A few weeks ago, I washed my hands as I usually do after going to the bathroom. I enlisted two pumps of soap, rubbed my hands together quickly, and rested them under the faucet to rinse off. My mind wandered as I stood for about ten seconds waiting for the water to turn on.
With frustration and soapy hands, I walked over to the next sink and did the same gesture: hands under faucet, signaling the water to take its course. Just as I was about to pull my hands back with another fit of frustration, I realized there were two knobs sitting on both sides of the sink.
I looked up at myself in the mirror, shook my head, and turned one of the knobs with an, are-you-kidding-me, laugh.
And that’s when it hit me:
I would have spent my whole life waiting for the water to turn on.
Okay, maybe I wouldn’t have waited my whole life – I would have, at least, tried a few more sinks. Is this what 30 feels like?
While my current reality doesn’t feel much different than 28 or 29, I do feel more responsible. Specifically, I feel more responsible for taking care of myself – for finding inner peace; for reflecting more intentionally; for guarding my heart; for taking risks.
For turning knobs.
I think I experienced my 20s with an assumption that the water would always turn on. And it usually did for me. I was privileged enough to almost always have “clean hands.” And even in the darker times of my past decade, I still held this expectation while knowing it was not always or actually going to be the case.
And as such, I am now more aware of the work I need to do in moving forward.
I accept that the only two feet I can stand on are my own.
More than #selfcare, this is my vision of self work. Self work is hard. Self work is unconventional. Self work is the antithesis of self-help. Self work matters.
In order to become a better and more capable human being, I am aware that no one is going to do the work for me. I have to do the work myself. Sometimes, it’s easy. Sometimes, it’s complicated. Sometimes, we look into the mirror and know what and when and how we need to change. Sometimes the faucet turns on.
And sometimes it doesn’t. And that’s okay.
When I turned 30, I expected there to be some incredibly revealing moment that would help guide me into the next decade of life. I expected 30 to be a lifetime supply of “water.” I expected vulnerability and change to be expired, and a new freedom to emerge as a beacon of hope for me to cling on to.
But today, 30 feels a lot like 29. And 28. And that’s totally okay.
I’m still vulnerable. And I’m still hopeful for change.
Here’s to the introspection. Here’s to the knobs. Here’s to self work.