A Few Thoughts On Turning 38

naty michele birthday

And just like that, I’m 38. It’s time for another trip around the sun! I’m feeling a culmination of many different emotions right now, but mostly I’m grateful for this moment and everything it took to get here – the good, the bad, the ugly. I have become hyper aware of how much of a blessing it is to grow older and I’m eternally thankful to be celebrating another year of life.

Am I where I thought I’d be by 38? Honestly, no. I believe I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be though. Growing up I had all of these timed expectations for myself. I remember thinking I would be married by 25 and have my first child before turning 30. Why did I think I needed to achieve these milestones at those ages? We don’t realize the amount of pressure we put on ourselves when we try to live according to a timeline. Whose timeline is it anyway? There is so much freedom when you learn to let go of that.

God had other plans for me on my journey and I’m thankful that my story has turned out to be different than most of those around me. It’s given me some unique experiences that I probably wouldn’t have had if my path took a different course. My 30s have been such a wild ride of self-acceptance and figuring out who I am, what I want and what I am not willing to accept. They’ve been some of the hardest but also the best years for me so far. And with each new birthday that arrives, I feel like I am stepping more into the woman I am supposed to be.

To be transparent, it was definitely a process for me to be able to accept that I am in a very different stage of life than my closest friends. They’re all married, engaged, parents and home owners. It’s sometimes challenging when you are the only single friend and feel as though you are so far from having what they have. Something that’s helped me a lot is shifting my mindset and focus to all of the wonderful blessings I have been given and all of the things I have already accomplished up until this point. I’ve also had to stop and ask myself, “Do I even want the same things I did all those years ago?”

We can be so quick to diminish our achievements when we fixate too much on what someone else has and where they’re at in their journey. Redirecting that energy to focus on myself and continuing to grow in the ways I need to will only bring me closer to all of the things I still hope to welcome into my life.

I came across this quote awhile back and had to share. “There’s no such thing as being behind in life. There’s only where you are on the path that you are creating moment by moment. The only way to be behind is to be behind someone walking the same path as you. No one is walking the same path as you.” Let that sink in for a moment. This has truly helped me shift my perspective.

naty michele birthday The thought of getting older used to give me a little bit of anxiety, but I surprisingly feel very calm and at ease right now. After a year and a half of internal struggles, I am finally stepping into a new energy lately and I’m hopeful for this next chapter. I kind of think it’s the new haircut. It felt very cathartic to chop off my hair, almost as if I had released everything I had been holding on to. I can’t even begin to express how much that had been weighing on me. I feel lighter now somehow.

Each year on my birthday, I write a post. I love being able to look back on them to see what’s changed since then. I wanted to share a little bit of what I wrote for last year’s birthday. – “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.”

I am still putting the missing pieces back together, but I am in a much better place than I was last November. Love did not come into my life romantically, but it came to me in other ways. I actually think I strengthened the relationship I have with myself by leaning even more into my solitude and giving myself the time, space and permission to sit with everything I had been feeling.

There was a lot for me to process at 37 and I’m proud of myself for doing the work. I started journaling and going to therapy, continued running each week and stuck to my boundaries of not drinking at home. The glass of champagne in these photos is actually the first drink I’ve had in my apartment since last year. I walked away from situations that no longer served me and began to give myself more grace in the moments when I wasn’t feeling my best. It was definitely a year of much needed personal growth and reflection. I shared so much of it with all of you and can’t thank you enough for the continued support you’ve shown me. Thank you for rooting for me in my happiest moments and encouraging me in my darkest ones.

What is my hope for 38? To welcome new beginnings. I’m definitely ready for a big change in my life, whether that has to do with work or a relationship or life here in NYC. I have felt stagnant lately and when that happens I know it’s time to push myself out of my comfort zone. I will continue to stay open and embrace whatever comes my way. I can’t wait to look back on this post next November to see the progress and changes I’ve made.

Cheers to this next trip around the sun! I am praying for continued health, an abundance of happiness and hopefully love. Let’s see what 38 brings me. ❤️

  1. Beautiful post, Naty ❤

    I deeply admire how you’ve made a life just for you and that you feel complete with yourself. I feel like that is the best situation to be in before welcoming any relationship into your life, romantic or otherwise. That way those relationships are a complement rather than a crutch.

    I don’t regret the path my life has taken in any way. But I’ve been cuffed since I was 18, and I’m 32 now. I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to grow into my own person throughout my 20s alone vs growing with my partner. Maybe neither is better than the other, but it is different.

    Anyway, happy birthday again 🎂 Here’s to whatever the next 365 days bring.

    • Naty

      Thanks so much, Sakura! I agree that it makes relationships a complement rather than a crutch. Thanks for sharing part of your story. I don’t think one path is better than the other. They are definitely different and that’s the beauty of life – we all have our own unique journeys and stories to tell.

  2. Wonderful sharing Naty, I would just like to say, it is part of our life, no matter whether you are going to start a new journey, everyday is a new day and everything can be done much better then the day before, if we are able to find a purpose in life, then that’s what really matter and indeed I will quote your words “I don’t think one path is better than the other” it is well within ourselves how we keep our life worth live. cheers

    • Amanda

      I’m 38 today Im freaking out a little and feel like I need to stop and think about everything in my life.

      • Naty

        Happy belated birthday! I hope 38 will be a great year for you. It’s ok to have those freak out moments. They tend to come and go for me. Don’t forget about all of the things you have accomplished up until this point. I think sometimes we can get so caught up in what we might not have yet that we tend to forget about all the blessings in our lives. Sending lots of love in 2023!

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