On Self Acceptance

August 11, 2010

I'm not thirty yet. I've got a few more months until that happens.

Earlier this year, when I'd think about aging out of my twenties, I'd literally feel like I was about vomit. But lately, something's shifted and I can't wait to turn thirty--and possibly get some kind of middle age looking haircut.

I'm not 100% sure where this excitement stems from, but I do know that the closer I edge to the end of the twenties, the less I care about what other people think of me.

I used to walk around with thoughts swirling around in my head like, "Am I too fat? Am I too thin? Do I look artsy enough? Maybe I'm too sporty? Is my job too boring? Am I dull? WHAT DO THEY THINK OF ME?"

Now I'm more like, "Does that taste good? Is that on sale? Oh my word, why won't you behave?"

Trust me, it's a far more comfortable place to be.

Mormons have this thing--we worry way too much about what people might think of our day to day habits. You hear it every Sunday in church, "Well I was at a wedding last weekend, and when I said 'no' to the waiter who was pouring wine, no one could believe it. They all asked why I don't drink and when I explained it, they thought I was so ridiculous! It was an awkward situation to say the least."

Um, okay. Trust me when I tell you that those people don't give half a crap whether or not you drink coffee, or wine, or goat piss from a sippy cup--they're wondering whether or not you stumbled across their I'M OBSESSED WITH ANIMAL HUSBANDRY fan site on Facebook.

Most people aren't overthinking your 'out of the ordinary' or 'far too ordinary' life--they're thinking about theirs.

I'm probably ten years late coming to a realization like this, but that's fine, because it's so ridiculously freeing.

Last weekend, Jared and I went out for our anniversary. We spent way too much cash on dinner and then walked around town, popping in to all kinds of art gallery openings. We walked to the back of one gallery and spotted this crazy upholstered animal head thing (seriously, follow that link and click on number 1) by Breon Dunigan.

I was dying over that piece, you guys. Dy. Ing.


I kid you not when I say that If I had 3,000 extra dollars crumpled up under my mattress, there'd most definitely be an upholstered ox head hanging above my bed.

Anyhoo, the gallery was packed. All kinds of beautiful people in circle-shaped tortoise framed glasses were milling around, vying for price lists, and there I was, wearing flip flops, a cotton skirt from Target and literally eating a Snickers bar while I died dead over Breon's creation.

Seriously, if you want a healthy dose of amazing in your life, go ahead and mix some nougat with some flawless art and salted peanuts. I think the Buddhists call it Nirvana. And the rednecks? They just call it a real good time.

I looked over at Jared, with my eyes super wide and said, "I'm having so. much. fun."

Because I was. I really, really was. I didn't notice their snack choices, they didn't notice mine, and a funtastic time was had by all.

Sometimes I think about the fact that I a completely crappy housekeeper--like I can't remember the last time I changed my sheets, I haven't put laundry away in over a month, and there's a very slippery fungus creeping up behind my bathroom faucet. It's not something I'm proud of, but it is what it is.

I used to talk about it all the time, to anyone who stepped within a 100-foot radius of my house. I'd be like, "I'm sorry it's so messy. I'm so embarrassed. I should do a better job. Really, I'm sorry."

Then one day my eighty year old neighbor stopped me mid-sentence and said, "Why do you think I care about your house? I didn't come to see if you dusted, I came to see your baby."

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh snap.

The truth is, no one and I mean NO ONE wants to hear me drone on and on about my horrible, messy house and how it makes me feel like a horrible messy person, and how I think my inability to clean is rooted in some deep seeded childhood trauma that I may or may not remember.

So, instead of putting people in the awkward and totally unenjoyable position of listening to my insecurities, I made the decision that I could either

A) learn to be okay with with my messy nature, or

B) change my disheveled ways, or

C) at the very least, I could stop talking about it all the damn time.

I've gone for a combination of A and C. And you know what? I'm willing to bet, that when people step into my house, 90% of the time they're like, "Phew, I'm not the only one." And as far as the other 10% go? Well, as long as it doesn't actually smell like poo and trash, I guess I don't really care what they think.

I'm not really sure why I'm writing this post today. Deep down, I guess I hope my kids stumble across it someday. Maybe when they're eighteen and fourteen, and they come to me complaining that they're the only Mormons in the entire school system, we'll read this entry and I'll follow it up with something amazing and wise like, "Listen, Sarah has two moms, Eleanor's covered in zits, Jason just got dumped by his girlfriend, Chris is the only Chinese kid in the State of Maine, and Zoe's dad drives a 1992 Caravan. You've all got your mountains."

Then they'll call me stupid. And I'll say, "Oh yeah? We'll talk about it when you're thirty."


Keli said...

I'm creeping up on my mid-thirties, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head with this. There is something about being out of your 20's that automatically switches your brain to "I don't effing care what you think of me" mode. It's awesome. And you know what? It just gets better! You get more respect in your thirties, people actually listen to your advice, and having a messy house and disobedient children is endearing when you're 30 instead of annoying when your 29. Who knew!? It's the best decade yet, and I know you'll be great at it! Keep up the hilarious blog, I love it!

Rosie said...

Hey, we old folks were trying to keep this a secret! And there you go spouting it all over the web.

Rosie said...

P.S. -- I turn 50 in about a month, and oddly enough, I'm looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! Love it. Certain things still bug me (I'm on the down-ward slope to 40) about myself...but i definitely have stopped talking about it..........most of the time. :) Hey, that's what I have a blog for, right?

Anonymous said...

I used to be terrified of 30 because with my health issues I wasn't supposed to make it there. To me 30 meant I'd already be dead. But now I'm healthy and looking forward to it. I think it's hilarious when kids think I'm 40 and adults think I'm 16...such a nice contrast. And my house will be an honest mess some days and spectacular others but that's me and Hunni and I are happy. About 10 years to late you are right but I'll enjoy it now.

BTW I like to shock people at weddings when I don't drink and say I'm pregnant. (I'm not mormon just a Salvation Army officer but that shuts them up quickly :-) )

MommyJ said...

Clicked over from the blogher ads thingy and I'm so glad i did. I really love this post. Love your perspective and wish it could be sold in a bottle. But only if I'm the one doing the marketing, and making 65% commission off of every sale.

Charming's Mama said...

Okay, so I always tell people if they come to see me just come over, if they are coming to see the house, call first.

Amy said...

I also have a few more months until 30 and I'm stoked. I think I'm supposed to have been 30 my whole life and I've finally caught up.

Navigating the Mothership said...

I turned 30 on Sunday and I just wrote a post about feeling so much more comfortable with myself now. I was mostly talking about it in the physical sense as I feel better about my body at this point in my life, even though it was technically "better" before, but it's a positive mental shift, too. I'm a total weirdo, and that's OK. Actually, it's not just OK, it's fabulous. I had a hard time thinking that in my 20s.

I am all about embracing my 30s.

But when I say I'm 30 out loud it does shake up the 21-year-old inside me that thinks "Whoa, 30? That's OLD."

Pam said...

You couldn't have said it better! I had always heard the phrase, "You wouldn't care so much about what people thought of you if you knew how seldom they did," but it didn't really hit home until recently.

I have 100% EMBRACED 30! :)

Grandma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grandma said...

waa waa...my baby will be 30 in a few months...mix me a Fruity Mormon to ease the pain bartender Amy.

Mindy said...

AMEN!! I love this post!!

paige said...

your 30's rock. My mom says your 40's are ok too & then it's all downhill from there. That's something to look forward to for sure. Thanks, mom, for that... i wish you were 4 years older than me instead of the other way around so i could watch you do it first & cheer :)

Megan O. said...

I can't remember how I found your blog, but I love it! Loved this post and linked to it from my own blog. Thanks for the laugh!

Bootchez said...

Today I turned 43, and I don't even care what *I* think about me anymore. Age does have its benefits!

The Bride said...

For my turning 30 post, which happens in a few months, I'm just going to link to yours. Also, that animal head thing is awesome. I also want one!

funderson said...

A-freaking-men! I think 30 rules as does damned-near-40. Sadly, I'm leaving my little mountain hamlet full of beautiful natural women that NEVER wear make-up to go to the endlessly vain Salt Lake City. I love those SLC women too, but good greif most ARE SO worried about appearances. All that eye make-up and time spent house cleaning...in the summer! Think of what they could accomplish if their living rooms weren't hoovered so much.

amylouwho said...

Awesome! I'm going to stop apologizing for the mess.

I'm approaching my LATE-30s. ugh. I liked turning 30. It was the year I decided that as long as I was single I was going to celebrate my birthday in a city other than the one I lived in. 30 - NYC, 31 - Venice, 32 - Seattle. Then I got married and started having kids. But I do think 30 is about the time you stop caring so much what everyone else thinks. It is very freeing! What a great early birthday present for you!!

Katie said...

I think you wrote that just for me today. Thank you!

J.B. said...

I love this. Thank you for putting it in words.

Joy Through Cooking said...

so far (its been a whopping 2 weeks exactly), 30 is GREAT! A while ago, I decided that I was going to be excited for 30 and happy for the new decade. 20s were tough... lots of changes, lots of emotional growing pains, learning to be married, etc etc etc. I am pretty darn sure that 30 is going to be a really awesome age. So far so good! Im sure itll be awesome for you too!

Chelsea said...

I wanted to share this with you, because if I had your address, I would've bought this and shipped it to you after reading about the upholstered ox head you loved so much. Perhaps this is a more affordable alternative? There's no upholstry, but still...


<3 CJ

stephanie said...

oh my goodness... one of my friends linked up to you and i must say you are completely awesome. thanks for the laughs and deep thoughts. :)

Kitty said...

Right before I turned 30, my mom called me to tell me how much she loved her 30s, and that I shouldn't anticipate them with trepidation. She was right. I really came into my own in my 30s and stopped being concerned what people expected of me in terms of superficial stuff. I turned 40 a few months ago. My mom called again and said not to worry, she loved her 40s and they really were the best decade. I'm skeptical because not caring what people think about, say, how I look has led to some questionable fashion choices lately, mostly in the name of comfort (enjoy those tight tummies while you can, ladies!), but I let it go because I figure that at the very least, I'm providing my children with some character-building experiences. That's the best thing about 40 - you have enough experience to rationalize anything.