On Entering My Mid-Thirties

>> Wednesday, July 26, 2017

When I was twelve, I used to read YM and Seventeen and dream of being a teenager. Like, a lot of my waking moments were spent in a haze wondering what it would be like to be a teen. Being older meant so incredibly much. Freedom, for one. Wearing makeup and feeling attractive. Kissing cute boys. The important stuff. And when those teenage and early adult years finally arrived, I was too moody and preoccupied to really care.

I never quite developed into one of those girls on the glossy pages either. My breasts have yet to grow bigger than an A-cup despite breastfeeding two children. (I’m guessing this is it, right?) I cannot seem to let my hair grow past my shoulders for more than a few months at a time. My style in high school, in a word, would have been whacky. Oh, and those boys? I’ve had only a couple notable romances in my life (which is fine by me!).

In my twenties, I felt like I was always trying to build toward taking that next step. You know? I was extremely career-driven when I worked in marketing and communications. I could see myself going all the way to being a manager or director someday. But when I finally attained that title, I realized that stuff -- calculating metrics, checking emails at 10PM, traveling frequently for business -- just wasn’t for me. I had that classic quarter-life crisis and quit, and then I went to working in education and libraries. I treaded water for a few years in an academic library’s administration department until we got pregnant with Ada.

I became a mom at age 28. It’s right when I expected I’d want to have my first child. My mom had me at 23 back in the early 1980s, and she often talks about being so young. But I was eager to have kids. It’s not that it was going to bring some magical depth to my life. It just felt right. Having Ada also gave me an incredible opportunity to jump off the directionless career path I was on and work freelance. I could now call myself a writer. The job title I had actually work toward during college. Talk about winning.

Turning 30 felt like such a big deal back when it was happening. Like I was somehow closing the chapter to my youth. Getting older and wiser. And I had already passed so many important milestones. Stephen and I got married when I was 24, we bought a house the same year, and -- again -- we had already had our first child. Still, being 30 meant something. Like I should have had my life more figured out. Or maybe had more peace with the direction in which my life was going.

I’ll be honest. Most of my years in my thirties were spent longing to get pregnant or dealing with miscarriage and sadness. I feel like I missed a good stretch from 30-32 this way. I regret getting so wrapped up, but I don’t know how I could have done things differently. Here I am a few days away from turning 34, and I don’t have much more figured out about myself. Sure, I am feeling more grounded in a way. Like, I am who I am . . . and I don’t apologize for it. Writing in this space for so many years has helped me develop that quality. I over-share, probably. But I like being an open book to the people online and in my real life. It’s helped me weed out the fake people in my life and connect with others who truly get me and can relate to my own life’s experience.

This year, I have a few goals. They’re silly, but I’ll share them anyway.

  • First, I want to focus more on self-care. Having a newborn/infant got me terribly out of the habit of spending time on my appearance. I don’t have to wear makeup to feel pretty, but I know it makes me feel good to pluck my brows, get regular haircuts (I’ll get to this soon!), take time caring for my skin, and -- yes -- spiffing myself up more often.
  • Along with this, my eating habits are always a work in progress. I want to continue to move in the right direction by focusing on wholesome whole foods. I mentioned in my grocery posts that we’re looking to eat fewer packaged foods (bad habit). That’s my main area of attack right now.
  • I want to keep working toward finding that elusive balance in my life. I feel like mine is a life that goes like ocean waves. There are weeks when I’m crazy with work or Stephen’s schedule. Others where I sit so still I’m barely breathing. I think simply scheduling things better and getting into more routine will help. 
  • I also want to get out more. I may sign up for an exercise class (spinning or yoga?) because I miss the group atmosphere. I am addicted to Fitness Blender, but they don’t talk back to me, no matter how many profanities I toss out when I’m lifting those kettle bells.
  • Then comes my career stuff. I am loving my current situation, but I think I need to start actually using my office more. I find myself overwhelmed with work on the daily, and it’s something as simple as writing out my deadlines on a white board that might help. I tend to keep everything in my head so it weighs on me. I’d also like to do more writing of my own. Goal is to get one essay published in a local magazine or something similar.
  • As a family goal, I’d like to create a day of disconnecting and re-connecting. Does that make sense? Almost like a sabbath. I just want to be present and together for one day each week. Or maybe even just one afternoon. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenetic pace of life.
Here’s to turning the big 3-4 and all that it brings! 

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