Last week I officially began the final year of my 30s. It’s all pretty crazy because I still think I’m 28. So, how do I pull off that mind trick? Well, it certainly isn’t because of those new lines that have begun appearing on my forehead (they freaking suck). I think it’s because of the way my life has unfolded so far.
I never thought I would be nearing 40 as a newlywed. And I certainly never thought I would just be getting around to starting a family. I mean, this is not the way I drew it up, and it’s definitely not what I experienced growing up.
This may be TMI, but the day my mom turned 40 I got my first period. Yeah, I was already almost 13 years old. Which means when she turned 39, I was almost 12. She already had a moody, sullen teenager on her hands by the time I would (potentially) have a newborn. That seems crazy to me!
So, yeah, I think that’s why I still feel 28. I’m basically exactly where I expected to be at 28—recently married and thinking about a family.
Except I’m 39.
I always looked at my 20s as the time for working my tail off to build my career. While doing that I managed some wild nights out with friends, I had my heart broken more than once, and with just over a year to spare I finally had enough money to swap out all of my IKEA furniture for “grown up” West Elm everything.
But during that time, I rarely thought about me. The concept of self-care didn’t exist. And if I was thinking about myself it was only regarding how to further advance my career.
So, when I eventually turned 30, I took solace in the fact that maybe the really tough part was over. I was in a great place professionally, I’d already had those heartbreaks (so how many more could there be, right??), and now I could work on figuring everything else out.
I really thought that by the time 40 came calling I would be so much wiser. I’d have all my shit together, and I’d be a full-fledged independent adult.
Yeah, about that…
I still haven’t bought a house and have spent nearly 20 years renting. I rely on my dad every time I have computer issues. If I had a car I would sure as hell still need reminders about getting the oil changed. And whenever I’m truly frustrated and in tears I still have to call my mom.
But here is what those extra 11 years have taught me: you never really figure things out. I think one of the best parts about getting older is finally realizing that—and accepting it. Though, let me tell you, learning to accept is always a work in progress.
I’ve also realized I don’t have to keep trying to “figure it out” all on my own. Yes, I have Marc and my family for support, but inspiration runs much deeper. One of the most amazing things about making this career change and starting my own business is seeing all the successful women around me who have done the same thing—and flourished. Up to this point I have watched from afar, in awe, too afraid to actually talk to them about it.
But I don’t want to do that anymore.
With 40 now less than 365 days away, I want to use this final year in my 30s as a time of inspiration and self-reflection. I want to tell these women’s stories while encouraging myself to be brave and take risks. And I want to bring you all along.
These last few years have been a major struggle for me professionally with eye-opening challenges and roadblocks I never expected. But while I am now finally able to move on, I am taking something very special with me. Through those tough times I developed a strong desire to support and empower women in a way I had not experienced.
So, bring it on, 40. I know I won’t be facing you alone.
Photos by Marc Fowler
Affiliate links used in this post.