Thoughts on Turning 31…

Want to know how I feel about turning 31 today? Well, basically I think it sucks. I hate getting old and this birthday makes me feel old.

Not to mention the fact that I am enormously pregnant right now, expecting baby Cottrell at any moment.

I was scared to death to turn 30 last year. I had a mini breakdown. I wish I could be like those women who effortlessly grown older and sing of the virtues of old age. Women who make 40 look like 17 (Demi Moore…the ageless wonder) and who treat birthdays as just an excuse to order another cocktail.

But alas, I am not one of those women. I feel the pang of growing older because it forces me to examine what I’ve done and sadly, what I have not done. I tally all the things I’ve yet to accomplish and feel like time is moving too fast for me to ever really accomplish them all.

But then I pause and look at my life and its richness and fullness. I am overwhelmed by the love of my God, my husband, my children, my family and friends. I am drenched in acceptance, openness, and the daily beauty of being a mother, as difficult as it is some days.

This last year proved to be one of ups and downs, great opportunities and some loss, all the while God has faithfully stood at my side and upheld me. This time last year, I was just beginning Modern Reject not knowing what I was doing or why. Now, however, so much focus has been placed before me…so much clarity and resolve.

I hate that I’m officially in my thirties. I hate the way saying “31” makes me feel, but I love my life and am thankful for every moment of it. I love that God will never ever say, “You’re all done Nicole. Nothin’ more to learn here.” I love that birthdays are markers of not only where we came from, but where we are headed…and for those reasons, I love turning 31.

11 thoughts on “Thoughts on Turning 31…”

  1. Happy Birthday! You make 31 look so young and chic and your life is SO full of blessing and love and beauty. Love you so much, can’t wait to celebrate YOU tonight!

  2. Never before has 31 looked so good. Seriously. (No, *seriously!*)

    Even if you weren’t my wife I’d be saying it–you’re an incredible woman who has done much by this point. And I know God has many more exciting things in store for you ahead. I’m sure of it.

    The happiest of birthdays to you, my love.

  3. Oh, Nicole. I know how you feel.

    I always told myself (when I was younger) that I was absolutely NOT going to be one of those women who freaked out over a few gray hairs or turning thirty or any of that aging crap.

    And then I hit 30.

    Bless my best friend, who’s four years younger than me…she sent me flowers. I felt special. And loved.

    But turning 30 was harder than I thought it was going to be, for a lot of reasons.

    I’m now 36, and there are nights I find myself ruthlessly tweezing out the WHITE hairs I keep finding at my temples. Yep, skipped right over the whole gray thing. Mine are coming in white. My dad calls them “platinum,” and who am I to argue with him?

    I’ve contemplated coloring my hair, but…well… A) I don’t want the constant upkeep of making sure my roots aren’t showing; B) I have such a wide range of color shades naturally in my hair that, for now, the white kinda…sorta…mostly blends in well enough; and C) it’s just going to get worse anyway, and hopefully I’ll end up with one of those gorgeous manes of beautiful white hair.

  4. I remember when I was about your age – It came up at a company inservice event that I was the youngest person who worked there, and it was a company of several hundred people. That felt strange.

    Age is a number. Don’t let it bother you. In my mind, I still feel like I’m in my late 20’s, and I turned 50 this year. The last woman I dated was ten years older than me, and I didn’t consider that to be any big deal, although she was concerned about it.

    I would echo the other responders – you look great from here, and you’re clearly accomplishing things, so… celebrate already!

    Happy Birthday, Nicole!

  5. Age really is just a state of mind. (That sounds like it should come from an old person, but I’m only 33.) Every year that goes by, I realize just how true this is.

    Happy birthday!

  6. I love reading about the up sides of growing older. It’s hard for all of us once we get past 20, I think, and it’s something our culture needs to learn to embrace. I’m so glad God has given you affirmation, love, and focus, and I’m so glad that that’s where your heart ends up. :) Happy birthday!

    I had a birthday recently, too, (the 17th!) and I love how God never ceases to floor me with all the love I receive from short posts on facebook, little gifts from people I barely know, and heartfelt messages from my dearest ones. He is so good!

  7. Dear, dear Nicole!

    As your husband accurately noted, you are a hot 31-year-old babe who not only looks good, but who is already well accomplished in life and moving up to even greater things. You will look back on this birthday in future years and ask (when you turn 39) “Why was I so upset about turning 31?! Geez!”

    Let this little milestone propel you to keep accomplishing great things for His kingdom while you have time. None of us knows how many days remain, but we can choose to put them to good use, as you have already been doing. “Just keep swimming; just keep swimming…”

    Age is only a state of mind until you get so old that your body just won’t do what you tell it any more. You are a long way from that point, Honey.

    Happy birthday, o delightful and wonderful daughter!!! You are loved, adored, and respected. We are so blessed to have you in this world and in our family. Praise God!

    your young-minded dad

  8. I had to chuckle at Auntie J.’s comment about plucking the white hairs at her temple – I was just doing that yet again last night! I also skipped over any stage of gray. In fact, I found my first white hair one week before my 30th birthday…and yes, I freaked out…and now I look wistfully back to the “only one” days and wonder how long my over-the-counter haircolor will continue to do its job and how long it will be before I have to consider dying my eyebrows as well.

    But more importantly…Nicole, I know it seems like 31 is a BIG number…but from someone who turned 51 just over a week ago, let me assure you that you are still so young! With so much life and accomplishments ahead of you! And, at least for me, turning 50 was great. I dreaded it to some extent, but my mom was right when she told me that the next day I’d be fine. I was…and I loved turning 50. There was something freeing about it. And in my head I still feel like I’m 21, as I bet you do also. So keep plugging, you young thing…the best is yet to come.

  9. I have been feeling the same way…it started with turning 26. The idea of being a full-fledged grownup is now a reality. I loved what you said about birthdays:
    “I love that birthdays are markers of not only where we came from, but where we are headed…and for those reasons, I love turning 31.”

  10. To my old friend Nicole – How are you? How are you, of all people, afraid of turning 31? We’re not getting old, we’re getting better. I miss you. You have been on my mind the past month so I Googled you and here you are. Congrats on your newest addition and I hope you had a wonderful birthday.


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