Something happens when you reach your 30’s, besides the changes to your body (but, seriously though, what is this brow wrinkle? Should I be charging it rent?). You begin to look at all aspects of your life from a different perspective- mostly because of your corrective lenses. You’re in this awkward stage of life, not quite young enough to pull off making stupid decisions anymore and not old enough to be considered full of wisdom. You just exist in a world where you can thankfully mask your age with layers of make-up, filters, and ripped jeans you bought at Forever 21. The ’30s are supposed to be the prime years in a woman’s life: you finally start to see yourself as an adult and not the timid, insecure 20-something still trying to figure her shit out. I’m still very much trying to figure my shit out, but at least I can confidently say that I have no idea what I’m doing instead of just pretending that I know everything. These years for me have been ones of growth and personal development, much like a lot of the women I know in their prime. The knowledge I felt imperative to learn in my 20’s has completely shifted and I do a lot more of what I really want to do, sometimes despite what the opinions of others might be. I surround myself with people who support me and make me a better person, not people who depend on me to make them better. (If you’re currently in a toxic relationship or friendship for that matter, I would suggest re-reading that sentence again). If you’re anything like me, you never really felt old until you realized that the people around you were getting younger and younger. Some days I still feel like I’m in my childhood bedroom rehearsing the dance moves of all 5 Spice Girls in the Wannabe video, and then I realize that there are people in the world who didn’t even grow up watching MTV for the music. I find myself saying things like, “kids these days…” and “when I was young…”. I’ve inadvertently turned into my parents almost overnight. Does this mean that I get to officially yell at people now for touching the thermostat?
Maybe it’s because I’m young at heart (which is just what old people tell themselves when they’re living in denial), but I’ve always found myself surrounded by younger people. I can usually relate to the generation below me with ease (probably because I keep up with the Kardashian’s on a regular basis), but having millennials now invading the workplace is a whole new level of feeling old. No longer being the youngest person in the office is the equivalent to being the elder sibling to a new-born baby in the house. You love the kid, but deep down you hate the fact that they’ve essentially taken your place. My younger colleagues and friends tend to look up to me and ask my advice a lot of the time, which is always as equally scary as it is flattering. I must at least appear to know what the fuck I’m doing, but I sure as hell don’t feel that way. Aging doesn’t always mean wisdom folks- sometimes it JUST means saggy tits (sorry to burst your 20-year-old bubbles, kids). Aside from being the poster child for what not to do every once in a while, I think I do have at least SOME infinite wisdom to share. There are certain things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self, so why not share those tidbits with those willing to listen in the present? I think one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my 34 years on this earth, is that no matter how much stress and pressure you put on yourself to make the right decisions, some of them are just destined to be shitty ones. You have certain lessons you are meant to learn in this lifetime and for whatever reason, those lessons for me came in the form of chunky blonde highlights in the 10th grade.
I do feel like the best version of myself in my 30’s. No matter where life has taken me, I’d still never want to go backward. I’ve always said that you couldn’t pay me to be 18 again. There was nothing really appealing about being an adolescent other than still being on my parent’s car insurance and health benefits plan. People always tell me that I look the same as I did in high school, and looking back at old photos I’m wondering if that’s actually a compliment or not! I certainly feel that I’ve developed a stronger sense of self at this age, and have acquired the ability to make myself look at least half presentable in public, which is something I couldn’t really say about myself in high school. In all fairness, those super low-rise, flared Silvers didn’t look good on anybody. We can’t help that we live in a society so focused on vanity, and I’m certainly guilty of spending too much time worrying about how I present myself to the world. Some days though, that presentation involves a baseball hat over greasy hair and sweats which is a far cry from how I chose to showcase myself in my youth. Getting ready for a night out in my 20’s usually meant hours spent shopping for a brand new outfit, hair, make-up, and choosing the least uncomfortable pair of uncomfortable shoes. Now that I’m in my 30’s, I avoid most of that by just not going out LOL. But seriously, depending on the type of outing, I usually already have a “go-to” failsafe outfit that I can throw on with a pair of decent looking comfortable shoes. I realized that in your 30’s, nobody’s really looking at your feet anyway, they’re just so impressed that you made it out of the house and pulled yourself away from Netflix for 5 whole minutes. It takes a confident woman (or just a woman completely fed-up) to leave the house sans makeup, but that confidence becomes more effortless with age. Self-confidence will always be a work in progress for me, and it’s even more of a struggle since my body and skin have decided to go completely rogue on me. I now have a medicine cabinet stocked full of lotions, serums, and whatever new youth-preserving miracle gels that my money can buy, all in fear that I’ll wake up one day looking like an old leather handbag (which better at least be designer!). Aches and pains, scars, and sunspots are all constant reminders that I’m not getting any younger, but then again, why the hell would I WANT to? Not giving a shit is so much less work, and I already have 3 jobs.
The thing that completely shocks me, is how many women are openly having surgical procedures done nowadays to reverse the doings of Old Father Time (ironic that “time” is cruelly depicted by man, I guess Old Mother Hen was busy that day). I don’t know whether to feel jealous or sad. A) How do they afford all of this shit? and B) How do they actually endure that much pain? I can’t even stand getting my eyebrows waxed, and women are paying thousands of dollars to be jabbed with needles and zapped with lasers? Maybe it is jealousy because if that stuff didn’t give me major anxiety, I’d possibly be jumping on the Botox bandwagon too. But for now, the only doctor getting near me is Dr. Scholl’s. The fact is, there is no guarantee that I’ll age gracefully, or what that even means. I guess the grace part just refers to whether or not you decide to graciously give-in to the process and let gravity and time take over. I’d like to think that I’ll age somewhere in-between, not completely lacking grace but not totally giving up on myself either. I want to be active, healthy, and still maintain a manageable level of effort in my appearance, looking, and feeling good as I age. But deep down, I’m just hoping that lemon water and coconut oil is the true secret to staying forever young. They say you’re only as old as you feel and if that’s the case, it depends on the day. Typically, I feel exactly the age that I am, 34, and other days my 20-year-old friends are dragging me out to the bar and I feel 65. Gone are the days when I could stay up partying until 3 a.m. and still pull myself together for my 8 a.m. shift at Tim Hortons- hangovers last for days and expensive bottles of red wine don’t last long enough. Welcome to your 30’s, the kid who sold you your bottle of vintage never owned a walkman and is probably going to become the CEO of the company you work for.