I am a cliché.
I am the woman I scoffed about in my 20s. I am the person who reads self-help books, buys essential oils, researches retinol creams, and has fully embraced the audiobook as an acceptable pastime.
I am that 30-something who is deep into self-discovery; I am somewhere between Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw: with Bridget’s self-deprecation, fondness of comfort eating, and luck (and lingerie collection) combined with Carrie’s wanderlust, self-examination, and neurosis; I have inherited both of their terrible tastes in men.
I am enough heartbreaks in to have gained my Google degree in Narcissist Personality Disorder, and I use my 3D-judgement magical glasses to scan for childhood trauma, emotional unavailability, and the likelihood of any meaningful meet-ups.
I love a quote; I love a verse or a lyric. I post them and meet that cliché daily. I am partial to a full stop. I get a kick out of saying no. I know three facts about two types of wine, and I profess them to friends when perusing the sacred grape aisle in Sainsbury’s like the connoisseur that I am not.
I open my mouth to my children and my mother comes out—sometimes my grandmother.
I upload, then delete, then upload, then delete dating apps; as I flit in-between “this is a demeaning killer of self-respect” and “you only live once…”
I give solid advice and take none.
My friendship circle grows smaller, but tighter, every day.
I drink detox smoothies and make valerian bedtime tea; I also can binge what I want when I want, because I am a grown-up now—and we can do that, can’t we?
I consider my morning coffee a divine intervention.
I am productive, and then I am not. I can swear and curse and nobody can tell me off. Yet, if my child swears or curses, I am the enforcer of the rules. 30-somethings have that power.
Each day brings a fresh layer of acceptance; my “do I look alright in this?” has turned into “I’m wearing this, and I don’t give a f*ck what you think”—as I scan the mirror for wrinkles.
My tolerance has lessened, yet my patience has increased.
I am unapologetic, yet more considered than ever.
I am a grown-up, yet embracing my inner child in more ways than one; I am conforming, yet free.
My quest to know myself has led me to despair, then bought me back again. I know less now than ever, yet that’s okay. I am grateful.
I am someone’s mother, yet still a daughter.
I am a cauldron of contradiction—although, I don’t think that’s new.
Being 30-something means living independently with a sh*t ton of accruing interest sitting beside you. It’s checking your credit report like you used to check your horoscopes.
It is the years of getting to know ourselves and falling out with ourselves, acknowledging weakness, healing, bettering ourselves, then starting that process all over again with the next theory we learn about—until something clicks or fits, or we make it fit with force or break the mold.
Mindfulness is still not mine, but I at least know it’s a path available to me.
30-something me watches old films with new eyes. Perspectives shift and people come into focus.
Cheese is a new love, gifted by my 30s, hated in my 20s.
30-odd-year-old me can workout for hours and not lose a pound. 30-something-old me cares less about that than ever, yet is more aware of health than before.
30-something is gratifying and life-affirming. 30-something is being tired a lot and not knowing why.
30-something is a cliché—and I’m all in.