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Had  you asked me 10 years ago to describe what my life would be at age 30, I don’t think I could have done it. I don’t think I looked very far past Friday nights back then. And I certainly never would have called myself a triathlete.

Thirty seems to be a bench-mark year. As one friend cheered: “30 is the new Sweet-16!” I heartily agreed, from my pool-side chaise in Miami, on the vacation I had for myself. The best part of it is that it has all the frivolity of Sweet 16, with drinks and the ability to spoil yourself thrown in.

Yes, I took myself to Miami for my 30th birthday. And while this sounds oh-so-Kardashian, it really was a personal gift to myself in every sense. I took myself to Miami so I could compete in an international-distance triathlon (.6mile swim/22mile bike/10k run); something I decided I would do 8 months ago, when running 6.6 miles was a full month’s worth of training.

Miami was merely a cool backdrop. The triathlon will be the best memory. Not only did I achieve the handful of goals I set for myself, I did better than I ever thought I could do. I surprised even myself with my own results in something that, nearly two weeks ago, I doubted I would complete successfully, if at all.

This is how I will start my 30th birthday year. I will start it with a personal challenge, which I will exceed beyond goals. I will start it by doing something for myself, and being proud of my accomplishments. I will start it with the support of friends and family, and know that, with hard work and perseverance, achievement is possible.

30 is a benchmark year in that it marks a decade of really living. The last benchmark birthday was all about consumption. This one seems to be all about life. The education is behind me. The adolescent mistakes are (hopefully) behind me. Now is the time to go out, live, and make a mark in the world.

I still don’t know what 30 looks like. And if you asked me today what my life will be at 40, I can’t answer that either. Sometimes I still can’t see past Friday. But I do know that I am very much looking forward to this next decade with great excitement about whatever may come.

And who knows… maybe I’ll usher in 40 in Kona!

~M

Retro re-post of the day: The National Championship (or, Rivalry Weekend).

Bonus Retro re-post: Chart Toppers.

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