In the weeks leading up to and following my 30th birthday, I have been very conscious of my heightened stress and anxiety levels. Lots of reflection, questioning, pressure on myself and reevaluation. Something about me definitely feels different… Or does it?
I mean… My adult life has just been a series of trial and error – on a constant search for what works and what doesn’t. What can I live with and what can I not live without? What makes me happy and what doesn’t?
If I was doing this for all of my 20s, where was this existential crisis coming from?
Maybe my hangovers are a lot worse… and I still make silly decisions… but I’m starting to figure out what I want in life… and understanding the meaning. But the more I understand, the more questions I have. Why is 30 such a big deal?? Why have these ugly ideas been in my head lately?
“I feel like I haven’t accomplished what I should have by now,”
“I wish I were in better shape.”
“I should be in a different place financially.”
“Will I be alone for the rest of my life?”
“I feel like my grief process is wearing my friends out.”
“I have no idea what I am doing.”
“Why did I ever think starting a blog was a good idea?”
But what does all of this even mean? I’m not mad about my current life situation. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I don’t think I deserve anything more than what I have. Sure, I’d like to make some changes but nothing too drastic – yet. So why the anxiety? Where are we SUPPOSED to be at 30? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
I have to keep reminding myself of the major life changes that have taken place in the last year and a half with losing my mother, ending a long-term relationship, relocating home to Kentucky and starting my own business – it is a lot. It’s hard. Give myself a break – and a hug!
There’s something I’ve realized while thinking about turning 30. And it makes a lot of it easier to swallow. I can literally do what I want, when I want, without answering to anyone. Sure there are consequences if I don’t pay my bills, but…. I’m not out breaking the law. But. That’s about it when it comes to rules of any kind.
I am guilty of bad habits that come and go – especially when my grief gets the best of me. I have major ups and more frequent major downs. I worry about everything lately. Money is a big concern – I don’t have any form of financial support. But I also don’t live a lucrative lifestyle and my LA choices and lack of career plan didn’t really lead to tons of savings. But wait – Mo money, mo problems, right?
I also worry sometimes that I’m not strong enough or focused enough to succeed. And I have developed insecurities – and hate being social – which IS NOT ME.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I ever really PICTURED 30.
But here I am – I’m single, with no prospects. I don’t have children. I also don’t own a house or am even on a lease where I live. I don’t have a salaried job. Am I perfectly fine with all of those things? Not exactly, but in the last year especially, I have grown to understand that I am right where I need to be. And not having any obligation to anyone or anything – is pretty fucking great.
I feel like finding my purpose and following my destiny are one in the same. TRUST THE PROCESS. Goals, growth, and responsibility each come with their own manifestations of anxiety. I’m worrying about worrying, worrying about the future, and worrying about imaginary expectations, instead of enjoying the present.
Sometimes I remind myself that worrying about the future is the most sincere way that I can believe in myself… success is a long and difficult road and maybe I worry how I will manage that problem when it’s time comes… but I know I’ve made it through everything else.
Reminder: Focus on the process, not the outcome.
Even though I have high expectations for myself, and my hopes and fears sometimes become very real and personal… I can remind myself of how far I’ve come. I think about the things I’ve already accomplished, with a pride that can never be taken away.
I’ve called 4 different states home.
I lived in 4 different areas of LA in the 5 years that I lived there.
I’ve done some ridiculously awesome art installations in some amazing places.
My portfolio keeps growing as a designer, stylist, art director and producer.
I have built amazing relationships with the best of friends, all over the world.
I’ve been in love several times.
I started my own business.
I quit smoking.
I’m a really cool aunt.
If I worry about taking risks or making sacrifices to succeed, I have to ask myself what I really need to be happy. I think about which things that I really need to live.
I can’t live without my family.
I can’t live without hugs.
I can’t live without memories of my Mom.
I can’t live without laughing on a daily basis.
I can’t live without my girlfriends.
I can’t live without music.
I can’t live without the freedom to wake up and make my own decisions.
I can’t live without my creativity.
Anxiety sometimes makes me wish that wishes were real. But I can recognize that the things that I wish for are goals I will accomplish. Sometimes the things that sound like excuses are actually truths. Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. When I can be honest with myself about my goals and effort, everything I truly want is worth fighting for, and guilt or procrastination means I can decide if it’s important.
Being honest with myself has been the best feeling every year of my life, 30 be damned. But if I’m honest, I’m kinda surprised that: I don’t have any tattoos yet and I don’t have a passport. Somehow I thought those things would have just… happened by now. I’m not a planner. I should do that more.
But somehow, without having “A MASTER PLAN” I’ve found, discovered, and experienced so much that I am grateful for. And I’ve learned so much from so many, and it’s all constantly percolating inside of me. These are the things I knew I would love before I knew what they were, and if there was ever a cure for my anxiety, it would be these things…because even if I don’t worry about what my ultimate purpose is, I still have my instinct.
There are experiences in my life that I know I will always love.
Cooking (vegetarian) dishes that take longer than an hour, use way too many ingredients and dirty every dish in the kitchen – because I CAN.
Laughing – doesn’t matter at what or with whom.
Tearing up ANY dancefloor.
Painting without a paintbrush or canvas.
Designing a piece of jewelry that no one has ever seen before.
Attending music festivals
Dressing up for special occasions
Making other people feel beautiful.
Introducing new friends to each other.
Collecting all sorts of funny little knick knacks.
Belting out Disney songs at the top of my lungs.
How many times have you given a friend advice and they say to you – when are you going to direct that to the mirror? CHILL OUT. CALM DOWN. KEEP BLOGGING. This 30 thing… and it’s societal ideals – don’t have to be my deals. It’s a number that does not measure who or where I am in life. It has definitely made me think long and hard about things that are important to me – which is always a good thing. But as long as I am living a creative life with passion, doing things that make me happy with people that I love and helping others to do the same, then my life means everything that I want it to.
Simple as that.