Today I turn thirty. I’m older, yes, but wiser. I was reminiscing about the day I turned 20 and cried for the loss of my teens. Yes, to cry for a loss of innocence is ok, but I think by now I know that life just gets better and better with time (at least it has so far). I meet this decade with great peace and calm anticipation. And a little bit of sleep deprivation.

In review: the last 10 years represent a third of my life, and from what I already mentioned, the best yet. I married the perfect man for me, and together we built up to a family of four. I got a passport and proceeded to completely fill the pages traveling the world, enough to require extra pages to be put in (a personal goal, more easily achieved if one has so many full page Chinese visas). I lived in 4 countries, five if you count Texas separately (many do ;-)) I learned to speak Mandarin. I finished my degree and had a 5-year career that was accelerated to where I experienced enough to be OK leaving it to go on to other things. I have made wonderful friendships all over the world, creating what I hope to be lifelong bonds with great and interesting people. I achieved far beyond what I ever thought I was capable at with running, and injury free! I learned to bake, and enjoy cooking more than ever. It was a good 10 years.

Status check: From a time when I placed an undue amount of pressure on myself, creating illness through stress and unhappiness through worry and anxiety… to today, where I feel in harmony with my situation. I am happy. I feel almost guilty writing that (see, I’m not there yet, still need to work on that guilt …). I don’t dwell on the past and I don’t stress about the future. Each day is just that, another day. And of course there are moments of frustration, tears, worry and stress, but (in my advanced age) I have learned to deal so much better with those times. I am happy where I am now, and it’s part of the reason we’ve decided to stay put. Tim just signed an extension of his contract, so we are in Penang through at least early 2013.

Looking ahead: I don’t do a lot of looking ahead. I want to grow with my family, see who my baby girl is going to be, and enjoy the little kid years with her and Miles.   Be a mother, be a partner, be true to myself. I could never have imagined the path the last 10 years took, so I won’t try to imagine the next. I can only hope to come out of the next decade with a similar outlook, no matter what may come.

This ended up being a bit cheesier than I was hoping for, but I think at heart I am a sap and not built for clever wit. If you are reading this, I bet you are family, a friend or acquaintance, or maybe we’ve never met. In any case, thank you for being a part of my 30 years. Love, Laurel.