Sunday, December 4, 2011

30 is the new 20. At least it's mine.

This morning, I stumbled over to Elizabeth Tannen's bog post, "The End of the Twenties: An Ode" and had a sort of revelation.

In my marriage, I too was excited, enthused and eager to turn 30. I wasn't scared at all and I didn't feel old. I felt like I was just living, and feeling fantastic at that. I was doing it all. I had my career and my man, our dream home and our first son all bundled up and ready to move on forward with me from the disasters and stress that come with living in my twenties into the tranquility that seemed to await me in my thirties. In my twenties, I spent most of my energies trying to figure it all out and now going into my thirties, being married and settled down, I obviously had succeeded and could just relax, right?

Wrong.

In my twenties, I had sort of defined myself. Through trail and error of the course of a decade, I had learned that I was confident, out-spoken, kind of an internet social media junkie and more passionate about my stance on various topics than I was at 18 or 19. I was happy (or so I thought) and knew that I controlled my own destiny (or so I thought). I also thought that as long as I had the stability and comfort of my marriage, I -- and effectively, we as a family -- could get through anything.  I thought I knew where I stood with others, especially with my husband and our love for one another and our child (and any future children), and I was set to work out all of my flaws as the next part of learning to grow and succeed in life. I was done with figuring myself out. I was ready to fine-tune the wonderful that was me. I was done with carving out a path for myself, but instead ready to decorate where I was at in each moment in time and with every step on each road of the journey I had started.

Wrong.

Most of what I thought turned out to just be so wrong, words can't even describe just how wrong.

Now that my marriage has failed, I'm not as excited or enthused to be turning 30. It's like I'll be perpetually stuck in the mind-set of my twenties because with the separation and an impending divorce, it's as if I am now on a journey of re-definition for myself. I'm still the same confident, out-spoken and passionate woman and mother ... but everything I had come to know and think about what lie ahead for me has been erased. The road map of my life is completely different than I expected and I have to figure it all out again.

Sometimes, just thinking about that part, the figuring it all out again part, is just exhausting. I don't have the same energy that I did a decade ago. But I do have more drive and more focus. I tend not to waste time and, let's face it, you waste a lot of time in your twenties. I'm a 29 year-old about-to-turn 30 single working mother, I don't have time to waste.  I'm starting over at 30 and feel hardly different at all than I when I was 20. Well, minus the stretch marks, laugh lines and lack of confidence in at least knowing that I can and will be wonderful no.matter.what.

12 comments:

  1. I feel the same... but I started over at 27 and now being 30 I haven't gotten there yet. During that time I moved, started a wonderful new job, finished my masters degree, learned to golf, took cooking classes, started line dancing, joined a book club, went to the ballet, saw a movie for the first time alone, and so many more wonderful things. I actually smiled to myself just yesterday after a long drive home from seeing a friend and realized just how wonderful my life is. I used to define happy by having a family and now I realize that my happiness is so much more than that. Good luck in your adventure, it will be wonderful too simply because it is yours.

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  2. That is so awesome of you, Ronja! Hearing about what you've done since your divorce is an inspiration for me. There are so many things that I want to do in the future and I know that I'll get there. It's just a little daunting, but I know that I can do it. I want to start up a freelance photography business, maybe take some classes along the way and just focus on ME and my son. Part of learning to be wonderful has got to be learning to be happy with just me and not thinking that has to come with being married. Thank you for commenting :)

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  3. Girl, I was exactly the same age when I got separated and divorced. 29. It was SCARY to think about turning 30 and 'starting over.' Absolutely. But honestly? 30 was one of the best years of my life. It was a huge turning point for me, and if you set your mind to it, it can be yours too. Don't think of being 30 and having to hurry up and rebuild. Use 30 to rebuild. To regain the confidence, to build up your physical and mental 'home' again and to look at the wide-open life you have ahead of you. To use this as an opportunity to DO all of the things you never did in your 20s, to do the things you never thought you'd do, period. As scary as this is...it's your chance. I hope you think of it that way. XOXO

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  4. "Don't think of 30 and having to hurry up and rebuild. Use 30 to rebuild".

    Thank you!! Great advice.

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  5. Sad that most heroines do find themselves 10 years older with nothing to show for it, because their 1st marriage in their 20's was in fact not based on love but pickup art, & there's no evidence of any generation learning from the past.

    The 30 is the new 20 saying is mainly for heroines who don't have kids. The 30 year olds without kids do act like 20 year olds, get approached by a lot of men just like college, & still worship the men with the most fancy cars & popularity like teenagers.

    The ones with kids seem to live in a different world. They act older, no matter what they think. They're not approached by as many men. They're not in the nightclubs at 2am. They're not buying gadgets. That's now the baby sitter fund. They do have to settle, more often.

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  6. I was so, so psyched to turn 30... leave those damned, sucky 20's behind. It was very symbolic for me.

    I just turned 35 a couple of weeks ago. It's a little creepy knowing that I'm as close to 40 as I am to 30. I don't feel ready to be 40. Yeah, yeah, I know I've got 5 whole years! :) But, I'm also in a state of redefinition. I know that my relationship ending is a very different situation than yours. I mean, we were never married... no children... but we were together for seven years, and folks keep pointing out to me that many courtship+marriages don't last that long.

    When J and I first broke up and I was in the stage of crying at the drop of a hat, that it would take one month for every year we were together plus one month for every year I was past 30 for me to start feeling normal again. For me that comes out to almost a year. Now, I don't know that I believe that a magical formula could really predict that. But. It's kind of a relief to know that even as long as a year after the breakup, I might still be in a grief pattern. It's like a permission slip of sorts.

    I feel like the time that's passed since the breakup has been very much about figuring out who I am. Again. It's frustrating. But I guess I'm feeling like we must be in a constant state of redefinition. It's kind of like my condo. There is always a project I want to do. It's like I'm never "done" making my house my own. There's always something new to do or change or... redefine. I'm trying to look at things that way. It eases the momentary thoughts I have of how I wasted those years we were together. Because, in reality (and ironically), those years together were essential to forming the person who was strong enough to realize that that relationship was not right for her.

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  7. Heroineworshipper, I agreed with most of your comment until you implied that because I have a child, I am doomed to settle if and when I ever decide to marry or settle down with a man again.

    I couldn't disagree with that statement any more.

    I am a self-supporting capable woman and I don't need to be in a relationship to be happy, nor to be provided for in any way. I can take care of myself AND my child. Given my independence and because of the disaster that was my first marriage, child or no child, ... I am willing to bet a good sum of my own hard-earned money that in my future I WILL NOT be "settling". I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than settle for another less than satisfying romantic partnership.



    And Libby, you are so wise. I love your perspective and the whole analogy about constantly improving our homes as being similar to what we do with ourselves and our lives. See, that's what being as close to 40 as you are to 30 does ... makes you wise in addition to being all of the other things you've defined for yourself like being beautiful, kind, smart and talented :)

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    Replies
    1. It does get better! I promise. Have you read any of my more recent posts? What are you struggling with so far in the divorce process. Have you joined a support group? I'm so glad you found my blog and hope you'll keep reading and interacting here.

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  9. At 29, I too am reaching this same stop, in life. As much as it is a stop , it's also a start.
    My husband and I have web together almost 11 years. We have not signed divorce papers at this time, but he asked me to move out today, and hasn't kissed me in 2 months. I'm still in the place where I cry every hour, every day, at a everything - because everything is a reminder of him. Even though, I know this is the start of a new life. I go back and forth on whether or not I even want that, but know that all things in life have meaning . Thanks for the forum that supports us almost 30 year olds.

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    1. I'm so sorry you are hurting and I hope some of my writing and personal story offers you some kind of comfort to know that you are not alone. Also, things will get better. That is a fact.

      Before you move out, have you talked to an attorney? I'm a big advocate of getting legal advice throughout any separation or divorce.

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  10. Im 34 and faced the turn at 28. It was like a crisis turned into crises before I turned 30 so the day I turned 30 I had already dealt with it. At 34 I can openly admit it here that I miss the energy I had in my 20's. I miss the zippy, peppy, happiness that infused me and seemed to exude and become infectious and energizing. I am more aware now and greatful to have survived the pain, fear and loneliness I felt in my 20's. I am not afraid to be single and I actually acknowledge the need to be alone. I may find a good partner if I wait and and select one that fits me. (I will never be so impulsive or settle again ever!!!) Misery has new meaning and avoiding it means growing. I will not make any more unnecessary sacrafices of my own happiness for someone . I also realize that some others my age don't grow.I see that when they dont make effort to see themselves as a person changing or growing and see life the same way they did when they were younger. Im also leaving someone I was with for 7 years. I feel like a survivor Just a bit lonely.

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