Being Berrak,  Birthdays,  Friends,  Life

The One Where I Turned 30

I always post my birthday posts on my birthday. Always. This year, though, I wasn’t sure how to approach it. I mean, it’s a big milestone, and I know it’s a big deal but I couldn’t exactly nail down why. I have a lot of thoughts about it – not necessarily related to the fact that I’m now 30 but just my life in general.

There wasn’t a magical change that happened when the clock struck midnight on April 1, 2015. I was in Scottsdale, AZ with 5 awesome guys who decided that even though I was on a work trip, I wouldn’t enter my new decade alone in a hotel room. On my birthday, I was at a conference, running full speed, doing what I love. To be honest, 30 has been amazing, but it wasn’t because the Earth rotated around the sun for 365 days.

The truth about my life is that in my darkest moments, I didn’t think I’d live to see 30. Even if I did, it’d be as a failure, or in miserable circumstances.

Then I took control of my life. I made an active decision to be selfish. I chose to own who I am, and finally build the life I’ve been stubbornly wanting for as long as I can remember.

I am needy .

I am the memory keeper.

I am a cat lady.

I am ugly.

I am angry.

I am passionate.

I am an aspiring digital nomad philanthropist.

I am the heaviest I’ve ever been and I’m OK with that.

I am at peace with my tagged photos.

I am an Amplifier.

I am a writer.

I am 30.

I am surrounded by love because I stopped looking for my tribe, and looked for passion instead. A few days after my birthday, I stood in my apartment, overwhelmed. There were about 10 of my closest friends in my home, laughing, drinking and chatting it up. They were there for me – to celebrate me. To get to know each other through me. They chose me the way I chose them.

At one point, my anxiety got the best of me and I didn’t know what to do with myself. My awesome friend Nate took one look at me and asked me what I needed him to do – and proceeded to take control of the party. In that moment, it was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve always talked about looking for the people who can sing back the words to my song when I forget the lyrics.

The moments that matter are when we can’t be there 100% but the ones around us can take charge, like a relay. They’re the ones we trust with the most precious torch of all – our heart.

My lovely friend Jessica made a comment about me being the Kevin Bacon of our group, which made me laugh. (Muslim girl, bacon…ya get it.) But it made me happy. See, the thing about my friends is that I am not the center of gravity in any single group. I’ve always been a drifter, but now, as adults, I choose to amplify the best part about my friends. So when friends I’ve made through the most random circumstance are all in a room together, they can get along without me having to navigate the conversation.

Career-wise, I cannot be in a better place. And honestly, I will be posting a different blog about that.

Ditto to the whole dating thing. I’m taking a break for a while, but that’s a different post for another day.

I won’t do a 30 things I learned about being 30, nor do I want to write a letter to my younger self. Every single moment of my life leading up to this point has had a purpose. There’s been a reason. Sometimes that reason was that I couldn’t fight depression and needed to be destructive. When friendships fell apart, the reason was to learn to trust my gut and feel that pain to grow.

The magic about 30 isn’t in the moment the clock strikes midnight. The magic is in the moments leading up to it. It’s in the intentional decisions you make in order to live the life you want. They aren’t all life changing decisions, like taking a leap of faith and driving cross-country. It’s in the smiles you share or that hello in line at the coffee shop. It’s in the random conversations you have with someone at the bar while waiting for your friend. It’s in the decision to take a bath and read for 30 minutes instead of going out for a drink on a Friday night. It’s in the chaos. It’s in the moments after a rain storm. It’s the 30 seconds you have before your alarm goes off, when your cat/dog/baby is snuggled up perfectly against your body.

The magic about 30 isn’t about being 30. It’s in any day, any age, any moment of your life.

So take a deep breath, set your intentions, and figure out what it will take for you to be happy.

I chose Seattle. I chose being a freelancer. I chose to stop dimming my own light to make others happy. I chose to heal.

I chose me – scars and all.

Oh and don’t worry – the ridiculous selfies aren’t going anywhere.

“Ma pensée, c’est moi: voilà pourquoi je ne peux pas m’arrêter. J’existe parce que je pense … et je ne peux pas m’empêcher de penser.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


  • Jasemine-Denise

    Wow, Berrak! This is amazing and inspiring. I often get afraid of turning thirty but you make it seem like the older I get the more I will become one with my inner being. That makes me less apprehensive and more excited! You’ve come such a long way and from what I’ve read, it’s been a beautiful journey! Followed you on Twitter and I look forward to seeing more blogs like this <3

    • Berrak

      Thank you!! I definitely had my own worries about turning 30, but what my friends have been telling me is true: It’s a fun stop in a long journey full of adventures, as long as you live a life that feels real and authentic to you.

  • jessicamalnik

    This is a fantastic post, @BerrakDC:disqus. This line in particular really resonates with me.

    “The magic about 30 isn’t in the moment the clock strikes midnight. The magic is in the moments leading up to it. It’s in the intentional decisions you make in order to live the life you want. ”

    Keep on living life to the fullest!

  • Jenna D

    I love this, just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean you have to stop going after the thing you want!


    The truth about her life is that in her darkest moments, she didn’t think she would live to see 30. Even if she did, it’d be as a failure, or in miserable
    circumstances. But she took control and you should read to find out what happened.

  • Starla

    This is fantastic. You are awesome! Don’t you ever forget that. I am only 23 but I seem to have alot of the same thoughts as you! xo

  • Mai Tran

    I love this episode from Friends. I wish you a 30th year like Rachel’s: energetic, fun, and full of surprises.

  • Reava Bennett

    I’ll be 30 in three more years. I honestly can’t believe it. I get told that I still look like I’m 18. How long that’s gonna last, not sure. I can totally relate to whole not being the center of gravity thing in a group setting. I kinda just social butterfly everything. Even sit at the back of things or the top. Always the aisle seat kind of person so I that I can get up and go as soon as I want to. I hope that I can find those kind of friends that can tell with one look how I’m feeling and can appropriately respond to it without thinking that I’m trying to ruin their good time. A boyfriend would be even better.

  • Kristin Knudsen

    When I turned 30, all of a sudden my body started falling apart! I started having aches and pains in my joints (developing Fibromyalgia) when it rains or gets cold, I started going to bed earlier, and becoming an early riser! Completely different from what I was used to! For some, it doesn’t happen until later on in life, but for me, it all began when I turned 30!


    I could relate to this writer and do agree that the magic about 30 isn’t about being 30. It’s in any day, any age, any moment of your life.

  • Kristin Knudsen

    I am also a “cat lady”!! And, I don’t care who knows it!!! They are my babies…and I treat them as such!!!

  • Courtney Bella

    30 is a major milestone, I started to feel really old when I hit 30. But I guess the 30s are supposed to be some good times…sooo 30 is the new 20 ! 🙂 lol

  • peg5

    it takes a touch of grace and an open soul to write about topics we can all relate to…well done!