Here’s lookin’ at you, 32.
For my birthday I decided to give myself an at-home quarantine-style extreme makeover. Hello peach hair! If you want to watch the full transformation, it’s up on my YouTube Channel now – and don’t forget to subscribe!
I have a lot of feelings about being in my thirties.
You see, there’s a mindset out there (yay society) that values youth, that prizes being young and wrinkle-free and baby-faced, that associates being in your 20’s with innovation and creativity, that begins to drop their interest once you’ve “peaked” and passed that certain age. That age seems to be 30. Countless friends have bemoaned hitting thirty, have been sad about it, have been afraid of it, have been depressed by it.
When you hit thirty, suddenly you’re expected to be fully integrated into adulthood. When you hit thirty, there’s this unspoken rule: you can’t do anything fun any more, you’re probably past your prime for creating, you’re getting wrinkles and heading for your forties and heaven forbid anyone ever value a woman who’s settling into “middle age”. When you hit thirty you’re supposed to settle down, become less, fade away. You’ve hit your thirties, you’re going to go downhill.
But here’s the thing: that mindset? That’s utter C R A P.
Wanna know where I was when I was 22? I was photographing myself in my back yard with a junky camera and no idea how to edit things, afraid to tell people I had a blog or loved fashion, and at the thinnest I’ve ever been thought I was “fat” because all my friends were thinner. I was two years post having finished writing my first novel and couldn’t find my writing mojo. I thought I had lost the one thing I considered a “talent” of mine. I didn’t know what I wanted from life. I was insecure, afraid of being judged, didn’t believe I could do what I loved, was afraid to be seen, and had no confidence in myself. I was afraid to fail, because if I couldn’t do it right I couldn’t do it at all.
I don’t know why being in your twenties is so highly sought after by society, because my twenties were fine but my thirties? Let me tell you something:
I don’t care what people think about me, unless it’s the direct effect of my own failing to be kind as a person. I am a professional photographer and take photos in public places, and have been a repeat choice to model and professionally photograph myself for promotional media for retro brands that use my photos over and over again in their marketing and even to sell their items. I am proud of the work I am creating and not afraid to tell people I have a blog or a YouTube channel. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, but have learned that my body is not the source of my worth, and besides that feel sexy in ways I never thought I could be in my twenties. I am writing again, with more clarity and greater ability than I had before. I finally feel confident enough to say: I am very good at writing what I love to write, and I’m unafraid to admit that I write mainly romance.
I am no longer afraid to be seen. I am no longer afraid to fail, because failure just means you have more to learn.
I have learned that confidence is often found in faith, in kindness, in loving others, in striving to be a light and a safe place. Confidence is found in learning, in being open, in being willing to put myself aside for the sake of others. Confidence is found in no longer caring what people might think of my appearance, because I like how I look and that’s enough.
So who cares if I’ve gained a few wrinkles and pounds, really, because neither of those things are indicative of my outer or my inner beauty, and I value the latter far more.
Thank goodness for my thirties. If this is how the first two years are going, I am thrilled to discover what the next seven will bring.
Hello, 32. I’m happy to be here.