The Year of 30

By: Sarah Yaksic

Sarah’s 20th Birthday

I’ve always been the youngest of my friends. When you have a September birthday, you’re either the youngest or the oldest by default. Each year, my birthday was always exciting. I was surrounded by the promise of first tooth fairy visits, driver’s licenses and legal drinks. But this past year was different somehow as it was the year leading up to 30.

On the surface, 30 doesn’t seem that different of an age. You don’t get any new privileges, advantages or special discounts. But to me, it definitely felt different. I spent the past year surrounded by destination birthday celebrations complete with their own hashtags, fancier than some weddings I’ve attended. With each progressive event, I began to wonder more and more: what makes 30 so special? Is it the new number at the beginning of your age? Is it just an excuse to take a trip with friends? Or is a celebration needed to build you up for some intense unknown that the new decade brings?

It’s the last question that has lingered in the back of my mind throughout these previous twelve months. Like a monster under the bed, it’s grown larger and scarier with each passing week. It seemed like each passing day was another step towards a cliff’s edge of which it was impossible to see the other side. Then a few days before THE DAY, September 9, 2019, as family came into town and well wishes began to come in from friends who had already passed their 30th birthday milestone, the dread turned into excitement. I couldn’t wait for my next chapter. 

Sarah’s 30th Birthday

Looking back, my twenties have been full of self-discovery and growth. I’ve switched careers from performing music to banking to the startup environment. I’ve gained and lost friends, explored places around the world, moved from Ohio to Colorado, seen my family expand (I’ll show you pictures of my cute niece if you ask politely), and discovered new passions including kickboxing and gardening. Most importantly, I’ve learned to prioritize joy.

Change can be a frightening prospect or an exhilarating one. If this past year has taught me anything, it’s to lean into the unknown and embrace change.

Check back with me in 10 years and I’ll tell you all about your thirties.