By Lindsay Steele
Just minutes before midnight on Feb. 7, my husband, a few friends and I sat inside a Davenport restaurant waiting to sing karaoke. It seemed so surreal. At midnight my 30th birthday would arrive, ready or not.
Then, someone started singing “Landslide,” by Fleetwood Mac. The melancholy tune perfectly expressed my anxieties about getting older, just as I was trying my best to suppress them and be joyful.
“Oh, come on!” I exclaimed, before leaning close to my husband, Chris, who lovingly put his arm around me. “Why couldn’t Frank Sinatra’s ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ have played at midnight, instead,” I wondered.
A smile stayed on my face, but a few tears dampened my cheeks as the Fleetwood Mac song continued:
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
As the song finished, we toasted the official start of my 30s. Friends gave me the usual rhetoric: you look great, you have a lot to look forward to, your life is just beginning. I humored them with a cheesy grin and a thumbs-up, but was still trying to process this milestone. How could I be 30 already?
It seems like such a trivial thing to shed a tear about, especially when you consider those who are truly suffering in the world, but I think most people feel a little anxious about getting older at some point in their lives. Years seem to pass more quickly. There may be a mourning of the loss of youth, perhaps thoughts of regret. There may be fear of the unknown of the future. The veil of innocence is lifted and you realize that you, too, are growing older at an alarmingly fast rate. You start to wonder about what your life means. The author of Ecclesiastes talked about experiencing this type of existential anxiety, and I have always appreciated the honest approach.
For me, this realization probably comes a little sooner than for some. I lost my father at a young age, so I know that time is not infinite. Two of my cousins are young and battling cancer, so I know that health is not something to be taken for granted. Thirty is a blessing; 40 is not a guarantee.
I believe this anxiety, while a little uncomfortable, can be a positive if it is used as a catalyst for personal growth. I can choose to make the most of each day. I can be more thankful for what I have right now with the understanding that it won’t last forever. I can be more present to those around me. I can work to make a difference in the world now, versus waiting for another day.
Perhaps that’s all part of the “wisdom” people talk about as a part of getting older, and I am glad to be at an age where I can understand it and start making the most of my life. So, here’s to being on the other edge of 30, sailing through the changing ocean tides and entering the next season of my life. As my sister wrote in my birthday card this year, “Lindsay, you get better with age.”