An older woman that I admired once said this to me, “I do not miss my 20’s. My 20’s was a terrifying time. I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know the world. It wasn’t until my 30’s that everything started to fall into place. My 30’s has been good to me. I’m happy. Life is good. Given all the money in the world, I still wouldn’t go back to my 20’s.
This made an indelible impression on me. At the time I was struggling to keep boredom at bay working my “dream job”. I was in a city that drove me to distraction. I was stressed about life, stressed about my relationship, stressed by myself. I was smack-dab in the middle of my 20’s.
I had no idea that I hadn’t found myself yet. At the time I thought finding myself meant “succeeding” in life—which meant finding a career, sticking to it, and ultimately making a lot of money.
I did not understand what she meant. I wasn’t even aware of that there was a difference between 20’s and 30’s. I thought I had done all the growing that I was going to do. It wasn’t until these past 2 years, after I’ve fought and gotten to know some of my own inner demons, that I have begun to understand what she meant.
20’s is an harrowing and transient time. You are trying to find yourself; find a career; find financial stability; find friends after college; and find a partner to share this with. If you are adventurous or just really unsure of what you want out of life, this time can be all that more difficult.
So many of my peers have confessed their fear of entering their 30’s. So much of our culture tells us—espescially as women—that time is running out and that we are passing our prime. I’ve been programmed to think that leaving my 20’s and entering my 30’s is a bad thing. I had never thought it as she did—this powerful, successful older woman who seemed so comfortable in her own skin—that it was something to be celebrated.
But, on my 28th birthday, I sit here and contemplate exactly what she told me, and I realize how true it is. I’ve survived some very personal trials this last year. And I’m grateful for everything that those trials has taught me about myself.
I am HAPPY. Happier than I’ve ever been. And I’m proud of myself for reaching this point. For the first time in my life, I feel great about myself and my accomplishments in life. And I’m so excited about life, what the future holds, all the new experiences I will have.
So as I get closer to my 30’s, I do so with anticipation and not dread. I embrace what is to come, because I am finally beginning to be comfortable with myself, my choices, my life.
Happy Birthday to me!