In My Last Half-Hour

In my last half-hour of being 30 years old I wanted to celebrate my journey into my thirties with a quick blog post about what it was like being 30 and how it all came together for me at the end.

Turning 30 was a definite learning experience for me. Most of the lessons and experiences I had were quite humbling. I learned a lot.

Here’s a quick list:

1. I spent my 30th birthday (the actual day) mostly in tears and having a panic attack (no joke) at home. My parents left me a check inside a card on the counter and my father sent me a text message wishing me a happy birthday. I felt like the people that gave birth to me couldn’t even be bothered with me because of some stupid disagreement we’d had. Also on my birthday, people at work and I weren’t getting along so there was no celebration like the department does for everyone else: no food day, no flowers, no singing…just an obligatory card that meant “we have to do this as a minimum and that’s all you’re getting.”

2. Running a marathon and doing two Olympic triathlons and coming in near the very end (and in one case last) were humbling experiences. Marathons, I discovered, are not my thing. I discovered, however, that triathlons play on my ADHD personality very well. I did well at the sprint distances I covered. I’ve done two Olympic tris so far but wasn’t trained for them and did each one on a whim. Nevertheless, I did them and crossed the finish line each time.

3. I told my parents off at Christmas after one final confrontation when I couldn’t stand their bullshit anymore. It was the best and healthiest thing I’ve ever done for myself. It made me a stronger woman and not the little girl seeking mommie’s approval.

4. I finally made a good friend, Shawn, through running. She opened me up to marathon running and endurance events and joined me in my vegan project.

5. I became a vegan, which was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It made me more interested in food and nutrition and eventually lead to this deep compassion for animals and wanting to do more work to save them. I owe so much of this to my friend Sarah H.

6. I took a trip to Comic Con and was encouraged to not be so judgmental by my friend Tim Fealy. He taught me to look at Comic Con a different way and try it again. Sometimes the first experience can be a little rocky.

7. I’ve become so sick of my job and crap that we put up with there. I’m tired of foreclosing on peoples homes and not doing anything fulfilling as a career.

8. There’s strength in marriage. My relationship with Pete is much more settled and complete now that we are married even after having been together for 8 years. There aren’t words to describe how glad I am I married him. That’s right ladies…he’s off the market for good now.

So moving forward into my thirties at the age of 31 here’s where I am. And let me tell you things came together fast for a whole new set of journeys:

1. This year I’m not going to wait by the phone on my birthday for my Dad to text me happy birthday. I no longer have any expectations when it comes to those weirdos, other than expecting to be treated like dirt, which is why I avoid seeing them as much as possible.

2. This year at work my fellow employees and I seemed to have resolved some of our differences—people brought food in for a food day for my birthday, they sang to me, and I got beautiful flowers and a nice card. It felt like people cared this year which is such a nice thing. It made me feel very appreciative and full of graciousness on the inside. Even though I couldn’t eat most of the food, it is the thought that counts. (The pretzels and fruit and raw veggies were the only things that were vegan that I could eat.) But food day is about everyone enjoying the food, and I did steal Pete a chocolate-filled twinkie (and he ate it!). Pete says don’t eat chocolate-filled twinkies…they’re gross.

3. Before my birthday I found out that I had received the official opportunity to start working on my internship with Mercy For Animals in Chicago. I can’t wait! It’s going to work out awesome and I will learn so much. I’m on the right career path. It only took me 30 years to figure out what I wanted to do.

4. I’m doing something I swore I’d never do again: dancing. I took a pole dancing class tonight and I have to say I’m absolutely hooked. It was amazing even though I’m the worst one in the class. It’s nice to take class and be the student instead of the teacher.

5. I’ve got my goals set for my triathlons going forward: I’m going to compete in 5 Olympic distance triathlons next year and will definitely do the SheRox sprint triathlon. That was just so fun. And I will be training for my first 70.3 ironman! I’m looking for a flat and fast course so if you know of one please let me know.

Life will be good at 31. Moving into my 30s is going to be a good journey. Who would’ve thought I’d become a vegan working in the animal rights movement and even have friends at work! I’m so happy with the way things are going right now. I pray (in my own way) that the bubble doesn’t burst and send me spiraling back into a pit of depression again. I don’t think I could take that.

I only have 30 minutes left to enjoy being 30. But that’s okay—I think 31 will be a great year!

Sara Sawochka