So Kyler and I went on a quick getaway to Toronto recently because I turned thirty. It kind of feels surreal to write that out. I am thirty. It’s weird how big of an idea that is, yet I feel exactly the same as I did a month ago.
At the beginning of 2018, it seemed really daunting to me and I felt that “life urgency” that I assume many people feel when they hit an age milestone. Like I’m running out of time to do all the things I want to do with my life, that I wasn’t together enough, that I had no direction in life, that my ovaries are expiring…Pretty much every cliche you can think of.
Hat – Forever 21, Blazer – can’t remember, Top – H&M, Trousers – Primark, Shoes – Le Chateau (old), Handbag – Kate Spade (old), Suitcase – London Fog (old)
But as the months went on, I kind of feel like I had time to “psych myself out,” as I like to say, and kind of get used to the idea of saying goodbye to my 20s. My life situation was not bad at all. I accepted that my work life was kind of unconventional and not always lucrative, and that’s okay. I didn’t need to define myself or my self-worth by how I make money or how much of it I make. I thought I was ready for the label of 30. But it still hit me like a fly in the eye while I was cruising on my bike. That’s happened to me twice, by the way.
The weirdest part to me is how I still don’t feel like a grown-up, whatever that means. It’s especially strange because I have a house. I have a husband. I get back problems. I complain when they raise the price of bread by 20 cents. I mean, if that doesn’t make me an adult, I don’t know what does!
Top – Zara (old), Shorts – Forever 21 (old)
And objectively, I know that 30 isn’t old at all. Even 40 isn’t that old. I guess it’s just that hitting a big age milestone makes me be more aware of my own mortality and the typical life path that most of us end up walking, which leads to questions about what life is, the meaning of life, why we’re all here and all that existential goodness.
For the record, my personal perspective has always been that life is essentially meaningless and chaotic, that things don’t happen for a reason, that everything is random, and it’s up to us to just make decisions and create our own meaning. A kind of optimistic nihilism, if you will. Weirdly enough, accepting that I have very little control in life, that bad things can happen to good people, that trying your best doesn’t always guarantee success, has made me more aware of how responsible I am for my own attitude and happiness, and how I should inject my own goodness and beauty into the world, however I can. Because that’s essentially all I can control. Because otherwise, what’s the point?
Dress – Zara (old), Handbag – Kate Spade (old), Shoes – Aldo (old)
I think it’s very similar to how people who believe in God find a sense of peace, calm and direction in life, because someone is there to always guide and comfort them…I find the same peace and comfort in believing that there’s no great reason why we’re all here. It oddly creates a kind of direction for me, too. It’s like accepting situations you can’t control and just making the best of it. I’m just kind of ambling along, enjoying myself while I can, trying not to worry too much where I end up.
All this to say, I don’t think getting older is easy for anyone. And I think we all kind of struggle with where we are in life sometimes, as if it’s some kind of race or contest. Intellectually, I know it’s not. One of the things I often like to say is, “Life is not one size fits all.” It’s pointless to compare yourself to others, it will never lead to happiness. But we allow this life rubric, that we all somehow possess, to loom over us like some kind of threatening shadow. And it’s so hard to shake off, no matter how unhelpful your brain understands it to be.
Honestly, writing it out has helped me to beat away the shadow a bit. Because verbalizing it really does make a difference in realizing how ridiculous it all is. And I know I’ll have to keep reminding myself, probably for the rest of my life, but that’s okay. And if I sometimes get a little petty or panicked or depressed about life, that’s okay too. I’m only human!
I think the most important takeaway for me in turning 30 is that I should always try to strike a good balance between being okay with myself and my life, while continually striving for self-improvement. And to allow myself moments of pettiness and anxiety if that’s what I feel, but work through them as best I can.
Life, after all, is not one size fits all.
Top – Zara (old), Headscarf – thrifted