It’s my birthday! WOO HOO!
I’ve had a reflective couple of days leading up to today. I can clearly remember exactly what I wore at my 18th birthday dinner and now, all of a sudden, somehow I’m 35. And I’m not lamenting getting older. Quite the contrary. I know as women, we’re basically supposed to just host our own funerals the second we turn 30 or a wrinkle, but I’m actually really enjoying getting older.
You couldn’t pay me to be in my 20s now. Sure, I had a blast, but I was also quite an asshole. I was insecure, thought I knew it all, was floundering in self doubt. Everything back then was steeped in uncertainty, anything less than perfection was a failure. I had a way I thought my life was gonna work out and every day I didn’t hit that mark sent me spiraling further and further into that dreaded quarter-life crisis.
But something happened when I hit 30, and every year since then. I seem to have managed to shed layer upon layer of bullshit. With each passing day, I give fewer fucks. And that doesn’t mean I’m throwing caution to the wind and giving everyone the middle finger. I care intensely about my life, my work, the impact I have on those around me, the impact (if any) I’ll leave when I’m gone, but I just give way less of a fuck about how that fits into whatever compartment society thinks I should be in. I’m unbothered about not being married, I’m still fine with my decision to not have children, I’m all gravy about not working in some sort of corporate environment that’d suck the life out of me. Every day, I smile wider in the knowledge that I’ve been the architect of my life, mistakes and all, and I really, really like it.
Above all else, I’m happy. Like, really happy. And I think that has to do with the not giving of fucks. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum. I had a few years where it really looked like that was blowing up in my face, but in the last couple of years, it just all seems to have slotted together. In my 20s, those puzzle pieces were strewn all over the floor, now, I’ve pieced together the first corner bit and am lining up the pieces for the next phase, seeing the picture come together.
I speak to young women all the time who are working to the strict timetable society has given them, to figure all their shit out by the time they’re 30. Trust me, I ain’t some wise old sage over here, but I can say with utter confidence, you can take your foot off the gas a little and stop freaking out. It’s pretty nice here on the other side of 30.
What I’ve learned is, that flow thing people talk about? I’m going with it more than I ever have and it’s leading me some very cool places. I still doubt myself every now and then, I still don’t have everything figured out and that’s OK. The confidence that comes with ageing, that warm, fuzzy feeling of being comfortable in your own skin, of standing in your own decisions, of proudly owning your choices, of building the life you want, it gets sweeter every day.
I’m not sure 18 year old me really pictured what life would be like for 35 year old me, though I doubt she’d have guessed it would be what it is today. Either way, I think she’d think I’m pretty damn cool. I think she’d be proud that I kept some of those dreams alive and achieved them and that I’m still that mouthy Northerner who dances to the beat of her own drum.