I almost didn’t want to write this post at the risk of sounding cliché, but here it is- 100% from my heart. Maybe you’re twenty-eight and feeling a bit lost, or maybe you’re eighty-eight and rolling your eyes that I once thought being 30 was ‘super old.’ Whoever you are, I hope you enjoy reading my story.
Three years ago, I was about to turn thirty. I was preparing to close on my first home, and in the middle of my seventh year as a first-grade teacher. I felt successful and was proud of all I had accomplished by age 30. I really felt like I had it all together. My twenties allowed me to chase my dreams of being a teacher. I worked in a city school for two years before leaving for my current position in the suburbs. (Where I’m spoiled rotten on the daily and constantly feel the love and gratitude) I had literally traveled all over the world with my sister, family, and friends. I remember sipping bubbly rosé while in Monte Carlo with my friend Lindsay and thinking, “Being in our twenties is so awesome. Life will never get better than this.”
Although I had imagined myself being married way before age 30, I was okay that I wasn’t. People were constantly asking me if I thought my boyfriend at the time was “the one”. How do you even answer that? The reality was that I was pretty unhappy. I was in a relationship that literally sucked every ounce of happiness out of me. Maybe I held on a little extra longer for all the stereotypical reasons. The only thing worse than being 30 and single is being almost 31 and single. In hindsight, I don’t know what I thought the alternative would be.
Fast forward to my thirty-first birthday, I was eight weeks out of the relationship I previously mentioned. I’ve never felt such a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, yet I never felt more confused about who I was meant to be. I always surrounded myself with people, because that is what makes me happiest. I remember saying to my mom, “I think I’m just going to be the ‘cool aunt’ forever. I’m okay with that, Mom. I don’t think I’m meant to be anyone’s wife or mother. I missed the boat on all of this.” (I now realize how ridiculous this sounds.) I think I was always used to doing things ahead of schedule. I’m the youngest in my family, and I’ve always been in such a rush for life to happen or to ‘do what the big kids are doing’. I never walked, rather started running at nine months. (That fun fact really doesn’t shock anyone who knows me.) The winter that I turned 31, I would often visit my sister on weekend nights, just to hang. My baby niece was just a few weeks old. I would hold Isabelle and never felt happier or more proud of my sister for the beautiful family she had created. The next few months really seem like a blur, and I was just trying to push through and figure it all out.
Then, one day, I felt like myself again. Except, I felt older, wiser, and like I had no stress anymore. I was perfectly content with just living and not deciding what my future would look like. I started dating again, and WOW. It was entertaining- like wildly entertaining. One guy told me he was looking for a girl with the “it” factor, and he thought I just might have it. I think I was supposed to feel honored, not nauseated. (Another day, another post….)
June 2, 2017- my first date with Ben. Ben didn’t ‘make me a happy person’ or ‘make me feel complete.’ He made me feel like myself, and he saw all the happiness in me and magnified it tenfold by just being himself. He is my person, and life is so much better with him in it. He makes me want to be the best person I can be, not only for myself, but for him. I don’t know where we will be in five years, and I’m totally okay with that. For once in life, I’m not ahead of schedule. In some regards, I guess I’m a little behind. I’m okay with that, because these years have allowed me to see so clearly who I am.
I know Ben will be by my side and wherever life takes us, we’ll get through it together. I’ve learned to stop making so many plans and just live. I’ve also learned that life is too short to keep people, habits, or things around that don’t allow you to be the best version of yourself.
I’m *almost* 33, you guys. (Insert grandma emoji here) I find myself reminiscing way too much and often falling asleep way too early. I guess that is just part of getting older, and I’m okay with it.