Megan Roth

The other side of 30

The new year is a great time to be introspective. It is a time to look back and think about all you’ve accomplished, and all that you haven’t.

Maybe this past year, you, like me, haven’t done as much as you set out to. That weight loss goal didn’t come to fruition, you didn’t pay down as much of your student loans as you had planned, you didn’t take that awesome vacation.

However, there could have been a number of things you accomplished last year — maybe you didn’t plan for them or weren’t working towards them, but they deserve to be celebrated anyway. Maybe over the last year you were able to spend more time with family, learned to cook a new type of cuisine. Maybe last year you finally finished sewing that quilt, or started learning a new language.

The new year brings about these thoughts each year, and then they crop up again later in the year on our birthday. For many people, at least.

I’m lucky, I get one full month of being thoughtful, introspective and a bit melancholy as my birthday is in January. So, instead of spacing out the pleasant task of looking back and analyzing every action from the past year, I can get it all over with in the first month of the year.

Lucky me.

Almost exactly one year ago I turned the big 3-0, and it felt like the time that I should be considered a full adult. I asked myself what that actually means, and tried to figure out when someone is truly a full adult.

A year later, I’m still not sure. I don’t think anyone ever is — we are all just flying by the seat of our pants hoping something will turn out right, or close to it.

A lot of the things I had planned to do and accomplish and learn this year did not happen. Like everyone else, I was affected by the pandemic. I’ve been shut away in my house for longer than even a homebody like me can handle.

Through the highs and extreme lows of my 30th year, what have I taken away? Have I come out the other side with some magical insight, or somehow a better person than I was 365 days ago?

Not really. But I’ve given some thought to who I want to be.

I feel like I’m back in Kindergarten and I’m being asked what do I want to do when I grow up.

The answer is both simple and unbelievably complicated: I want to be happy.

After the year we have had, I think that is all we can ask for right now. To be happy.

What that looks like is different for everyone, and I’m not entirely certain what that looks like for me. In part it will be letting go of the things I cannot change and accepting that the littlest things can have the biggest impacts. The other part is making time for those I love and what I love.

I hope in this month of introspection, you can find a path to your happiness, whatever that may be.