Let’s just take a second to marvel at the power Number 30 has – you literally use it as a time stamp for everything. People put pressure on themselves to do a bunch of stuff before the end of their 20’s decade. Here are some of the things that have popped up recently:
Am I successful yet?
Am I married yet?
Am I about to start my family?
Am I attractive or youthful enough for my age?
Am I trying to be too young?
Am I trying to be too old?
Am I in a good place in my life?
These are stresses that I didn’t originally have about approaching 30 – they were pointed out to me by interacting with other humans. I hadn’t asked myself most of these questions until I had them mentioned to me – and then they wouldn’t leave my brain until I had to stop and look inward. Am I really stressed about these questions or have I been conditioned to be stressed about these questions?
Are we really stressed about approaching 30 or are we told to be stressed?
When you think about it, it’s kind of the middle mark for a lot of people. By the time you reach sixty, the last chapter starts and it’s a little bit of a downhill until the end of your days. I need to stay present but that sounds so epic! I cannot wait to get to that point of being completely at peace with what I’ve done with my life and just enjoying my remaining years.
Back to the power of 30, it just seems like such a milestone with so much hype. In all honesty, my 20’s were wonderful but I’m happy to see the end of them. I don’t really relate to other people in their 20’s anymore and I feel more empowered to fully embrace womanhood in all its beauty. I feel ready for 30 and even a bit excited, although, to society, I’m a pretty shit candidate for the 30 club. I can bang on about how we’ve moved forward and taken this ‘your life – your rules’ sentiment to new heights, but in reality, people still EXPECT things to happen.
They expect you to be married at some point, whether you want to or not. I’ve never liked the idea of marriage – ever. I’ve never dreamt of the dress I’d wear or the flowers that I’d hold. I once joked that if I did get married, the whole thing would cost under $100 and everyone would be barefoot. It could just be an outside veggie BBQ and no gifts would be given. The paperwork and the stress mean nothing to me in regards to marriage. Why do we have to legalize it? It feels like entrapment to me. I can be perfectly secure in a partnership without having to sign a page that says I’m secure.
People think I’m talking out my ass when I say that I feel pressure from society to get ‘on with my life’ and settle; but here are some recent comments that I’ve received in the last year:
“What are you going to do now? I mean, if you were going to get married you would’ve met him already – right?”
OK, Susan – maybe you peaked at 21 but can you pipe the fuck down? I would much rather be on my own for the rest of my life than be with someone “I’ve already met” and being unhappy. I haven’t wanted to marry anyone I’ve dated so obviously I’ve not met “them” (stop gender assigning me, Susan!) yet. It baffles me how we think woman have an expiry date? Women are marriage material until the day we die – we’re that awesome.
“Babies in you mid-thirties will be tough on you, you know?”
First of all, Susan, how do you know if I even want children? Have you seen how much they poop and then hate you once they get a mind of their own? Also, I’m sorry if your ovaries dried up when you hit 30 but mine are as happy as a kid born into a rich home. For me personally, putting a kid into this world just seems like such a selfish thing to do right now – I’d much rather adopt or sponsor a child at this point. We’re an overpopulating, toxic mess right now and until I see hope, my eggs can chill – and so can you, Susan!
“When are you coming home and getting, like, a real job?”
Why are you using the word ‘like’ Susan? Are you confused as to what a job/career looks like in 2018? People do not understand all that I do and it frustrates me because, rather than ask – they assume. Don’t be like Susan and ask if it bothers you so much (something I still don’t understand – I must be doing something wrong cause I don’t give two shits about other people’s careers) just ask me! I’m currently juggling three jobs and working on various projects. I make far more money than I did working a ‘Susan Appropriate’ job.
As for the coming home part of it, why would I choose to live somewhere that costs so much for so little? My opinion of South Africa is my own, but it makes little sense for a single woman to live in SA when I can enjoy a much more lucrative (and safe) life elsewhere. Living in a gated community or behind bars on my window in constant fear does little to help the ageing process. I do love South Africa, but I make a lot more money whilst save a ton living elsewhere and more importantly, I’m much happier.
“You look good for your age – it’s because you don’t have a husband or kids.”
You’re almost right, Susan. My grey hairs stopped completely (bar the two from the other day – that still stings so I won’t talk about it any further) when I became single over two years ago. Without others to worry about, you do self-invest and I don’t mean cosmetic procedures – you put more time into your skincare and what you eat. You dedicate more ‘me time’ and that literally shines from the inside out. For me, these last two years on my own have been the happiest of my life because I’ve learned to love myself again. It hasn’t been an easy road but I don’t know how I would’ve made it to 30 if I’d continued on the road I was on. I was heavily depressed and super miserable because I was living a life I did not want. Once I looked inward and cut the bullshit, I started living for the sake of my own happiness (and sanity) and I saved myself.
Moving on… Let it breathe…
I am working on shutting off the outside world, or at least the comments I’m tired of hearing. Let me tell you an example of how it is: let’s say you have a yellow shirt that you love so much. You wear it out with confidence (and happiness) but you hear people criticize or not understand your fashion choices time and time again. You start to resent your yellow shirt on your down days and sometimes contemplate taking it off. When you do take it off… you miss it terribly and you’re so unhappy when you don’t wear it.
Most of the time, I lift the middle finger and continue to live my life, but often it does get to me. That’s the human in me wanting to please society and sometimes be accepted. With age, I’ve learnt that self-love is enough and you will never please everyone, so stop trying and live your own truth. Take what people say with a grain of salt and do things on your own time if they feel right by you.
Whew! This post was therapeutic!