It’s My Birthday! Kim Turns 30.

by Kim on July 31, 2011 · 36 comments

“If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday. 

It’s kind of a big deal, turning 30, at least to me.  It’s a whole new decade, the leaving-behind of my 20’s.  As Jeff Greenwald says in his book The Size of the World (thanks Kristin) “Whenever a 0 passes in my life, I get an irresistible urge to jump through it.”

Some people spend their 20’s studying, or roaming around the planet, or settling down and raising a family.  Many people spend their 20’s dabbling, testing the waters, trying to identify whatever it is that makes them authentically who they are.  I spent my 20’s working.  When I eventually landed a job with the title I had hoped for, I stopped to ask myself what in the heck I was doing.  I’d been operating under the assumption that having a successful career and a big paycheck would calm the fire inside of me, that insatiable hunger for something more.  But when I stopped to think about it, I realized that it never would. 

I don’t remember what I did on the day, ten years ago, when I turned 20.  I was living at my parent’s house for the summer, I’d just finished my second year of college.  I do remember thinking that in the next 10 years I would probably be married and have children.  I didn’t particularly want those things, but that’s just the natural progression of life where I’m from.  I didn’t think to question the status quo because I didn’t know anyone else who ever had. 

Here I am, 10 years later, and life did not turn out at all like my 20 year-old self had expected.   Life has, in fact, ended up much bigger and scarier and brighter and fuller and sadder and exciting than I could have dreamed.  At the age of 20 I really thought I was close to figuring it all out.  At 30, the world is more confusing than it ever was, but the core of who I am comes more crisply into focus every day.  Now, when my inner voice speaks, I listen. 

If everything goes according to plan, the age of 30 will find me jobless, homeless and possessionless.  It’s certainly not the vision I had of my life at the age of 20, but I know that if I could go back and tell my 20-year-old self what she was about to do, she would cheer.  She would be proud of herself.  She would have thought that she was totally bad-ass.


To celebrate my 30th birthday I wanted to run the entire 30-mile Wildwood Trail.  The Wildwood Trail runs the length of Portland’s Forest Park, the largest forested, urban park in the country and a place I frequently refer to as “church.”  My idea was to spend each mile of the run reflecting on each year of life that I had lived. 

I completed the run this weekend with two of my sister-friends (how lucky to find people in life that come alive in the same way that you do).  We ran the entire trail in 6.5 hours and it was beautiful and painful and thrilling. 

Unlike my plan, though, I didn’t spend a second of that run reflecting on any of my years so far.  Instead, I talked with my girlfriends about the future.  We talked about weddings and travel and love, about what we hoped for and what scared us, about nieces and siblings and the people we care for. 

It was, I realized afterwards, the perfect way to welcome in a new decade. Because what I hope for myself most of all is to always be able to talk excitedly about my life.  I hope to stay hungry, to fight hard, to never give up on the things that matter to me, and to always look forward to what’s around the corner.

My friends and I during our 30-mile run on the Wildwood Trail

Rawr!  (An ode to my inner Leo)


{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

RenegadePilgrim July 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Kim, that is awesome! I love the Forest Park trail system. I spent a lot of time there earlier this year before “summer” came to Oregon and the snow started to melt in the upper elevations! Congrats on turning 30. I’m closer to 40 than you and I have to say, the 30’s are the best decade so far!


Kim July 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm

You mean before last week? 😉 My favorite place during the rainy season is forest park- it’s like a magical, mystical place. Portland would not be Portland without that fabulous park.

I keep hearing that the 30’s are a great decade. I can’t wait!


RenegadePilgrim August 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm

So true, so true! I am looking forward to this coming week…supposed to be in the 80’s all week. Planning a camping/hiking trip out near Estacada for this weekend. Can’t wait to get some miles in up in the mountains! Your 30s are going to be awesome!


Kim August 1, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Have fun! I have not been camping all summer and that is so sad. But soon, very, very soon, I am going to sleep under the stars.


Torre – Fearful Adventurer July 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Happy birthday! Being jobless, homeless and possessionless at 30 is the best way to be IMO.


Kim July 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I have a feeling you’re right, Torre.


Carmel July 31, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Happy happy birthday!!! As scary as starting a new decade seems, I can honestly say my 30s are already becoming my favorite decade. I think the gift we gain as we get older is realizing how little we actually know, but treasuring what little we have–time and relationships.

I’m very excited for you and hope you will let us take you out for a birthday beer (or 2) sometime this month!


Kim July 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Thanks Carmel!! I definitely find as I get older that I have a much deeper awareness about how important the people in my life are, and how little time we really have.

YES! The four of us have to get together soon! August is really, really crazy for us (visit to Ohio, Hood to Coast… and MOVING (hopefully) but if we can’t get a mid-week happy hour together then we’ll have to plan a weekend event in September. I love summer but there is no time to slow down!


Matt July 31, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Happy Birthday Kim! Sounds like you celebrated in an amazing way. So excited for your journey and I hope that you guys will stop by and see us in Indonesia.
Matt recently posted..Why You Don’t Have the Money to Travel


Kim July 31, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Hi Matt, thank you! We will definitely let you know when we find ourselves in your (new) neck of the woods. Thanks for the invite 🙂


Dalene August 1, 2011 at 2:44 am

Happy Birthday Kim!! Run 30 miles on your birthday?? Good grief, I’d be eating 30 pieces of cake or something like that. 🙂


Kim August 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Afterwards I ate 30 pieces of cake. Actually, that’s not true, but I did eat a GIGANTIC dinner and then four hours later I ate another GIGANTIC dinner. Yum.


Sunee August 1, 2011 at 5:13 am

Everyone else has already said what I wanted to say, so I’ll just stick to: Happy Birthday! May it be a blessed year in which all your dreams come true! 🙂
Sunee recently posted..The Exotic Beauty of the Nasrid Palaces


Kim August 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Thank you Sunee. 🙂


Darcy August 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

Congrats on 3-0 Kim!! Keep listening to that inner voice…can’t wait to share/follow your adventures in the next decade. You may be inspired to write a 40 by 40 list of things you want to do. I’ve got 6 years left to finish my wish list, and it keeps me inspired.


Kim August 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Thanks Darcy. I love your 40 by 40 list. For the past few years I’ve done a 28 by 29 list, then a 29 by 30 list… you get the drift, but I kept not doing the things on my list. I think that giving myself a whole decade to complete the list would be better! Plus, free reign to chance it whenever I feel like it!


Kim August 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I actually meant to say “change” but I like “chance it” just as much.


A Slight Nod To Style August 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

that is such an awesome way to ring in a new decade. happy birthday!


Kim August 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Thank you! I told my friends who ran it with me… you better do it now because I’m not getting any younger… In reality it didn’t take much convincing.


Lily (Explore for a Year) August 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Happy Birthday Kim!

I’m so happy and proud of you for starting your 30th so beautifully and looking forward. Life never turns out the way we expect and that’s a great thing, because sometimes we’re really not as imaginative as we should be!

“If I could go back and tell my 20-year-old self what she was about to do, she would cheer. She would be proud of herself. She would have thought that she was totally bad-ass.” <– Great quote!

Thanks for sharing this beautiful post, I feel so lucky to be part of your journey.

Cheers to the start of a kick-ass year 🙂

– Lily
Lily (Explore for a Year) recently posted..Why I Love


Kim August 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Hi Lily, you said it perfectly, sometimes we’re really not as imaginative as we should be. How cool that life can turn out *better* than we expected!


Rhonda August 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm

First of all, happy birthday! Secondly, I am SOOO impressed by anyone who can run 30 miles (not being a runner myself) so congrats. Your entry certainly resonated with me. My life is also completely different than my 20yr old self envisioned and I am so glad. I am striving to truly living each day to it’s fullest and want to have no regrets whenever my time ends. If I had followed the somewhat boring path my 20yr old self imagined I’m afraid I’d feel very differently now!
Hope the house moving/ close/ etc is all going great. Just think, a short time until you’ll be following your dream.


Kim August 1, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Hi Rhonda, thanks for the birthday wishes! I’m glad that you and I both jumped off that boring path 🙂 I will certainly update on the house as soon as we know more (still in limbo, if you can believe it). Thanks again.


Deborah August 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Kim, this post made me cry. It was the photo of you with your beautiful soul-sister friends that put me over the edge. What a splendiferoulsy inspired — and inspirational way to bring in a new decade!! My favorite line in the post is this one:

Life has, in fact, ended up much bigger and scarier and brighter and fuller and sadder and exciting than I could have dreamed.

Here’s to a new decade of adventure and exploration!


Kim August 1, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Thank you Deborah!! Isn’t it amazing that I have not one but TWO friends crazy enough to run 30 miles with me? I am lucky for sure.


Kristin August 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Kim – Happy Birthday!

Goosebumps – what a fantastic reflection and post. I love how you went from the idea of letting go to meditating on what you do have with each mile of the run. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing!
Kristin recently posted..Six Ways to See the World in San Francisco


Kim August 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Thanks Kristin! Also, thanks again for sending me The Size of the World, I’m really enjoying it. I just took a small break to read The Alchemist, which I started AND finished today (a great read but you’ve probably already read it). Hope you are well.


Jason @ Travel Junkies August 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm

You ran the whole trail? Show off! Happy birthday!


Kim August 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Yep, the whole trail! Thanks for the bday wishes Jason.


Martine Destination Terre August 2, 2011 at 5:34 am

Happy Birthday Kim! 30 is great, but 40 is even better! So don’t loose sight of your dreams as they will “follow” you in the next decade.
And what a great way to jump into the “0”! I for myself couldn’t do something like that!
“…she would cheer …” oh yes she does! And remember that you’re not homeless, jobless, … you are just beginning a new life and the world is now your home! Celebrate what’s coming to you!
(I know, but I will get better in writing in english, it’s been such a long time…!)


Kim August 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm

“the world is now your home.” Great way to think about it and you are right. Thanks 🙂


Miel Hendrickson August 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Enjoy the next decade! I’m most certain it will bring adventure and joy!




Kim August 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Thank you Miel! Hope you are well 🙂


Dustin@WeGoRTW March 11, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Very Impressive, just found this old post through the latest. So 40 a 40?
Dustin@WeGoRTW recently posted..Happy Valentines Day from Black Fly Central


Kim March 13, 2014 at 7:51 am

Ha, that sounds pretty painful. But I’m not counting it out yet 🙂


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