I will be turning thirty soon, actually in a couple of months. I thought I would be more anxious- dreading the thirty milestone: wrinkles, joint pain, and the loss of elasticity in my skin. Take collagen pesticides “well-meaning” people advise me. Those same “well-meaning” people also ask me why am I single? Will I ever marry? And what about children?
As we know, no fertile woman in their right mind says she doesn’t want children!
The Dirty Thirty
I remember when I was turning twenty-eight and I was freaking out! Thirty was coming and only two years away! What do I have to show for myself? I haven’t lived the life of celebrity or a rich executive (cue to Thirty under Thirty Forbes List).
What I have done is made tremendous strides since then. I remember thinking my life as a woman is over. I’m not married nor am I anyone’s finance. The pressure of having my life together and thirty added with the pressure of not being married was burdensome! Heavy.
It’s a struggle out here. Expectations aren’t just loud; they are fire alarms. If you are a woman or one who identifies as a woman, we cannot escape female desirability and its emphasis on youth and beauty (I just love the patriarchy). The older we get the more society tries to push us out; if you don’t get married now, who will want you over thirty? Sounds like a beautiful scoop of misogyny.
I think I dread conversations surrounding my personal life and not achieving certain milestones than turning thirty. Turning thirty seems such like a dirty word. We live in a youth-obsessed culture. You know the songs Forever Young and one of my favorite songs 20 Something by SZA. I don’t think people have a problem with getting older, I believe it is no one wants to age! If I could look like I do now in my late fifties, I’ll be fine, but hunny, I know the gray hair and arthritis will be here before I know it.
Turning Thirty: When marriage isn’t as important
My mother often jokes with me about when she was my age. From her perspective, my age is the perfect time for settling down and having babies. That is what adulthood is for women. At 30, my mom had small mouths to feed. My mother also told me how hard it was as well. On the flip side, my grandmother tells me not to rush children and marriage. Live your life she says. Sorry mom, I’m with grandma on this one. Despite coming from a two-parent household, and seeing all my relatives married, I don’t have the aching desire to find a husband.
Women of today, we aren’t in a rush to have children and to marry (unless you are in the traditional Southern sub-culture). Women’s wants are different. A family sounds great and all, but we would like a meaningful life!
These attitudes amongst women have shifted along with the ever shaping and changing of American culture: high cost of living, realizing what marriage is, and wanting full autonomy of one’s life.
As for me? A family sounds nice and so does a career even, but I can’t commit to those things right now. I’m still in the process of establishing my identity. I don’t even know if I want to have children and if I don’t, will it really be that bad?
Wasting time in my twenties on people who didn’t care
My twenties have been miserable. They have not been the best years of my life contrary to popular belief. If I could some up my twenties it would be the word worry. Worrying about if a man likes me, worrying about if I’m worthy of better pay, worrying about money, worrying about if my stomach is too fat or if I gained too much weight, worried about my hair and or my skin.
Other words that come to mind is frustrated, regretful, and fear.
My life has been full, but full of what others wanted me to do or trying to please others. It was exhausting. I spent a lot of “youth” wasting time and energy on people only capable of half-loving and not reciprocating my energy. These people weren’t just lovers, they were family members, coaches, jobs, friends, and co-workers.
Let me say that again, I spent a lot “youth” wasting time and energy on people only capable of half-loving and not reciprocating. I realized this at age 26. That year was monumental for me. I had realized there was so many things that I missed out on simply because I didn’t want to be a risk or do it alone.
I made a promise myself that I would live the way I wanted to, but first I had to get real with myself and redo the years of programming.
What Turning Thirty Means to me
Thirty Flirty and Thriving.
Do you remember the movie 13 going on 30? I saw that movie a year shy from my thirteenth birthday. I remember watching it and being happy with the fact Jenna Marbles (Jennifer Garner) got a second chance out of life. The real world doesn’t offer second chances and there is no do over. I can’t redo my twenties, but what I can do is learn from them and move forward.
Turning Thirty for me is my second chance. I got another decade a life to look forward to, one where I can follow my passions and be myself. The good thing about living life in this day and age is that we see so many adults living their dream and achieving wonderful things.
Life doesn’t happen in your youth! Life happens every single day and If I play my cards right and apply all the lessons, I learned in the previous decade then this decade is going to be one to remember.
Photo by: Hannah Busing