thoughts on my 30th birthday

Today is my 30th birthday and I’m feeling pretty damn introspective about it. I’ve been spending a lot of time journaling, actually. You’ve all followed my journey for the past few years and it’s meant so much to me that I wanted to share a bit of my thoughts with you.

It’s no lie that I’ve been dealing with some legit stuff the past few years, most recently the death of my grandfather, my decision to move again, and even something I haven’t really talked about a lot, a rough break up I went through 2 years ago that still weighs heavily on my mind. The truth is that I spent most, if not all, of my 20s go go going and never once did I truly stop to think, experience, feel. I had so much happen and felt so totally overwhelmed by it all, that I simply turned off my emotions. It actually wasn’t until my grandfather passed away this January that I tapped into what all of my feelings of loss felt like. Not just the loss of that dear man, but also the loss of so many other things. Now, more than ever before, I feel it all. I try so incredibly hard not to live my life with regrets, but in this moment, I feel wistful because of decisions I made and how they’ve impacted me as a person. I sit here typing this out and I desperately want a change in my life.

I don’t know what I had hoped to achieve by the time I hit 30 — I was never one of those girls who daydreamed and planned a wedding and all that. Career? I have that. I’ve started my own gig and I’m 100% dedicated to it and I love it. I still have a massive fear that any day now blogging could go away forever and Pinterest will be replaced with something else where I’m not popular enough/good enough, etc. I constantly feel like I need a back up plan, anything, just to be extra super duper safe. Husband and kids? I don’t have either of those, not even close. I haven’t been on a date in… I don’t even know how long it’s been. I recently created an Ok Cupid profile and it just feels inorganic and totally not me. I don’t know how to go about meeting someone because I’ve always dated guys I knew from college, even in my later 20s. Heck, I’ve never even experienced a stranger buying me a drink or hitting on me in a bar. The whole damn thing feels daunting. Home? Well, I’ve moved yet again (I think for the 11th or 12th time?), but I’m still a renter and have never lived in a space for longer than a year. At the very root of my being, I want a place to call a home, above anything else.

When I list it all out like that, there’s one clear thought: I have had no stability. I feel like I’m at a turning point in my life: do I keep chasing something that remains elusive and even nameless? Or is it finally time to settle down and look at the big picture instead of only what’s right in front of me? I’m 30 and I’m tired of chasing. No more new jobs, no more new cities or even new apartments.

What if I make my 30s about standing still?

photo by Jojotastic

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Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest digital influencer and former textile designer with an eye for beautiful things. Jojotastic is a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress home, interior styling, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style.

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4 Comments

  1. 3.19.15
    HeloRighetto said:

    Happy Birthday Joanna! I think we are all chasing something, and I think it’s quite nice you put your chase ‘on paper’. It’s really difficult to figure out what we need/want exactly, so that’s a huge step towards achieving that! I’m close to being 35 now, and although I didn’t have this ‘issue’ when I completed 30, I am now!

  2. 3.18.15
    Vivien Mo said:

    One of the most pivotal moments of my 30s has been getting the opportunity to turn inward or to turn outward. I’m *so* glad that you have turned inward to reflect, and while there is pain and old scar tissue to sort out, it is a testament to your strength and grace that you are willing to put in the work. Trust me, when you come out on the other side, you realize that the clearing of the gunk gives way to the warmest, most beautiful light. It already shines so brightly in you…just a matter of time before you see it and feel it as clearly as I do. The measure of success changes day to day, and while it is totally natural for you to checkpoint against expectations you had in your younger years, trust that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. :-* love you!

  3. 3.18.15

    Oh Joanna… this is beautiful. I remember having similar thoughts and feelings after a rough time in my late twenties. Life is HARD. But, I find myself a little (teeny tiny) bit better at handling it all in my thirties. I’ve loved watching you move and grow via this corner of the internet and wish you lots of time spent in one place this year. :) Happiest of birthdays, my dear! xo

    • 3.18.15
      joanna said:

      thanks so much for your kind words and birthday wishes!