30, and flirty, and thriving: I've entered my 30s, and I like it
On Feb. 6, I woke up buried in my designer bedding, with my head on a ridiculous (pink) sheepskin pillow.
After a terrible rendition of Happy Birthday Ms. President, I swung my legs out of bed with the same effort as the day before, and most mornings before that.
The same chubby cheeked, bright eyed woman showed up in the mirror to say "good morning." Wait — that's me. Looking just like I did yesterday — but better! Still pretty. Still hustling. Still childless.
This is the day I have been waiting for my my whole life, or at least since I watched the best rom-com of all time, 13 Going on 30.
I am wholeheartedly, unapologetically excited to be 30. I'm also extremely excited about the cake I will give zero you-know-whats about eating.
Listen up 20-somethings
To all of you 20-something-year-olds dreading your birthdays as the big 3-0 draws near, let me assure you of a few things.
You see, despite feminism — and despite what we know to be logical — many of us still fear turning those milestone ages.
Why? Because women are taught to believe that aging means depreciation. You are, after all, existing on borrowed time and any day at all the repo letter will show up in the mail. Time will want it all back — your looks, your innocence, and eventually even your butt.
You might start to hear the soft tick-tick-tick of your time-bomb uterus, and the not-so-soft questions from your parent's friends wondering when and if babies are coming, which basically is no different than asking if you are having unprotected sex. Cool.
Basically the media, men and a few sad women are going to start trying to sell you an idea about what your life will become once you get kicked out of Twenty-land. Buyer beware: this is a trap! No, thank you.
Life before 3-0
We anxiously turn 20. The prospect of graduation, finding a career path, a potential partner. Maybe you will travel the world, maybe you will finally move out … life lies ahead of you like one big adventure and it is exciting and easy because the world is your oyster and the possibilities in designing your own life are endless.
You will not care about high interest rates on your credit cards, student debt or retirement savings. The idea of monogamy might seem foreign.
The strands of your youth that connect you to your innocent, most feminine time of your life will still be visible. You will love your 20s.
Next comes 25 and it's a new chapter. It's all downhill to 30.
Student debt repayment. You have been living cheque to cheque and suddenly wedding invitations are showing up, and people start having planned pregnancies.
Maybe you are excited. If these things are not on your horizon you might be worried — because on top of all these new concerns and pressures, you are aging.
The world is ready to tell you that you are no longer the hot young girl in the office (did you even know they called you that?). You see fashion trends from your early years (that feel like yesterday) on the bodies of little things in the club that you once dominated with your Beyoncé moves and too-high heels.
You become acutely aware of your practical-cute boots. You are now practical-cute. You might as well have a "sale" sticker on you. You are no longer brand new.
So, here's my lightbulb moment
I have had this feeling exactly one time and I remember it well.
You know those moments you only get to witness on the movie screen where the lead actress falls on to her bed and the music changes?
It is her lightbulb moment. She hops out of bed and runs back to her love interest with no shoes on to proclaim her newly realized love.
I had that moment, except my love interest was my bed and I'm running in my practical-cute boots to tell all of you about my realization.
The plan was dinner and a show and I had nothing to wear, and had somehow gained 20 pounds since the days before.
I had gotten "happy" far too soon in the night, on a good bottle of red at a fabulous dinner with some work colleagues.
I didn't even make it to the band I was looking forward to at the pub. They were on at 11 p.m.
I stumbled out of my clothes, half-rotted and half-drunk. I crawled up on to my super pricey, Waldorf hotel-quality bed.
I pulled my iPad out and was about to hit play onThe Mindy Project when the lightbulb clicked. I had a warm feeling of joy and giddiness wash over me and mixed with the slow burn of the red it can only be described as euphoric.
A grown-up checklist
I was turning 30 in a few months and just look at me! I had gone out for a dinner at a nice place, and I could afford it — comfortably! I spent more money than time on the drink menu because I actually knew what a good red was.
No more drinking glorified versions of swamp water (ends of liquor leftovers of parties past) and sugar. I swiped that Visa that I just upped the limit on because I was about to travel to Europe — and I'd fist-bumped at the bank because I finally reached a lower interest rate.
I had colleagues (in a field I adore) that I enjoyed my evening with and nobody made weird suggestive comments when the wine was flowing.
This is not insulting. I have important things to contribute to the conversation, no leg gropes necessary! So what that I was home in bed?
I was not depreciating. If anything, I was finally becoming aware of my value. I rolled over and had a wonderful, content sleep. You need to hear this.
A fresh start, sort of
So here I am, Day 1 of my 30s. In a way, it's like a fresh start. You still get to decide what this chapter looks like; the oyster is still yours.
Embrace your 20s for all that they are. Buy the things and take the trips, and kiss (or do not kiss) whomever you want.
I look forward to continuing to live my best life where I get to make the moves and call the shots. I am no longer worried about being too young or too old. I am more confident in my femininity then I have ever been.
Aging is not a threat, and how you age is another choice we get to make. For now, 30 fits just right — if not a little tighter.
Ladies. Embrace your 20s for all that they are. Buy the things and take the trips, and kiss (or do not kiss) whomever you want — but do not fear your 30s, 40s, or your 70s.
Do not worry about where you are, keep dreaming about where you might end up, and doing everything you can to get there.
Use some of that (not) endless energy to enjoy the ride along the way — and laugh.
Things are just getting good.