I don’t believe in the concept of a clean slate.
I don’t believe that we ever really start from scratch.
I believe that no matter where we go, we carry our past with us. Our life experiences shape how we face each new day and the obstacles that lie ahead.
A few weeks ago, I reached a new personal milestone. I turned 30.
Thirty years old — an age many of my friends are approaching with much trepidation.
I couldn’t be more thrilled.
A new decade!
An even number!
A number that involves no rounding to the nearest ten!
[Elementary school teacher simple pleasures?]
Most importantly, a new season.
When I first started teaching, I was thrilled to learn how much of the elementary school curriculum is about seasons. Nerd that I am, I took bizarre delight in any and all opportunities to draw a detailed rendition of the life cycle of a butterfly or act out the four weather seasons with a squadron of 5 year olds. My go-to classroom music was Vivaldi’s infamous “Four Seasons” and despite a still-standing pact with grad school friends to never fall victim to “the seasonal sweater,” I take great delight in the decorations that don’t actually touch my body.
To me, there is something so refreshing and inspirational about a new season. In spite of whatever has taken place in the prior season, the cycle continues. It’s unstoppable. A really harsh winter may result in fewer flowers in spring…but eventually, spring always gets here and is followed by summer, then autumn and then back to winter again.
[Puxatony Phil, that was my not-so-subtle hint to FINALLY deliver the Spring that you promised. Seriously groundhog, get on with it.]
So here I am. The season of 30.
In college, my housemates and I were mildly obsessed with “13 going on 30.” I mean, hello — Jennifer Garner, Matt Ruffalo and a steady stream of Razzles? What’s not to like?? For Valentine’s Day, I made all of the girls little heart-shaped jars of red and silver glitter with a tag that said “Thirty, Flirty and Thriving,” just like the magic glitter in the movie. That day seemed so far away at the time.
If you had asked me five years ago what 30 would look like, I’m not going to lie and tell you that my life now is what I pictured. It’s not even close. But I still don’t think I missed the magic glitter.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with my gastroenterologist. It goes without saying, that I typically dread these appointments. I am obviously well past the awkwardness of the first couple of moments in the GI wing, but I still don’t generally list sitting down for a chat about nausea, my time in the bathroom or inappropriate placement of air as a social activity. For GI-newbies, let me just set you straight: these people talk about poop and gas all day. ALL. DAY. So just buck up and let it out.
[horrible pun maybe a little bit intended…]
In terms of symptoms, I should really stick with my typical appointment dread. The past few months have been among my worst in pain and severity of symptoms. But still, no dread. In this new season of my life, I know what my body is capable of and I know how to handle it. I’m not going into this appointment fearing some new, crazy procedure or crossing my fingers to join a clinical trial of a drug that will grow me a third arm. I’m going to this appointment to check in and reassure my doctor that I’m still in one piece. Despite my recent track record, my husband and I just returned from our first non-medical trip since our honeymoon…and I did just fine. Yes, I came home a bit nutrient deficient and yes I lost 5 pounds in 6 days… and yes, I got away for a week with my husband and loved it.
[However, Puxatony Phil, we could have done without the 40 degree temperatures in Florida. Get cracking groundhog.]
Tomorrow I will go to my appointment. I will share my symptoms and stats when asked. I will get various body parts poked and prodded and we will likely spend an unusually long amount of time examining the gaping hole in my stomach.
But then I’ll share that I’m halfway through school to become a holistic health coach and help patients just like me. I’ll share that I’m learning to sing again. I’ll share that I just went on vacation with my husband, and didn’t step foot in a hospital.
In this new season, I will share that I am thirty. And flirty. And thriving.