the big 3-0

on my mind

I turn 30 this week on the 9th. At the beginning of this year, I had a very different expectation of 2020 (who didn’t though) and what the last year of my 20s would be like. I didn’t want to be a passive observer of life and just embrace what ever happened. I wanted to actively shape and mold this year, so that I would enter my new decade of life with a level of vibrancy that my 20 year old self would be in awe of. I wanted to be ready for that phase of life where, as Jenna Rink in 13 Going on 30 described, I’d be thirty, flirty and thriving.

30 is made out to be this huge, scary age that signals the end of adolescence. It’s also the first marker on the idealized timeline of success thanks to publications like Forbes. For women, there are even more standards to live up to when it comes to being married or having children (Watching Girlfriends and New Girl did not help with reflecting on both of these). But I was determined to have my own personal set of goals to accomplish, because I like having things to focus on and look forward to.

In the end, my 29th year tested me in a number of ways and offered me different milestones and memories that only a pandemic would create. It took the wind out of me and made me more comfortable with the confines of my apartment. Instead of conquering the world, I was forced to learn how to conquer my mind. Instead of adding new cities and countries to my travel list, I added new streets and parks from my neighborhood into my routine.

I lost sight of some of my goals, relationships, motivation for projects, opportunities to spend with my loved ones, energy, connection to community, and confidence in my plethora of identities. I gained weight, longer hours of screen time, a new job, new insights into my friends and family, an erratic writing schedule, a morning routine, more cooking confidence, new plants, artwork and a home office. I don’t know how that balances out in the end, but suffice it to say, I will not forget what 29 was like for me in my memories.

But even though this year was a mess, it doesn’t mean I can’t look forward to a better decade ahead. With all the blessings I have in my life, my health, family and friends, I am ready to walk into my 30s, even if “normal life” doesn’t return as quickly as I’d like. I hope to be a more compassionate, thoughtful, loving and fun version of myself and enjoy each moment instead of comparing myself to others. I’m thankful you were all apart of this with me, reading and writing back to me every other week about your own journeys, what’s fueled you, frustrated you and inspired you.

To help me celebrate my birthday, I would really appreciate you making a donation to Miriam’s Kitchen, a nonprofit focused on serving housing and food insecure people in D.C. Also, happy to receive words of advice, affirmations, prayers, poems, and good vibes :)


what i’m noting

  • Spotify Wrapped // I am a fan of learning about people’s listening habits, so please tell me what your top genre and artists were in 2020. Mine were lo-fi beats (solely because that’s what I listen to while I work and I needed a lot of calming vibes this year) and Snoh Aalegra (does this need explanation?)

  • BIPOC Writing Mentorship // If you’re a writer who identifies as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color, apply for this one-year mentorship program that is looking for mentees. You could be mentored by amazing writers from different genres— fiction, cultural criticism, poetry, journalism and more. Deadline is December 15th.


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— Nesima

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