Birthday come and gone, I’m a hedge of a lot closer to 30 than I felt just the day before I celebrated another year of me (as you well know, my favorite subject). I suppose I should be bothered. In a way, I am. Just a tiny bit. Alright, maybe more than a little at times. But really, this year my birthday made me realize something. I’m a fully grown woman, an adult by anyone’s standards, and…

I’m okay with that.

I never thought it would happen. When I was fifteen and my best friend at the time and I fell on the floor bemoaning the fact that we were halfway to 30 (her bday being just a month and a half after mine), I thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I couldn’t imagine anything more terrifying than *gasp* being old. When I stopped getting carded to buy liquor, I thought my heart would stop. And when an 18 year old boy called me ma’am and my hand itched to slap the smirk off his face… Well, I believe my thoughts at that time aren’t exactly something I should share with the public at large.

But I’m 29. Yeah, I’m going to lay it all out there. And guess what? I don’t care. The new boy bands are jail bait for me, there is no longer a thrill when someone calls me an adult, and more often than not (here in the South) I get a Ms. tacked on before my first name when children are talking to me. But on the flip side, I make my own decisions. My entire life is my own to decide. I’m comfortable in my skin (even when there is a bit more of it than I’d like).

I still don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what I thought my life would be at this stage but I’m pretty happy overall. I like me, and I like my aspirations for the me that is still evolving. I love the fact that, no longer the trembling child, I’m able to stand up tall and say, “this is me, like it or lump it.”

And even better, I still get hit on, on the regular. That makes me giggle like the schoolgirl I’m glad I no longer am. Do I still long for the days when I woke up looking like a relaxed kitten even after downing a fifth of tequila? Of course. Because inside I’m still just me, the girl who revels in her vanity and purrs in contentment when others recognize her fabulous nature. Even if that me is going to be thirty on her next birthday.

So this year, what do I want to do? Ever one to make lists and plot out my next move, I am now in a place where I feel that any decision I make will be the right one. Because I’ve been there and done that. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve lived to see another day. Through experience I’ve learned that regrets are for masochists and that were it not for the (sometimes colossal) missteps I’ve made in the past, I wouldn’t be the “me” I am today, the “me” that I love. I have some scary things on the horizon but what would life be if not for the challenge of it?

Happy birthday to me.