Speed Limit: 35
Looking through my Facebook memories of my birthday, I found a status that lamented leaving my 20’s soon and heading into my 30’s.
One comment on that was from Carey Pickard who said “your 30’s are way better than your 20’s”! I’ll admit, I rolled my eyes a bit at the time, I’m sure. But he was so right.
Looking back over blog posts of the past from this date, I can see exactly how much my life has changed- even just through social media memories, thank you Facebook.
Last year I was single, but would not be for long. On this day last year I had no idea I was two job changes away from where I would be professionally a year down the road. I was already in the middle of buying my home- I loved the little house I was leasing next to Tattnall Square Park, but it was no longer economically feasible to stay there. A larger home that I could better afford was calling my name, one that one year down the road only has one finished painted room- and that I finally found the curtains for it! Well, the pattern, at least. Not the finished item. Those will have to wait a little longer.
Getting to the right place in life can take time, and there’s something about birthdays- anniversaries- special dates that begs to recollect where one was before. Social media, and having the website, aids in that memory trip.
The very first photo I posted on my birthday was when I was in college, around the age of 21- although Facebook says I was turning 23 (there’s no way I was that old, perhaps someone else tagged me in it on that date). I’m also reminded that two of the ladies in that photo removed me from their Facebook, my assumption must be because of political disagreements- or just a desire to downsize who they kept up with. It’s interesting who we choose to keep around in our physical and digital lives.
It was also before Facebook let you edit posts.
Another was from a couple of years ago with a dear friend who used to commiserate with me over the endless singleness of where we were. Oh how each of our lives changed in ways that we could have never foretold at that moment!
A blog post from the 31st birthday reminded me that I was out and shooting one of my first concerts, right after buying my first DSLR. What I didn’t say in the post was how it was my first birthday without my children, and that I was grateful for the surprise call their father made to put them on the phone.
33 reminds me that at 32 I was graduating from Leadership Macon that very day, that between 32 and 33 I made my first two trips to New York City, that my Girl Meets City series started, that I launched a new brand for my website, I was on a billboard, etc etc.
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That seems to be quite the golden year, but it was also one of great career change- of realizing that I love owning my own business but I also love the security of a “regular job”. It was also the year that so many of my friends moved away, and left big ol holes in my heart.
This past year also taught me that I’ll continue to shed friends. That when trying to do the best thing for your kids, others will judge. They will see your decision as something that questions their own, and they will deride you for it. Even when your privately pour your heart out to them, they will mock you in public. You’ll be surprised and let down by these people, but the exchange will mean learning who has your back- even when what’s best for you and yours doesn’t mean the same for them. Sometimes, your circle becomes smaller by choice.
The journey from 34 to 35 has brought a slowing down, a focus on what’s closest to me. I miss the evenings out with friends, but have traded them for dinners around a big table and working harder on homework with the kids. Not that we didn’t do this before, but it comes with a greater urgency now. Living with a partner in it all means that the nights my kids are with their dad are not spent out at a restaurant or on a porch with friends, but instead building a better nest. And the time I do have with friends, on their porch or mine, is all the sweeter for it.
My kids are growing into these little adults and I simply can’t believe it. Each day brings a new challenge to help them better navigate life, each day brings a new chance to hug and to love.
My circle of friends, my tribe, has gotten a little bit smaller. There are times when it hurts, I won’t lie, but I have to remind myself that those who have taken themselves out of my life have done so for a reason. True friends are those that can disagree with you- whether it’s over politics, types of movies and food, kids with different ages (or none at all), religion, or even school choice- that can diagree with you and still love you just the same.
These people can see you once a year or once a week and the spark between you is the same.
35 going to 36 will bring even more change. A deepening of a relationship is my hope, my dream. My kids growing older, wiser… likely more smart-ass in their responses. But joyful just the same. And even more new friends to welcome into my nest, I’m looking forward to everything.
Birthdays are also a chance to be reminded how many people take the time to wish me a good one through social media. For all the bad it can bring, it can feel so sweet when someone takes the time to wish me a great day. I think I should do this more on my end.
I am grateful for every gift I’ve been given. And I’m grateful to each of you who read these words I write- for whatever reason haha- and who took the time to wish me a Happy Birthday last week. Y’all certainly know how to make a girl feel loved.
Love to all y’all,
Molly McWilliams Wilkins
Molly McWilliams Wilkins is a Southern culture commentator, web producer, and social media marketing maven. She is also a freelance writer who has worked with a variety of publications and online magazines including Bourbon & Boots, Paste Magazine, Macon Magazine, the 11th Hour, Macon Food & Culture Magazine, and as the Digital Content Editor for The Southern Weekend. Mommy first, fashionista, social media maven, writer, artist, dreamer and poet. Hangs on to her Oxford Commas by force. Addicted to shoes and purses- and lots of coffee. Coffee coffee coffee.