I turn 30 tomorrow. One of the first things I did to celebrate was I committed to going bald. After cutting off my hair, I like it, though my baldness makes me look like a spitting image of my Dad. This is 30.

Thirty is one of the monumental birthday years. I’ve always looked at it as when you officially enter into a new phase of adulthood. It’s this transition that causes 30 to also be one of the birthdays most of us don’t look forward to. Thirty, unlike 18, 21, or even 25, is a transition into a year that’s supposed to define what it means to be a functional adult. For some reason, I’ve always looked forward to turning 30.

Your 30s, to me, is supposed to be when the real growth begins. It’s when you finally know who you are, your purpose, and where you can live and grow into that. Your teens are your teens, and your 20s, are well, your 20s. During my 20s, I felt like I was walking around the world with my head cut off. The early 20s were a time of great despair, and the mid-20s were a time of figuring it out.

But in my early 20s, I read a book that would forever change my life called The Defining Decade. The concept of the book is that your 20s are the new 30s. That is that your 20s set you up for the rest of your life. It defines where you are headed, your relationships, and your career trajectory. I picked up the book because I was looking for any type of purpose in life. I was lost, depressed, and hanging on a limb. The book would be a life-changer, and I recommended it to my closest friends. Now looking back, yes, my 20s were essential for me to be where I am now.

In my 20s, I moved from Los Angeles to New York for graduate school. I changed careers from fashion to digital marketing. I left for D.C. from New York, and now I’m back in Los Angeles and making another career transition to education. I also learned a lot of lessons along the way.

Most of the lessons I learned the hard way—I guess I had to get them for myself. I made mistakes, some I have learned from and some I am still learning. I learned about the importance of love. I found out what it means to be authentically yourself. I learned that change is inevitable. I also learned that it is okay to feel, and most importantly, it is also okay to not be okay. I’ve learned that we don’t always have a reason now, but time is usually on our side. I learned that nothing outside of myself has any dictation of who I am and how I go about it.

So, here’s to a celebration of life, moving forward, progress, change, and setting positive intentions to have an abundant and meaningful life. I have grown in every way possible these past 10 years. If you were to ask my 20-year-old self if this is where he thought he would be in 10 years, he probably would be very doubtful or surprised. But that’s life. It comes with a hell of a lot of surprises. I am sure I am due for more surprises in this next decade.

Your 30s are an opportunity to grow into your purpose, but your purpose is to impact this world. It’s a decade where you thrive and flourish. As I transition into this next phase of my life, I hope to fulfill all those things. Time will be on my side as I head into my 30s. There’s another 10 years ahead until the next transition. Who knows where I’ll be or who I’ll be, but I’m looking forward to growing toward that person.

Going back to the Defining Decade, it is not that I was defining myself in my 20s or that we define ourselves in our 20s. We’re always defining who we are, but it’s the fact that everything you do, in time, leads to who your future self will be.

So, here’s to 30. Here’s to the years ahead. The friends who I will grow with, and the new friends who will come along. Here’s to making connections. Here’s to career growth. Here’s to changing the world we live in. Here’s to the next decade in which I will define my life by.

Writing is my best form of self-expression, I write to inspire.

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