THE ANXIETY OF TURNING 30
April 17, 2016
I have a lot of feelings about turning 30. I think that there is a point where women, before they turn 30, lose their mind and start re-evaluting every little mistake, dream, and goal they have ever had, or will have. As you may already know, I struggle with anxiety. For right now, my anxiety feels to be manageable, but it is certainly there bubbling in the background.
Growing up, I never thought I would turn 30. I mean, I understood it was kind of inevitable, because #aging. But, I just didn't think about the possibility that I wouldn't have everything I wanted. I pictured myself married with one to two children and a beautiful house. I pictured myself either being a career woman (owning my own counseling practice), or perhaps counseling on occasion with a handful of clients, but being available to my children and raising them very hands-on. I saw myself being comfortable and feeling settled at 30.
I am now less than two months from turning 30 and I am single, somewhat restless in my career aspirations, and very much not a mother right now. When I spoke to someone about this openly, the underlying theme was that somehow I had failed. Somehow I had missed the mark and all of those "almost" had me thinking naively I deserved better. Why couldn't I have settled with so-and-so, and why didn't I go ahead and just accept that maybe that was the best I could do? Or why didn't I just crap out on my Master's degree and stay as far as I could from the $20,000 of additional loan debt I had accrued? Why can't being an aunt feel like enough right now while I am childless?
All of these questions give me chest pain. I will be open about that. Turning 30 is somehow this precipice and its only downhill from here. I know that isn't actually true, especially with the progression our society is going. But, there are just things I want in my life that I don't have. How can I make peace with not being where I pictured myself to be at 30 years old?
As I spoke about my anxiety, something amazing happened. I finally pinpointed how I was feeling. For a couple of months, I was so confused about how I felt about being 30. I felt old, yet empowered. I felt like I had so much life ahead of me, but yet my sense of youth felt essentially over. I don't have the same excuses anymore that a 20-something can pass for. She said, "You know there is a sense of authority that comes with 30. You now have life experience, life wisdom, and you're able to tackle your goals with the knowledge of what not to do." I knew deep down she was right. My 20s had some train wreck moments. I went through a divorce in my 20s and if I could go back, I would tell myself, "Hey girl. Let's slow this thing down and think about getting married around 30". I listened to the Bobby Bones Show the other morning and the majority of the radio co-hosts and producers said the ideal age to get married is...you guessed it...30!
While I haven't had a serious relationship in a year or so. I have learned much in my singleness. I have great things in my life, but I also want to make some changes and I want to be sure that everything else is good alone before I can add another person to my life. I want to embrace turning 30 and I want to enjoy entering into this new chapter.
What did you do when you turned 30? How did you celebrate? Am I totally off here?
Happy Monday, xx!