My Next Decade: Turning My Focus Outward

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When I was six years old, my cousin turned seven on April 7, excited about her “golden birthday.”

I remember being jealous, because my golden birthday would be my 30th  and, of course, by then, I’d be too old to enjoy it.

I am 30 today, August 30. And I do not feel too old to enjoy anything. In fact, I wrote this post ahead of time, because I am spending my golden birthday at the beach with my boyfriend and some friends. (What else would you do when your golden 30th birthday coincides with Labor Day?) As you read this, I might be in the car, singing along to Spotify with Zach, or I might be sitting on the dock of a seaside restaurant with the whole group, celebrating the next decade of my life.

This is my fourth decade of life. My first was technically the one that included the most growth — after all, I learned to sit, stand, walk, talk, read, write and a host of other skills in those first 10 years. But my 20s could probably give it a run for its money.

In those 10 years, I changed careers three times. I started and left a master’s program. I became a godmother for the second, third, fourth and fifth times. I became an aunt. I was diagnosed with two additional chronic illnesses, and I spent hours in therapy working on my social anxiety. I made more friends than I ever thought I could — and kept a couple from my teen years whom I know will be with me forever. I met and fell in love with the best man I know.

I fell away from the Church and came back again. I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary, and I discovered new spiritual mentors (hello, Teresa Benedicta and Zelie Martin!) I learned the gift of the rosary, and I formed my mission of serving Catholic women through my writing — joining FemCatholic and Catholic Women in Business as writer and then editor. I started really understanding what it means to be a daughter of Christ.

In short, my 20s were a decade of self-exploration. I learned about myself, and I focused hard on improving myself. I hope that I never stop growing — certainly, I’ll never stop trying to grow — but in my 30s, I want a different focus. This decade, I’m turning my focus outward.

In my 30s, I will serve my family, my friends and my community. In my 30s, I will pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In my 30s, I will nurture my writing skills not for myself but for Christ and the people my writing might bring closer to Him. In my 30s, I will (God willing) become a mother. In my 30s, I will put my family first.

Last Sunday, my parish, Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral (Raleigh, NC), hosted Father Jesu Amal Raj, MOP, a Jamaican priest from the Missionaries of the Poor. He spoke about their charism, to serve the poorest of the poor like St. Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity. In his homily, Fr. Jesu said, “When you love Jesus whole-heartedly, you serve others whole-heartedly.”

In my 30s, I will love Jesus whole-heartedly. With His help, I will serve others whole-heartedly. And at the end of this decade, I pray, I will be 10 years closer to becoming a saint.

Please help me celebrate my birthday by donating to Birthchoice of Wake County ,a pro-life center for pregnant women in crisis.

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