When I turned thirty, I planned a big party for myself. I wanted to chase away the evil backlash that turning 30 would surely bring with it. So, I rented out my old college campus bar, hopped in a limo and got suitably sloshed while dancing to some old skool Britney and Backstreet Boys on an empty dance floor. It was rad.
And this seemed to work really well. I spent my entire post-30th birthday year, blissfully unaware that I was 30, refusing to grow up and ignoring those “responsible” feelings that I thought would come along with my fourth decade. It was uncomfortably comfortable.
This year, I turned 31. It was depressing. Right around that time, I wrote this. I was starting to feel old, to let regret creep in, and I was really uncomfortable with growing up. I wasn’t 30 anymore….I was on the downside slope of 30. It didn’t feel right. I was uncomfortably uncomfortable.
Fast forward to 5 months later, and now I’ve just spent the past week in Mexico for my baby sister’s wedding. It was a week of laughter, alcohol, iguanas, Gloria Estefan’s “Conga,” patience, unlimited food and strawberry daquiris, family, sunshine, and a smidgen of something I wasn’t expecting at all.
I should have suspected it when the in-flight movie on the way down was “Grown-Ups”.
But I can pinpoint the exact moment it happened.
We rode a small tram (something akin to a grown-up golf cart) over to the wedding site – my sister (the bride), the photographer and her assistant, the two bridesmaids and me. My sister and I sat in the back seat, which happened to face backwards, the two of us sitting nervously, trying not to let the wind wreck our hair and staring back as the road passed away from us.
When we arrived at the beachside gazebo, the tram stopped and the wedding coordinator rushed us out of our seats on the tram and immediately into the waiting parade of groomsmen. The music started, we kicked off our unmatching flip-flops and waited for our turn to make that walk down the cobbled outdoor aisle. As maid of honour (I refuse to use the word “matron”!), I was the last to leave the safety of the tram before my sister, and right before I began my walk down the aisle, I turned around to pass on one last reassuring big-sister smile.
And that’s when it hit me.
She looked so pristine, so vulnerable, so lost, and yet, so found. Her hands nervously clutched the sides of her dress. She smiled and I teared up, and I turned to walk up the aisle, desperately trying not to break into a full-out sob fest.
I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t afraid. The moment wasn’t about me but I welled up anyways because I knew – we were all grown up now.
Thinking back on it now, I’m still not sad. Not even close. And I’m not overwhelmed with all those emotions that I thought would go along with being a “grown-up.”
Instead I feel peaceful and ….. released…..and relieved.