It’s such an intense week and time to be celebrating a birthday, but I’m very grateful for another year, especially after all that has transpired in 2020. I remember turning 36, ready to close the previous chapter and anxious to see all of the things that the next 365 days would give me. Never could I have imagined that a couple of months later we would all face a global pandemic together and have our lives change so drastically.
This past year has definitely been one of the most challenging, but it’s also taught me an abundance of lessons that I desperately needed to learn. When you’re forced to be alone for such a long time, you start to shed light on the bits of darkness in your life that you have tried so hard to ignore. Losing my grandpa in April opened up a lot of old wounds and brought grief back to the forefront for me. It’s something I am still working through. The blessing for me throughout all of this has been the way that 2020 has opened up my eyes to so much. It’s helped me to grow into a better version of myself. There is still work to be done and there always will be, but I’m proud of my progress so far as I enter this 37th year.
It’s a such a crazy feeling to say that I am in my late thirties now. It’s not that it scares me by any means, but this birthday feels different for some reason. It’s almost as if I am hyperaware of the fact that I am only a couple years shy of 40. An influx of intrusive thoughts have raced through my mind. Am I ever going to meet someone? Will I always be alone? Should I consider freezing my eggs? Is it too late to have a family of my own? These are questions that I think a lot of us ask ourselves at some point or another. But why are we constantly feeling like time is running out or that we have to do certain things by a specific age?
WHAT I THOUGHT MY 30S WOULD LOOK LIKE
I remember being in my 20s and thinking ahead to what I thought my future would look like. People would ask, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” I never knew how to answer this question, but back then I had always pictured being married with kids by now. As things happened in my life, the image of what I envisioned for myself started to change over the years. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still want that for myself, it just means that I am on a different path right now and know I’ll be ok with whatever outcome. It took awhile for me to get to this point though.
I spent a lot of time in my early 30s comparing my journey to that of my friends. It was very difficult for me to accept that things were happening at a much later point in my life than them. I had constantly felt like the outcast in that regard. With each proposal, wedding and pregnancy announcement, I started to feel very behind. Of course I was always happy for them, but I have to admit that there was a little tinge of jealousy deep within because I didn’t have any of those things yet. I had created all of this unnecessary pressure and shame by having that mentality and by thinking that I needed to be on the same timeline as them.
It has definitely been a process, but over these last several years I have been able to shift the narrative in my mind and find fulfillment within myself. This is when I started to look at my journey differently and when I truly began to embrace my season of singleness. I touch on this a lot more in that piece in case you haven’t read it yet.
WHAT MY 30S HAVE ACTUALLY LOOKED LIKE
While there has been more solitude than romance, these years have brought me to 8 different countries around the world where I was able to start my healing process and embrace a new journey of self-discovery and empowerment. The lessons these trips taught me have been invaluable. I learned what it meant to be completely on my own and that independence has been such an integral part of my growth.
I moved out for the first time to create a new life here in New York City. Having my own apartment has been one of my biggest personal milestones and I will never take that for granted, especially because it took so long for me to achieve it. Living here has challenged me beyond belief, especially these last 8 months. I have no idea how long I will live alone or how long I will be able to call NYC my home, so I make sure to embrace this time while I have it.
These years have taught me so much about unhealthy friendships and when it’s time to walk away from certain situations. They have opened my eyes to some of my bad habits and the areas that I have had to improve on. I’ve experienced more loss and heartbreak and have been forced to confront my grief again. I have also had to face my anxiety head on and learn different ways to manage these new emotions.
I’ve grown into myself more and more with each year that passes. In so many ways, it’s almost as if my life didn’t fully start until I turned 30. I always heard, “Your 30s are going to be your best years” and there is so much truth to that statement. What I initially pictured for myself has not come to fruition and that is ok! I am still so thankful for everything else that these years have given me. I have been blessed in ways that I didn’t know I could be. I know that if my life had taken a different path, I wouldn’t have had all of these same experiences. They have all shaped me into the woman that I am at this very moment and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. My journey has been unique and for that I am grateful.
My Hope For 37
As I say every birthday, I have no idea what the future has in store for me. 2020 has been such an indicator that everything can change in an instant and there are no guarantees. Just when you think you have it figured out, something can come and interrupt your plans. I never would have thought I’d spend a good chunk of 36 quarantined at home!
I am in a transitional time right now trying to figure out my next steps with work and life as a whole. My biggest hope for this new chapter is that all of the missing pieces come together and that I continue to find happiness and peace within myself. If love happens to come into my life that would be amazing, but if another year passes without it I know I will be fine. I am not on a timeline and my “happily ever after” starts and ends with me.
Thanks so much for breaking away from everything that’s happening for a few moments to read this post. I’m grateful that I get to celebrate another birthday and that I am able to share it with each of you. I have literally celebrated all of my 30s here on this blog and for anyone who has been with me this whole time, thank you! It means so much. You have watched me grow up! Cheers to 37! 💕