this is 30.

Today is my 30th birthday. 

For 30 years I have walked this earth, observed, learned, saw, listened, grew up, broke down, enjoyed, hated, loved, laughed, danced, cried, smiled. 

When I was a kid I remember how old 30 seemed. A lifetime away. Filled with adults and responsibility and something significantly less than fun. And although there certainly are days that are less than fun, 30 actually feels pretty damn great. Despite my life looking absolutely nothing like how I pictured it would by now, the curveballs I've been thrown and the paths I've taken have turned this journey into something pretty incredible.

This last year has been rough, I'm not going to lie. Between ended relationships, loss of loved ones, career challenges, a general beating down by current events, and all of the things that come along with hard times - it's been a bit of a struggle. But I'm thankful. Thankful that I'm here. Thankful that I have an excellent network of family and friends that are nothing short of amazing. Thankful that I can still breathe and walk and laugh and cry and smile and work and think and do. Thankful that I still get to call this city that I love home. Thankful that I also have two other places I consider home, which are both pretty great as well.  Thankful that I've found a new family through yoga. Thankful that I've been able to travel, to explore, to see parts of the world I had never before. Thankful for the hard times, because they never last. And thankful for the good times, because they make the hard times worth it.

It's taken me 30 years to come to understand that planning your life is futile. That you never know what will come your way. That no matter how fucking hard you try to control every little will inevitably fail.

People keep asking how I feel about turning 30. Truth be told, I couldn't wait. To me, 30 means letting go. Letting go of the constraints and expectations of your teens and 20's. Letting go of the idea that you should be in a certain job with a certain person in a certain place. Letting go of feeling the pressure to impress, or achieve, or succeed, or win - whatever those things mean. It means knowing who you are, what you want, what you believe, what makes you happy, and going after those things, and those things alone (and understanding if you don't know who you are, what you want, what you believe or what makes you happy that that's ok too). It's saying goodbye to whatever and whomever hasn't served you. It's not forgetting where you came from, but focusing on where you are. It's learning to say fuck it and just live.

So thank you. All of you. I love you. Now bring it on.

Jennifer Cook