Thoughts about Aging and the Big 30

I’m 31 now but I wanted to drag this out of the archive and share with you 🙂

What my 16-year-old self wanted to be when she turned 30:

1. An astronaut
2. A rock star
3. An Oscar-winning actress

Obviously, these things didn’t happen. And they probably never will happen. At least, the astronaut part will definitely not happen. But just because I’m not a musical talent with an album or a 5 book publishing deal doesn’t mean I have to stop living just because I’m hitting the big 30.

I’ve had friends who dreaded turning 30 because they thought it would mean the end of everything fun and exciting. When I was younger I pictured 30 at the age when I was REQUIRED to have a well-established career, family, aka children, and financial stability. When I turned 29 I realized I would never meet these socially constructed stereotypes about living as a 30-year-old person.

I don’ have a career and I’m not planning for children. I used to think that because I didn’t have any conventional aspirations (family, career) for my life, I strove for creative expression and was determined to make art out of words and have writing validate my life.

As I got closer to 30 and realized that poetry would not get me on the New York Times bestselling author list I realized that I could either give up on writing because it wasn’t making me “famous” or change my perspective about art and make art just to make art, because it gave me peace of mind and made me happy.

Things my 21-year-old self wants my brand new 30-year-old self to remember:

1. Do all the things I couldn’t do.

2. Listen to and respect your body.

3. Don’t stress out about things you did in the past. The present is all that matters.

4. Less toxicity, more breathing.

5. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling the challenges of challenges. That’s why they’re called challenges.

6. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS. We got this far, now keep going.

7. Don’t be afraid to accept your feelings.

8. Smile more.

9. Embrace your individuality/weirdness/uniqueness. There’s only 1 you and you need to be you.

10. Don’t stop rocking out. Stay excited and passionate about life.

11. Stop obsessing about what other people think about you. You have more important things to think about.

12. Don’t let anger/anxiety rule your life.

13. Tell the people you love that you love them. ALL THE TIME.

14. Having everything “figured out” isn’t as important as living.

15. Stop holding on to regrets.

16. Practice more self-love and compassion for all living beings, even the ones that hurt you.

17. There are situations and people that will never change. Don’t let them stress you out. Let go and move on.

18. Negative thoughts don’t fix anything. Stay positive.

19. Embrace whatever life throws at you, even if you’re feeling down and hopeless.

20. Don’t half-ass anything. Always do your best.

21. Never give up on creative expression.

22. Never say you can’t do something. Always try before you judge yourself.

23. Keep working toward your goals, even if it takes longer than you want and you experience setbacks. Never stop.

24. Everything can be scary, don’t let fear rule your life. You can overcome anything life throws at you.

25. Mistakes are good. They help you learn. Don’t judge yourself or feel bad when you make one.

26. Age doesn’t define who you are. Your actions and ideas do.

27. Every day is a new day, an opportunity for growth and change.

28. Accept the hardships as they come, accept the joys as they come, hold onto the happy moments and let everything else go.

29. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside.

30. Never grow up, never give in. (SJ Tucker)

As I think about turning 30 I realize how much I actually accomplished in the last 3 decades, not just school or relationship wise, but from a developmental perspective. I was a very angry and directionless person through most of my late teens and early 20s. Now I feel like I have a new lease on life because I’ve discovered the strength to remove toxic people from my environment and live life for ME, not for someone else or an idea that I have to act and behave a certain way just because I’m more “adult” than I was before I turned 18.

What I have accomplished:

1. Bachelor’s Degree
2. Master’s Degree
3. Published poems
4. Self-published a word body that rocks as a poetry collection
5. Learned how to drive an 18-wheeler
6. Survived a flash flood
7. Survived appendicitis
8. Developed a deeper and more meaningful relationship with my family
9. Learned to love again and found an awesome life partner
10. Opened myself up to learning a musical instrument
11. Acquired amazing tattoos
12. Lived on the equator
13. Became a certified phlebotomist

My goals now:

1. Travel more!
2. Get more tattoos
3. Live a more healthy life
4. Express myself openly. (Marco Paisley)

Here are some cool things I’ve discovered about turning 30: the first being, I am who I am and while some parts of me will change, other parts won’t. I’m a huge fan of alternative fashion and body modification. I’ve been getting tattoos and piercings since I was 16, that’s 14 years of experimentation with art and body. I’m not going to give that up. As an adult, the phrase “that’s just a phase,” is no longer valid. Also, I get asked for my ID less frequently. Even though I don’t really like looking “older” I really enjoy not having to show my ID whenever I want to buy a bottle of wine or go to the movies (yes, I live in a town where they check your age for R rated movies).

I find I get along better/my ideas aren’t dismissed by adults as easily as they were when I was in college because I’ve experienced more of life and other adults can recognize that I know what I’m talking about. I think being an adult is much better than being an adolescent but I do find it strange that age and experience can validate an opinion. Younger people have the same validity as adults, just a different perspective, and I believe everyone should be listened to regardless of how old they are. I haven’t always been excited about turning 30, I did think at one point that I would be like Sylvia Plath and I wouldn’t survive to see 30 or that I would still be “alive” but living in a stale, passionless, soulless existence as an office worker in some miserable company.

Another cool thing I’ve discovered is that I didn’t feel defeated when I gave my mom permission to tell me “I told you so” and vow to accept every mistake I make/made from here on out, I’m not sorry for making mistakes and I’ll never stop learning from them. Life is a joy and a celebration, as is every birthday in your life.

Why I LOVE Traveling Songs

Traveling Songs by S.J. Tucker is one of my favorite music compilations to come out of 2016, second only to David Bowie’s last album.

An album is a guided presentation of a story. Even if the listener has no knowledge of the destination, the map has a line and the road follows the bard’s voice. We, the ones living outside the storyteller’s head, can wander down the path and explore the story.

Traveling Songs lets you jump the border and dive into the uncharted, wild terrain of SJ’s imagination. Traveling Songs gives us the opportunity to throw the map away and listen to a pure, undiluted year’s worth of SJ’s musical creations.

What can I say about Traveling Songs? 1st: IT’S AWESOME

the concept
the conception
the cause: to fund an amazingly awesome
singer/songwriter’s art and her new touring vehicle
are all awesome.

2nd: why is it awesome?

Here’s some backstory for you:

I first met SJ at a concert in Memphis, maybe 2009, maybe 2008. The city and I had both changed drastically since my last visit there in 2006 and I spent the whole day terrified of the unfamiliar streets and indulging myself with bad company.

Sanctuary is the feeling you get when you step into a venue where SJ is set to play. When the place permeates your entire existence, even if it’s only for an hour or two, and that place is exactly where you need to be to make everything right with your life. The excellent musical quality and artistry of SJ’s performances combined with the gesture of storytelling, and the stories themselves, give listeners exactly what they need to re-discover their inner strength and overcome all obstacles. That night I clapped so hard I bent my silver rings out of shape and even though my life was not ideal, SJ inspired me to keep going and exist as my best self in the face of adversity.

from SJ’s album Solace and Sorrow, Sorrow’s Song:

Tell me a tale so beautiful that the stars will strain to hear
The song you fear to end is just beginning
so sing me a city of wishes and fire
sing me a traveling song
I will give you words of wonder
and a feather cloak to keep you warm!

When SJ made this post about her new project, a collection of songs that she wrote between February 2015 and 2016 for a Song-a-Week Challenge (this includes songs in a wide variety of musical genres and subjects) 2 of the songs from the Song-a-Week Challenge are available for listening on SJ’s Soundcloud. and asked for donations for either an 11 song collection, a 22 song collection, or the whole package of 52 songs, one for each week, you can bet I hitched my star to that wagon. The power of music and the power that storytellers like SJ possess turns the ordinary drudgery of our day to day lives into magic and wonder. Traveling Songs is a comprehensive and fantastic representation of SJ’s musical and creative talent. In her own words, the songs are “all works in progress. Some of them are iPhone recordings that I cleaned up in my mixing software just a little bit. But I’m proud to be able to share them with you.”

One of the amazing things about SJ is that not only does she make great art, she also travels around the world playing music for her friends and sustains herself with her art. SJ dares to live her dreams and she’s thriving because she has the strength and courage to, in all honesty, do what needs to be done and tell the stories.

I don’t know about you but I would love to quit my day job and write/perform poetry all day but I have over $100,000 in student loans. As much as I would love to live my dream of existing as a hermit on top of a mountain, or driving all over the country in an RV and just enough money to get by, I can’t. My past life choices won’t let me.

BUT here’s the thing: not only does SJ heal all the broken things with her songs and give a voice to the voiceless, SJ doesn’t just embody the fairy tale life many of us artists want/yearn to live, she gives people like me the courage/motivation/support to strive for my dream anyway, no matter what obstacles I put there in my past, no matter how many people (sometimes including myself) say that I can’t do whatever it is that I want to do. When I listen to Traveling Songs I remember the part of myself that won’t let anyone tell her no, the part of myself that won’t put up with boundaries or labels and isn’t afraid to exist as herself and live in the spirit of the creative.

SJ’s Traveling Songs are the promised words of wonder and the warmth that the road gives to all hopeful travelers.

Thank you Sooj!!!

Get your copy HERE today!