With a sea of emotions, the big milestone birthday has almost officially arrived.
That time where I always thought I'd have life all figured out and everything would be perfect.
Should I rejoice that the awkwardness of my twenties are over? Or panic as I kiss my youthfulness goodbye in return for a world of 9pm bedtimes and wrinkle creams?
I accomplished some amazing feats in my twenties. I've traveled all across the country and grown exponentially in my career. I've turned myself into a marathon runner and represent a fantastic brand due to my successes on the pavement. I've modeled luxurious European headpieces. I've done things some people don't get to do in an entire lifetime.
But it wasn't an easy decade.
As I reflect, I'm fairly certain that your twenties is the equivalent of going through puberty.
At 20, I was a small town college girl with big hopes and dreams, but not a lick of sense. I had no idea what it meant to be responsible. Or to be a good friend. Or how to love. Or sacrifice. Or how to take care of myself.
I was barely 21 when I packed up as much stuff as would fit into my Jetta and moved into a city I had never been to. After a while, I found myself broke and alone. I had two choices: give up and move back to Alabama, or pull myself together, figure it out, and move forward.
So I worked multiple jobs -- one to begin a real career, the others to supplement my career dreams so that I could do things like feed myself and put gas in my car.
I learned responsibility pretty quick.
Through those jobs, I became friends with some incredible people from all facets of life. They took me for who I was, never passed judgement, and was the best support group I'd ever had.
They taught me how to be a good friend.
There are certain inevitable things in life that you can't be prepared for at any age, and death is the hardest of them all by far. When I was 22, I lost my dad to cancer. I found myself at a crossroads again: succumb to a world of sadness, or live happily in his memory and make him proud.
In life and in death, he taught me how to love.
My mid twenties became less about trying to decide what bars to go to every night and more about building a life for myself and taking care of the people that meant the most to me.
I met Prateek who taught me what it means to sacrifice and prioritize and that sometimes the right decisions are the hardest.
I find myself now in my late twenties, turning 30 in a few days, surrounded by a solid group of great friends and family and everything I could have ever asked for.
The feelings I've been having of aimlessness, inadequacy and insecurity over a stupid number?! What is wrong with me? I should have way bigger fish to fry than that.
I don't believe that learning how to be responsible or how to love or how to be a good friend ever really stops. You are constantly discovering yourself, no matter the age.
I think that maybe your twenties is where you truly learn some of those life principles, and your thirties is where you can actually execute and benefit from them.
Growing older is a privilege, not a curse -- and a person's potential has no expiration date.
So, maybe it's not that I'm young or old. Maybe I am just where I need to be.
Bring it on, 30.