I was twenty-five, coming off a bad break-up, lost in every aspect of my life when I saw Kristin Davis speak on The View comparing experiences on Melrose Place versus Sex and the City and how much easier life became once she hit thirty. I remember her expressing how she was more confident and self-assured. She no longer looked for outside approval - she didn’t care what other people thought. While in her twenties, she battled with all this.
I longed for that moment. I was five years away from it at the time - and I couldn’t wait.
I reveled in knowing that although the rest of my twenties were bound to be hell, in only a few short years, I could toss my cares to the wind and embrace life with unapologetic ferocity!
Well, she lied.
And it was a dirty lie.
I woke up thirty years old more lost and confused than any twenty-something I had ever been because now I was “supposed” to know everything I hadn’t before.
I was supposed to be more confident. Not hopelessly praying a random grocery store clerk would flirt with me for validation - or at the very least request to see my ID for the bottle of Sherry I undoubtedly would be drowning myself in mere minutes after check out.
Suddenly, having a retirement plan meant something. Suze Orman would refuse to approve anything I had hoped to purchase. And babies flooded every online orifice I stumbled upon.
Not to mention, that “career” I had been pursuing was only mildly paying the bills. Weekly, I stepped behind a bar in barely-there attire, praying low lighting would conceal my newly acquired crows feet.
I don’t think living in LA helps. Perfectly toned, beautiful twenty-somethings grace every sidewalk. Youth is rewarded as if it’s something to aspire to the later you get in life. And billboards exploit jailbait figures for our titillation.
Leaving my twenties was tough. And I was in denial. For a long time.
I still have moments where I feel like I could give a mediocre 20-something a run for her money. But who am I kidding? I’m thirty-three and have had the mindset of a tired forty-year-old since I moved to LA.
Maybe that’s not entirely true, but I’ve never cared much for the societal pressure to look perfect. And think perfect. And act perfect.
But I also never cared to share my opinion much. Typically due to fear of what other people might think.
See, when you’re in your twenties, if you say something stupid, people write it off. You get a free pass. “You’re young. You have so much to learn.” --And other condescending tropes middle-aged men throw at young women when they assume engaging in intellectual conversation is beyond them.
But now I was thirty. If I was going to speak, I better have something interesting to say. More than that, I better be articulate.
Don’t mix words up. Be clever. Share that biting wit you’ve been hiding all these years.
I’ve never felt more tongue-tied in my life.
If you didn’t prepare to hit thirty and you woke up one day in the midst of this foreign land where fat seems to buy up property in new areas of your body every other week - Well, I don't know what to tell you.
I’m still waiting for my epiphany to happen.
You know, where I start loving the fact that sunspots spontaneously appear on my face because I was never warned about aggressive sun exposure having residual effects.
However, there is a glimmer of hope.
The longer I marinate in this land of dirty thirties, the less potent these unwanted insecurities become. There is a sense of acceptance that has begun to manifest. I'm not sure if it was there the whole time and is just starting to break through the surface - or if it's a side-effect of being in this particular decade of my life. Either way, I'm embracing it.
I guess Ms. Davis was onto something. Even if it wasn't the magic potion I had hoped it to be, embracing your thirties ain't all that bad. Believe it or not, the longer I’m here, the better it looks.
Hope your decade’s treating you kindly!