Personal Essays

Growing Up

In case you didn’t know, I’m 33. Almost middle-aged. Hell, probably already middle-aged in many people’s eyes.

And I’m not complaining; 33 is a great age to be. My marriage is solid, my career is well under way, I have a house and a 403(b). I’m done having babies and I’m learning to be comfortable in my own skin, even with a few strands of grey and 10 extra pounds on my hips.

But that’s not to say that things couldn’t, or shouldn’t, improve. It seems I am finally in a spot, settled with life and who I am, where I can start to focus on making things better, finding more happiness, more stability, more experience.

And slowly, sometimes achingly so, I’ve been doing this. Since I turned 30, I’ve lost a solid 25 pounds and kept it off. I’ve finally started to rebuild my credit after stupid mistakes from early 20s devastated it. I’ve learned who my real friends are and what that means.

So when pocket recommended an article called 10 Life Lessons to Excel In Your 30s, I was more than intrigued to read it and see what it had to say.

Well, it didn’t disappoint me. With advice given from those who’ve made it through it, the article reinforced much of my motivation and made me really think about some things.

  • I need to get in better shape. I’m not what I would consider fat, but I am by no means in the shape I should be, that I want to be. I’m very good at making excuses to get started and I’ve been doing that for too long. And I also understand it’s not going to get any easier. Best to do it now, while my body is still cooperating. It will be easier to maintain once the healthy habits are established and there is no better time than the present.
  • M and I were flipping through our high school year book the other day, as I ran into someone, and couldn’t remember their name. It was amazing to me, looking at the people from my past, too many gone already, only 15 years after graduation. And it’s not just peers. One of my dear friend’s father died last year, and my uncle is in the final stages of lung cancer. My own father has had 2 major heart attacks and my mother takes more pills in a day than most do in a month. And I know the next decade is only going to take more people I know and love. I remember my dad telling me the only time he saw his friends was at funerals, and I am just starting to understand the truth of this.
  • It’s time to change my career path. I’m not happy doing what I’m doing and I have zero job satisfaction. And it’s not that I want a new job. It’s so much more than that. I want out of the field of addiction and mental health, out of social services completely. I’m burned out from it and can no longer see the good, if any, I accomplish. But I’m struggling with the reality of completely changing the direction I’ve been going my whole adult life. It seems like an overwhelming task, one I don’t know how to start. But I do know that I am not going to spend 40+ hours a week for the next 30 years doing something I don’t believe in.
  • I know what my passions are: my family, my marriage, writing. And it’s time I focused on those things. Keep them in the forefront of my thoughts and actions. Doing the best I can for these things and for my self.

So I guess now that I’m all grown up, it’s time to step back and think about what that means, what I want it to mean for me. I used to think it was about moving up the ladder and new cars and soccer practices and shiny things. But now, those are not the things that seem to hold meaning in my life. Instead, I find myself desiring more smiles on my husband’s face, more laughter from my children’s mouths, less things in my life and more quiet in my mind. These are the things I want to work on. These are the ways I need to grow.

2 thoughts on “Growing Up

  1. I’m about to start the descent into my 30s and I’m scared. I guess because I’m getting older and am unsure of my accomplishments. Do they matter? Have I made the right moves in my career, love life, friendships, spirituality? I’m worried I’ll get through the next decade and realize I didn’t do anything I should have and missed so many opportunities. I’m too much of a perfectionist when it comes to things. Never satisfied and always unsure. When does that stop? I still get acne and now I’m worried about gray hairs too. *sigh.

    • One thing I’ve recently come to terms with is that there is no “should have” and “right moves.” What we do is what we do and where we end up is where we end up. One of the main things in the article is finally realizing we are all just winging it, trying our best, and that no one really knows what they’re doing. Even when you have a plan, life throws shit in your way. Does it stop? Hell if I know. I’m going to try and stop worrying about it, and enjoying the moment more. That’s all we really have, right, this moment. And grey hair sucks. It drives me crazy! *hugs and kiss*

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