Yesterday, I turned 30. For the last year (or last couple of years, if I'm being honest), I have been dreading this day.
There is so much pressure put on us to have our life together by this pivotal age. Somehow, we are supposed to be doing well both professionally and personally. I still have not quite figured out this mystical balance.
Professionally, I feel like I'm finally doing O.K. I'm finally working as an editor of a newspaper, which has been a lifelong dream of mine. Personally, however, I still have trouble finding socks in the morning.
As a child, I remember thumbing through my mom's Fingerhut catalogs, envisioning what my own house would look like as an adult – clean and simple with new appliances and furniture. I would cook healthy meals every night for my husband (because I'm obviously married by this point, at least according to my seven-year-old brain) and two wonderfully, obedient children, while working full-time as an independent woman, like Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl" or Mary Tyler Moore in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," though I totally relate more to Rhoda these days. And of course, I would always look my best, wearing fashionable clothes and picture-perfect movie-star make-up every single day.
What my 30s really looks like is in no way comparable to my child-like dreams.
I live with my boyfriend of a year and a half, who I love dearly, with three children – two, his from a previous relationship and one, mine from a previous relationship. We also have three dogs and one cat. And we eat take-out more than I'd like to admit.
Most of my furniture was found on the side of the road or bought cheaply from thrift shops or garage sales, and most of our appliances either don't work or have something wrong with them. We'll get around to fixing them one day, so we say. My house is anything but clean and organized – when is there time for this? And my clothes and make-up, well, some days I look semi-O.K., and other days I look like a hot mess or worse, homeless.
I also believed I would have everything figured out by now, that I would be married and completely happy and would have found some sort of homeostasis.
Now, I'm not sure I want to get married. Maybe one day, but I'm definitely not ready for it yet. And though I do have moments of happiness, I also am full of doubts and constantly going through some sort of existential crisis.
You know what though? Overall, I am pretty happy with who I am as a person. My ambitions and opinions and beliefs are strong, as am I – which I never knew I could be. The older I get, the stronger I feel as a person.
My twenties were full of heartache and extreme poverty and, boy, were they dramatic. But those experiences somehow landed me here. And it definitely isn't the worst place I could be.
So, cheers to turning the big 3-0. I feel like maybe I'm in the beginning stages of figuring everything out, or maybe I'll be lost forever. I think I'm O.K. with that too.