30 is the New Light

I am 29 years old. With all of the things that I have been through in my life, I feel much older. Either way, I am 29. Sometimes “I am just 29”, and with a much younger crowd, “Oh hunny, I am 29!” to signify that I am much older and assumed “wiser”.

When I turned 29, I thought about everything wrong that I did in my 20s. The friends I have grown out of and moved away from mentally and emotionally. The endless relationships that now have me cringing when I think about them.
I turn 30 in December. And there are many things from my 20s, that I refuse to take in my “Dirty 30”. Here are my top 5:

1. Love is just love. It does not equate respect, devotion, or promise. It is simple. It is a covenant of souls young and old. We can’t help who we love, how long we love them, or why we love them. We simply just love.

2. I am not defined by a person or what that person thinks of me specifically in a relationship. I am defined by my character in each moment of each day. And just because my character was a hot mess at 20, a little calmer at 25, ridiculous at 27, and a combination of all the above at 29, does not equate the new peace and anti-social behavior that I will probably have at 30.

3. Faith and more specifically Grace has more to do with my personal relationship with my Creator and less to do with me convincing others to have that relationship with whatever or whomever Creator they decide to choose or not choose. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

4. I am not perfect. My body is not perfect. At 450 lbs I hated my weight. At 200+ I hate my weight and sometimes feel myself being judgmental of others who love their weight in the 400s. Who am I to judge? My self-image issues are mine and I am the only one who can change those and work on them.

5. I am a work in progress. I cuss too much. Eat way too many starbursts. Cry more than I used to. Sometimes lack empathy when I should have it. Am antisocial when I need to be “on”. And laugh at jokes that are downright mean. But, that’s me. And on December 17, when I go into my “Dirty 30”, a new light will shine around me. 30 will be my new light and good or bad, I intend to let that thing shine shine shine!!!!

 -Tammy D. Rhodes

 Tammy Rhodes was born in Florence and raised in Muscle Shoals. “The Shoals is my home and I love it here.” She is an Administrative Assistant at the University of North Alabama, and is a minister, singer, director, actress, and poet. “I work in one of the most diverse offices on the campus of UNA. I am a proud dog mommy to my true loves, Shug and Doozy! I’ve been known to hum a little bit and to spit some spoken word every now and again. But mainly I am a thriving spirit trying every day to leave a positive imprint on the world.”

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