This Saturday is my birthday. 32, here I come! Unlike when I turned 30 and basically spent 6 months dreading it (then 6 months lamenting it after the fact), I am actually happy to be turning 32. All of those things that friends told me about loving their thirties more than their twenties is totally true for me now. I feel more like the person that I am supposed to be, and less consumed by what everyone else is doing. In fact, when I was 22, I had no idea who I was. I feel like I was so young then, and that was the year that I got married!
Here are some things that make me happier to be turning 32 than 22:
- At 22 I had no idea what I wanted to do with my career, but worse, I thought I was supposed to. At 32, I am doing some things that I can see turning into a lifelong career, but I’m also less concerned with the whole “know exactly what you’re doing with your life” thing. I’m focusing more on what I’m doing now, and not what I need to be doing in 10 years.
- At 22 I both didn’t care and didn’t know how to take care of myself physically. There was no exercise happening, and my IBS, though it made poor eating difficult, also did not give me motivation to be mindful about what I put in my body. Now, not only do I have to watch what I eat because I’m older and I get sick more easily, but I want to become stronger and that means not eating pizza every day like I want to.
- When I was 22 I thought getting married was going to change things. I don’t know if I expected it to make me feel more like an adult, or that my relationship would suddenly be easy, but I expected some monumental change after saying “I do”. At 32, I have a respect for working through difficult times because we have, and will continue to do, and I appreciate my husband, but I also don’t see marriage as a metamorphosis. It’s a choice, that I am happy to have made.
- At 22 I was insecure. Oh the insecurity. If I ever stumble upon an old photo of myself from that time all I see is what I was feeling, which is fear and envy. I desperately wanted to be like everyone around me who I thought had it much better. Now, I feel more like a person that I’m happy with and the illusion of other people having it better is (almost completely) lost on me.
- At 22 the need to please others was overwhelming. So much so that if I did anything that I believed would let someone else down, I hid it, which created a tidal wave of guilt. It’s still something that I struggle with, and I doubt I’ll ever be completely over it, but I’m placing more of an importance on facing the uncomfortable letting down conversation and then moving on. It’s SO much better.
- When I was 22, I rejected the idea of being domestic. As a kid, I told my parents that when I got married my husband would be the one taking care of the house while I worked. This was something that I carried with me until our first son was born and we decided that I would stay home to be with him. Suddenly I was doing exactly what my mom did, and it took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that this was not a weak position to be in, but something that I chose, and in fact takes a lot of strength and energy.
- At 22 the idea of a friend moving away seemed like a death sentence. At 32, I know that I can not only keep in touch with those friends (thanks social media!) but when we see each other again after months or years, it’s easy to fall back into where we last left off.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with this hilarious video from a couple of years ago.