I’ve always liked to think that I am a decent enough person. Or at least, that’s the hope, right?
A couple of years ago, I texted my best friends from college: “For my 30th birthday, I want to go to Patagonia. Who’s coming with?” I had just discovered a guy on Instagram who biked his way from the States to Patagonia and was in the process of writing a book about everything he learned. Naturally I became obsessed with this idea and started doing a ton of research into the area. Ultimately, the biking part was ruled out of the equation, but the destination stuck. I wanted to get the idea out there early (5 years early, to be exact), knowing that it would require a good bit of planning and saving. Especially for me, because saving and budgeting are two of the things that I am the worst at. I don’t think anyone but Christine took my idea seriously. And she’s probably only done so because I consistently pester her about talking to her supervisor about things we need to know (her supervisor is from Patagonia). But that’s at least one beautiful and amazing friend who will share in the experience with me, and I wouldn’t ask for anything else.
But then I learned about a birthday celebration of a different sort. Leading up to her 30th birthday, my favorite poet, Sierra DeMulder, posted on Instagram with the hashtag #earningthirty. She reflected, confessed, planned, and dreamt for the three weeks leading up to her birthday in an effort to better become the person she wanted to be at that point in her life. It wasn’t for praise or to improve the ways that others perceived her, but rather for accountability. And this idea has stuck with me for the last year.
So I’ve come up with a sketch of a plan. I don’t want my 30th birthday to just be an experience. I want to earn that experience. I want to earn my thirtieth year and the years that follow. Everyone always jokes about how after you turn 25, there are no positive birthdays. Nothing to look forward to. Just getting older, hitting the big 3-OH, and then it’s all downhill from that point on. But what an asinine thought. How many people are denied the time and the memories and the birthdays that so many people call worthless? Not everyone has the opportunity to make it to 30. I don’t have a magic 8 Ball, so I guess I can’t guarantee that I’ll make it to thirty. But really, that makes the plan feel more important.
There are 9 months until my 27th birthday. This post may seem a bit premature, but I want to be intentional with the next several months as I plan out how to make the best of these next three birthdays. I want to do a better job over the next 3 years of giving to others rather than asking for myself. I want to chip away at the ugly parts of myself so that a more true version becomes known. I want to become more accepting of and filled with grace. I want to ask the important questions. I want to give my loved ones the best draft of me I can write. I want to give to more of my favorite non profits and charities. I want to introduce my tribes to the people and organizations doing amazing work in this world. I want to put out better energy because everyone knows the world could use more of it.
Like Sierra, this isn’t posted for praise or clout or whatever. It’s for accountability and transparency, and to ask for your help in this journey. I already know a few organizations that I want to help achieve their missions, like TWLOHA and She’s the First. But the how and then when and the other groups are still up for discussion. So help me out. Help me come up with ways to honor thirty years on this planet. Help me learn more about those who need our help. Help me get them the help they need.