I turned on my TV (yes, I still actually have cable) to “The Today Show.” Commercials of exotic vacations, places to eat, and ways to cure ailments preluded segments featuring entrepreneurs, ways to look younger, marriage trends, and parenting psychology.
On any other day, I’d view this as just basic television programming. Yet, with March 28 approaching, a looming milestone birthday, I was filled with many questions.
Have I accomplished enough? Do I look like I’m aging? Will I ever get married? How much longer before my fertility rate drops? Inhale. Exhale. Am I mentally, and emotionally, prepared to turn — gulp — 30?
Ask anyone over the age of 35 and my existential anxiety seems trivial at best. I’m met with mild laughter and told how young I am with “all the time in the world.” On the opposite end of things, at 25, they are hell-bent to imagine the day of not wanting to be out past 11 PM or feeling like 9 AM is “sleeping in.” Then comes the millennial mindset of being rich and successful by Three-O. Whoops.
I’m far from rich or having kids, yet I’m exactly where I’d always hoped I’d be. Accomplished in my career, a lifelong pursuit of being a writer? Check. Healthy? Huge check. Sincerely happy with all of the relationships in my life? Absolutely. Giving back to the community? Feeling like I’m making my mark? Double check.
It wasn’t always like this.
Up until I was 26 or so, I battled with depressive episodes, mixed with panic disorder. I saw my pathway as an endless cobble road I was trying to walk through in stilettos. Sure, I’d get to where I was going, but always in fear of falling through the cracks and losing my balance. Until one day, I suddenly decided I had enough, I’d either wear different shoes or cement the cracks in myself. I’ve never looked back since.
I’m embracing the final days of my 20s with a celebration of all I’ve accomplished and an optimistic outlook at the next decade ahead. Thirty and thriving! I leave behind the girl who constantly asked others for opinions on life before figuring it out for herself and the days of self-doubt.
Goodbye to pretending to be someone to fit an image or doing things because of societal standards/pressure. I welcome the next phase of me. A woman who listens to her inner voice and takes time to make a decision. A woman who values independence and embraces all the things that make her truly unique. The person that sees setbacks as opportunities and continuously tries to make her world, and all those worlds in it, a stronger place.
As this article comes out, I thank my readers, my community, for all of your support and kind words. Be on the lookout for my newest Instagram account dedicated to my writings, @LiveOnTheDaily.
This first appeared in The Independent Newspaper on March 26, 2019. #EverythingEastEnd here