Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And Then Comes 30...but Why Worry?

One evening after browsing through my latest issue of Glamour, I came across an article dedicated to the feelings of turning 30. Women are worried about wrinkles and child-bearing and meeting the right man. Women lament that they thought by the time they turned 30, they would already be married with one or two children. You know what I have to say to these women? PUH-LEASE. I was thinking about all that at sixteen - well, not the wrinkles part.

When I was 16, I thought by the time I was TWENTY-ONE, I would have a successful career, be married to a gorgeous man, maybe living in a fancy NYC apartment, baby optional. I even went on to confirm this plan as a Senior in high school. The night of our Senior Dinner, we were to step into a room setup with a video camera like some Real World confessional and say where we thought we'd be in 10 years. The only part that came true about my prediction is that I moved to New York. I did not, however, live in a fancy apartment. I lived in a studio way up on the "Upper East Side" that really a few more blocks and I'm in Harlem.

As my 21st birthday came and went in a drunken/throwing up/hungover blur, it became clear that my sweet little sixteen-year-old self was way off the mark. So, I woke up the next day not knowing where my phone was or how many shots I had consumed the previous night. But I wasn't worried about Mr. Right and I was for damn sure not worried about having children. And, I haven't worried about it since. A friend of mine who Botoxes advised me a few years ago that I should look into it for preventative purposes. I'm sure I have "crow's feet" and "smile lines", but uh, that's just my face. That's how I LOOK!

You know how I feel about turning 30? I feel excited! It might not have anything to do with the age either. I just feel like every birthday is a chance to do all those things you were supposed to do in the past year. For me, it's finish my book (a never-ending struggle). Travel to foreign places. Seek new adventures. You get to make birthday resolutions. I don't think about marriage or babies or even my career, really. It doesn't mean I'm not focused, it just means I have a bigger picture in mind.

The success of all of those things would make my picture prettier, but as it is right now life is unfolding the way it should. Hectic at some points, leisurely floating along at others. I make decisions in the moment and appreciate each experience for what it is. One thing I can celebrate about turning 30 is all the things I learned in my 20s - a bitch of a decade it's been, but a FABULOUS one as well.

It's great to have a plan. It's fantastic to envision how you want your life to turn out, but I tend to mark down my accomplishments and look forward to things yet to be achieved instead of moping about all the things I haven't done. I like to think about how much better things get with every passing year and how lucky I am to wake up most mornings perfectly HAPPY. Make the lists. Create goals. But, for God's sake, don't forget how to LIVE.

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