I was still comfortably ensconced in my mid-20s when I was first told the distinction between the second and third decades of life. A man I was dating turned 29 and began contemplating what 30 would have in store for him. “I’ve loved my 20s,” he said, “but I’m really looking forward to my 30s. The 20s are when you’re figuring out who you are and what you’re doing in life. I think my 30s will be when I settle into that.”
I’ve heard that theory repeated many times since, and so my enthusiastic countdown to 30 began during my 29th birthday party (which took place more than a week before my 29th birthday–the joy being born near a holiday!). Maybe I’ve placed unreasonable expectations on my 30s, but the past two-and-a-half months have been a strong start.
And I’m trying to make some concerted changes that will benefit the rest of my life. I’ve always been slim, but with the exception of five years of high school cheerleading and dance, I’ve never been much for an exercise routine. But I want to enjoy every year I’ve got, and even now, when I’m young and healthy, I feel much better about myself when I exercise. So I’m trying to develop a habit.
Yoga’s my activity of choice because it slows my otherwise-active mind, forcing me to focus on how my body feels in the present. Tonight I practiced outside at the Alys Stephens Center, my mat pointed at a towering sculpture and my breath often in sync with my friend Laura Kate. Halfway through the hour-long class, rain gently began to gently fall on us. I was skeptical at first as my mat became slick (always cautious!), but we quickly moved to ground work, where I didn’t have to worry about slipping. As cars drove through UAB’s campus and rain fell on my face, I thought to myself, “Yes. I need to make this a habit. I need to take better care of myself. I need to be in the moment, even as I plan for tomorrow.”
I hope that’s a significant part of what my 30s–and beyond–will prove to be about.