On the day before my 30th birthday, I went through the drive-thru of McDonalds and ordered a small diet coke feelin’ pretty confident about the fact that I was about to leave my twenties behind and enter a new decade. “30 is the new black,” I kept repeating to myself trying to drown out what a little kid once told me, “McDonald’s gives you diabeanies(diabetes).” The window opened and the cheery woman looked me straight in my 30 year old eyeballs and said, “Senior diet coke, ma’am?” Now I understand how one could confuse, “small,” with “senior,” while looking at the computer, but she never corrected herself or accuse me of trying to get a diet coke for like 10 cents cheaper. It was in that moment, I started thinking maybe turning a year older was a bad idea after all. Maybe 30 was in fact, not the new black.
I left my farmer in VA with our pregnant sheep and road tripped to New Jersey with the toddler and the BFF. I took advantage of all the help I don’t normally have on a daily basis. You know like, “hey little bro, go ahead and throw my baby 7 feet in the air, just be sure to catch him and don’t let him get too close to the fireworks, Ima be inside with my feet up, bye.”
I had a number of people ask me, “So how does it feel to be 30?” I remembered having a conversation with a friend years ago about how 25 was one of the hardest birthdays for her. It wasn’t because she thought she was old, per se. It was because she wasn’t where she wanted to be in life when she turned 25. I answered people honestly and told them I felt really good about 30. For me, I think had I still been trying to get pregnant, 30 would’ve been tough. Having already been told by a reproductive endocrinologist at the age of 26, my eggs were basically dinosaur eggs, 30 would’ve felt like throwing my ovaries a retirement party. And you guys, I live on a farm, I know what happens to the hens when they stop laying eggs.
So when I returned from my trip, I found my farmer setting up a chicken tractor and hooking up an automatic water system for the sheep. I watched my toddler chase our chickens squealing with delight. I saw our great pyrenees make a beeline in her pen for the road as soon as she heard the clinking of metal horse shoes on the pavement. As if defending us from murderous leaves and fierce wind wasn’t enough, she now had to defend her people and her flock from the Amish who moved in down the road. I suspect if she ever somehow made it over the fence to them, she could be bought easily with treats and ear scratches. And it was in that moment I asked myself, “Is this where I wanted to be when I turned 30?” I can honestly say that’s a big fat NO Y”ALL, but I am happy to be here.