Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What 30 feels like so far.

When on the cusp of turning thirty I'd imagine many people feel like when the day arrives, the sky is going to crack open and the earth will shudder, and life as they knew it will be over. There was no earth shuddering, life changing bit for me, but the sky did crack open and send down quite a shower. People were kayaking the streets of Austin on my birthday.

I was tucked away in a lovely rented ranch house at Sage Hill Inn in the hill country with Tim, and one of my best friends and her husband. We sat on the back deck and watched the rain pound down, laughed, ate queso and chips, and then watched the sun set with the most incredible misty-cloudy backdrop. Fortunately, the most of my personal worries that day was that I wouldn't get to go swimming. (I didn't, but the sun sure came out the next day!) It was a nice couple of days with zero pressure, a really bad sunburn, and Tim getting drunk and poking a rattle snake.

In all seriousness, though - I really thought I would have experienced MUCH more anxiety about this birthday. I desperately hate getting older (is there anyone who loves it?). I don't know anyone else who cried on their 21st birthday and refused to celebrate with large amounts of alcohol. It's not just the fine lines and gray hairs and all the physical changes of age, it's that everything feels harder, reality is more oppressive, and with every passing year I see aging embodied in incredible waste....of time, creativity, potential. You start to see that fear that you might wake up at the end of your life and feel as though you accomplished nothing that you set out to do might actually be realized.

Strangely, though, after two months of introspection, 30 feels more and more like a golden opportunity to go forth and live a life of intention, balance, and contentment. It's been motivation to open my heart to possibility and just trust that my purpose will find me. Those are the lines, I just have to figure out what shade to color them.

Over the past five years I started feeling increasingly imbalanced and out of place. Fuzzy instead of sharp, defeated instead charged. I struggled to perform well in my work or feel satisfaction in achievement. I lacked the confidence to follow my gut. I often couldn't even hear my instinct over the roar of insecurity, and spent a lot of time feeling anxious that I looked stupid. I was constantly paranoid of flunking life. It was sort of like I lost my inner-compass, if that makes sense.

All those cliches started to apply to me: I had no sense of self, I didn't know who I was, I needed to find myself. None of that had ever been a problem for me. If anything, I was always told I was too confident, opinionated, stubborn, and independent. I had consciously spent years post-college attempting to water those traits down in order to be hirable, manageable, and moldable in a traditional work setting, all the while not realizing that that was my core. Those weren't bad things, they were just what made me a little different from everyone else. Could I afford to be a little more patient and compassionate - YES. But I also didn't need to be so afraid of being wrong or messing up or people not liking me, that I hyper-analyzed every human encounter.

Quitting my acting *career* in 2010 made sense at the time, but looking back it was also me closing the door on my willingness to be really vulnerable - either on stage or in *real* life. What was once exciting and intriguing, was more and more just scary and painful. I dreaded my studio classes, I hated improv and auditioning, it was all so much work to keep pushing, exploring, and making new discoveries. Even so, it wasn't easy to quit. Theatre had been my identity for so long. It had been there before high school and then college, before Tim, before Oscar... it was very very deeply rooted. And it was always what I thought I wanted to do.

I think I stumbled around a lot after that. Without one clear directive, I wasn't sure where who I was meant to be or to what I should dedicate my existence. I still haven't really figured that part out, so let's just gloss over that for now. BUT. I'm starting to feel OK with the not knowing, and I think that's usually when the magic happens.

Oh. Also, in honor of 30 I finally changed my hair color. After 11 years.

Inspiration photos I took to the salon with me.

Before and After.
(Don't judge my shades... also from 2004. I lost my regulars.)

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