A Lesson for Thirty

I turn 30 tomorrow.

As conveyed through my numerous social media posts this year, 2021 has been completely dedicated to commemorating this milestone. It’s a blessing to arrive here, especially with the childlike excitement I’ve brought to it.

Is it 2021 or 1996? Similar vibes of sheer happiness.

In the past 30 days, I thought about different ways I could acknowledge the dawning of a new decade. Should I try to revive the Facebook Notes feature (does it even still exist? shoutout to the grand authoress Sesali Bowen for the recent reminder in an IGTV video!) and write a list of what I’ve learned from 1991-2021? There must certainly be some value in letting my Facebook friends know that they should buy plane tickets on Tuesdays and decline the additional insurance coverage when they rent cars?

Perhaps I could upload a video with a meditation and prayer for this new season of my life? Incorporate elements of comedy and pragmatism in either form of delivery?

In the final 24 hours of my twenties, I decided to push out this short essay. Its overarching theme?


Love that may originate in excitement and end in heartbreak. Love that builds ties – some of which may be unexpected – across the years. Love that ultimately instructs one in greater empathy. Love that guides through pain. Abundant, sustaining, enriching love.

That is the lesson for my thirtieth birthday and the rest of my life.

Love hard. Love through the difficult moments to heal from them. Love them and tell them. Love the person you become, regardless of their response. Love the mistakes you make and the character they build; love the forgiveness that you may ask for or seek out from someone else once a sufficient amount of time passes. Love as you grow and find some eventual sense of peace.

Love your friends. Love your lovers. Love your family. Love these people to hold them accountable when they do harm. Love the feedback they give you when you do the same.

Love humanity enough to fight for the world we all deserve. Love one another as we collectively fight to abolish prisons, policing, and state control of Black people. Love people who have abortions, do drugs, engage in sex work, and break all the other molds that have been forced upon them through centuries of pervasive white supremacy.

Love and study the frameworks that will get us to true freedom, such as disability justice, environmental justice, and reproductive justice. Love in the face of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia to do away with the oppressive systems that perpetuate them – once and for all.

If you’re reading this, I love you. Thank you for supporting me and my craft. Much more awaits. Beyond grateful to see 30.

– arh

About andrewrhairston

Andrew Reginald Hairston is a civil rights attorney, writer, proud bisexual man, and doting uncle who divides his time almost equally between Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. He loves, fights for, and writes about Black people.
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1 Response to A Lesson for Thirty

  1. Lita says:

    You are Awesome and I do Love you!!!

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