I entered my thirties a couple of weeks ago.
I kept being asked how I felt about it. “You must have some thoughts,” a friend prompted me over pizza on the eve of my celebrations.
I wasn’t shy to admit that there was this new kind of panic surfacing, one I had yet to experience in the glorious booze induced decade that was my twenties. That forever young attitude suddenly felt fleeting. But in my center, I still felt calm. I knew I was going to be okay, more than okay, but I still needed to remind myself to breathe – breathe and remember everything I had done, loved, and learned.
The last twenty-four months or so has sometimes felt like running towards an invisible finish line. The finish line being this particular birthday, one that included a whole lot of expectations that sounded like, “Time to grow up now,” or, “You should have x by now.”
But I was expecting those feelings, and I also know better than to let my mind wander down the dark hole of, “Where did I go wrong?” just because life doesn’t look like how I thought it would.
I thought surely by now there would be big pay cheques and an unshakable confidence. But I actually think I need my friends and family even more. I’ve let go of the idea that I have to fake it til I make it and act like a proper grown up when what I really feel like doing is being honest and saying, “I feel lost.” I still call my Mom and ask her stupid questions about cooking chicken. The stock market still confuses me. And I still can’t decide if I want bangs or not. What I do have at thirty is a whole lot of freedom and choice, which is what I had at eighteen too, but this time I’ve got a swack of life lessons to add to the decision making. Like, “Remember what happened last time you cut your own bangs.”
What I wasn’t expecting was the plethora of people who have commented on how I look.
If one more person tells me, “You look good for thirty,” I’m going to lose my shit. Or at least go find someone else to talk to. I watch their eyes scanning my face for lines and looking my body up and down, God knows what for.
It’s the obsession with youth and perfection that I’m beginning to see more clearly that is bothering me. Every year there’s another piece of myself that I could be “enhancing” – the faking of cheekbones, the drawing in of eyebrows, and since when is a good side-boob is a thing??? Now that I’m in my thirties, the attitude seems to be that everything is going downhill and I’ll be lucky if I can pull off said side-boob.
I think this attitude is ignorant and an insult to every other decade we’ll be lucky enough to see and live through. Tell me I look happy, or radiant, or that I seem more like myself. Because those feelings are what I want to chase, not a face with no laugh lines. Or, maybe I look haggard because I’m probably really tired from all of the wine I drank the night before having FUN. But stop telling me I look good for thirty as if I should have just morphed into some unrecognizable version of my former self.
I fucking love the sunshine. The wrinkles are coming and so are many more sunny vacations. I hope I’ll be so lucky.
The annoying and cliche panic about turning this age has subsided and there’s this deeper knowing inside of me, residing somewhere in my rib cage, that feels incredibly contented. I suppose where I’ve ended up is this place where I’ve realized I can make my own To Do List, and that I already have been all along. It’s that cool aha moment where you realize you already are so many of the things you wanted to be. And also, I’m never going to tell another female that she looks good for her age.
Rage-inducing back-handed compliments aside, thirty does feel really good, in case you’re wondering.
The best part about that forever young attitude is the energy of it – feeling like the world’s your oyster. I think it still is and can be for a long, long time. And it’s an even better feeling when you know enough about yourself to decide whether you even like oysters.
Thank you to all of the inspiring females in my life who are in decades far beyond mine, still living and dreaming and having a ball, including my wax lady who reminded me last week, “You’re still a fucking baby.”
Thank you for just being whatever you want to be, no matter the number of candles on your cake.