As I was wrapping up a phone conversation with a friend recently, I mentioned to her that I had no clue what I would do for my birthday this year. She then asked if I was turning 28 or 27. I was almost offended that this friend who I’ve known for at least 9 years didn’t remember my age.lol. But I laughed and reminded her that I’m turning the big 3-0! And for the weeks leading up to my birthday, I was called, bugged, and harassed by friends asking how I plan to bring in my 30th birthday. And as a natural introvert, the only response I could come up with was, “I’m not sure, maybe host something intimate at my house.”

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30 feels like such an interesting time in life. I’ve been told that it’s a time of awakening – a time when all or most of the stresses of the twenty-somethings take a back seat so that you can claim a path to happiness. We really only get a few decades on this Earth, so we have to try to at least enjoy half of them. Years 25-30 in many cases are rife with anxiety, fear, insecurities, and constant comparisons with everyone we see on our Instagram and Facebook newsfeeds living their best lives. But those years are also the beginning of our building years. We’re starting to gain a better understanding of who we are and how we navigate the world. We sometimes lose friendships that don’t quite fit our lifestyle or goals, but we also can gain lifelong connections. And we begin the journey to truly discovering ourselves, and seeking to define happiness in our own way.

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I’ve been reflecting on more of the things my 30 years have brought me and what I have to look forward to in the future. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and this new life milestone, I’m dropping 30 things I’m grateful for:

    1. Intact emotional, mental, and spiritual health
    2. A therapist who’s equal parts understanding and patient
    3. Friends with children who will let me practice (hint hint)
    4. Sarcasm
    5. Johnny Walker
    6. Therapy for Black Girls Podcast and Facebook community
    7. Yoga and Meditation
    8. My resting bitch face and those who understand
    9. Macaroni and cheese
    10. James Baldwin
    11. Family
    12. Podcasts that have gotten me through the year (Read: Another Round, Small Doses, and Still Processing)
    13. Empathy
    14. Self-reflection and growth
    15. Soul food
    16. Friends who are still here
    17. A renewed sense of clarity
    18. Forgiveness
    19. Catching flights and feelings
    20. H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar
    21. Robert Mueller
    22. My creative weirdness
    23. Lessons
    24. Happy Hour
    25. Criminal Justice Reform moving forward (while it’s not a perfect bill, it’s a start)
    26. Will Smith’s Instagram
    27. Journaling
    28. The Red Table Talk
    29. Michelle Obama
    30. Melanin.


What are some things you’re grateful for this year?