how far we’ve come! :)

  26. fritz says:

    Happy Birthday!! i know its a bit late, but i wanted to welcome you into the 30 club, its not bad! hope you had a fabulous weekend!!

  27. Selma says:

    Happy (belated) birthday! Hope you got to celebrate and enjoy the new number! :)

  28. Katie cat says:

    Happy Birthay, and I’m going to take your advice: relax and not be so serious.

    And here’s to “The best is yet to come”!!!

  29. Lucy says:

    Happy b-day! As someone who is (pretty far) into her 30’s I can tell you they are waaaayyyy better than your 20’s. Enjoy!

  30. jenn says:

    happy happy birthday, almost birthday twin! its so great to hear about all of the things you learned in your 20’s. I raise my imaginary glass to you, and hope that the next 30 years of your life are just as fabulous as the first 30. :)

  31. Chelsy says:

    GREAT post! Have a happy, happy birthday. Cheers to a new decade–perhaps the best one yet!?

  32. Happy birthday.
    It’s amazing what you said cuz I’m turning 21 in a couple of months and I’m freaking out. But now I’m actually looking forward to it. Thank you. =]

  33. SA says:

    Happy Birthday!

  34. Ashley says:

    Wooot! Happy birthday, lady. Here’s to even more wisdom. :-)

  35. Cheryl says:

    Happy Birthday Jess! This was an excellent post, and I totally relate. Hope it was a great day and it’s a fabulous year to come. In fact, about this year…As Tim Gunn would say–make it work.

  36. bianca says:

    I love this post! What a great way to look back at your life :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope it’s fabulous!

  37. Arielle says:

    Happy birthday! I’m terrified of the big 3-0 but you make it sound not so bad. =)

  38. Happy birthday! :)

  39. Erin says:

    This is such a great post…you actually made me tear up a bit! What a great way to remember your 20s and to look forward to the future.

    Hope you are having the most wonderful birthday!!!

  40. Excellent tribute to your twenties! I’ll bet your thirties will be filled with even more joy, excitement, and self-exploration :) Happy Birthday!!!

  41. hazel says:

    happy birthday! hope this year is one of the best! have a great day!

  42. Happy B-day :) Have an absolutely wonderful day!

  43. Happy Birthday Jessica!!! I hope your thirties bring you much happiness&adventures!

  44. mandy says:

    Happy Birthday, Jess! I hope that the next decade is even better than the previous one.

  45. Ray says:

    Happy birthday! I hope you are enjoying this beautiful day. :)

  46. Jenn says:

    Such a cute picture! I hope you’re out having an amazing birthday. I heart you :)

  47. Happy Birthday! Here’s to another decade of fun! :-)

  48. Maxie says:

    Happy Birthday, Jess!!

  49. April says:

    You go girl! Happy birthday. I hope it is the beginning to your best decade yet!

  50. lbluca77 says:

    Happy Birthday! And welcome to your dirty thirties. You know 30 was not as hard as I expected it to be, it really is that anticipation of turning 30 that is what is so hard I think.

    The way I view your 30’s is yes there is drama and bs like in your 20’s but in your 30’s you are more prepared and equipped mentally and physically to deal with it. Like you have on a permanent helmet and life jacket.

  51. Hooray! I hope you have a lovely day.

  52. phampants says:

    Happy Bday Jess. Congrats on surviving your 20s and here’s to the next wonderful 10 yrs.

  53. Paula says:

    Happy happy birthday!!! As someone who is very close to the big 3-0 myself, I can definitely identify with this post. I hope I’ve accepted it too come October since I don’t really have a choice in the matter. Hope you have a great day! x

  54. Jamie says:

    Happy birthday, Jess. It’s just going to keep getting better. You’re awesome.

    Love you!

  55. Happy birthday Miss!!! I’m 32 – and my entire family and younger future husband made a HUGE deal about my 30th birthday. And you know, I still don’t feel any different then I did when I was 25 – except I don’t burst into tears and become a snivelling mess everytime someone looks at me funny. Still feel the same – just more mature, less sweating of the small stuff – better overall.

  56. tiffany says:

    that was a wonderful post. happy birthday!! you are an amazing woman and i hope you have the same kind of day!

  57. Maggie says:

    Happy Birthday lady! I think things will just continue to get better :-)

  58. Elizabeth says:

    Sounds like quite a decade! I’m sure the next will bring so many amazing things for you. Happy birthday!

  59. Erin says:

    Happy Birthday! I don’t fear 30, either (less than 6 months til mine). You summed up all the reasons nicely :-)

  60. Lindsey says:

    Happy Birthday! Have an awesome day!

  61. Lil' Woman says:

    Nicely put and indeed cheers to you!

  62. Jenn says:

    So well said :) And incredibly insightful — as I’m about to turn 22 I’ll keep everything you said in mind.

    Have a fabulous day, lady — you deserve it!