Courtney, 37, New York, USA
I managed to make it down the aisle a couple months shy of 29. But I also managed to get divorced just a few months shy of 31. I didn’t have kids or own a home. I didn’t “get anything” in my divorce because there wasn’t anything to get. I sold my wedding ring because it made me feel fucking terrible. He took the car.
I drew this girl when I was 33 and I felt like I was running out of time. I was constantly in a state of anxiety; never wanting to be still. If I moved, if I distracted myself, if I filled my time with work and social commitments and bad TV and wine, I wouldn’t have to feel the uncomfortable feelings that are involved in healing. I had no time for such a frivolous act when I needed to focus on racing against the clock.
I was exhausted but I had to quickly fill the holes with everything I was missing, or I was sure I would sink. I had to prove that I was lovable and that nothing was wrong with me.
I look back on this girl now and I can still feel how worn out and how worn down she felt. It almost feels like a cliché to have drawn her as just an outline hiding behind sunglasses.
My letter to this girl:
Dear C at 33,
You already know that life can be hard. But please try to remember that it is also hilarious and lovely. You aren’t failing at all; you are doing just fine. 4 years from now, it will be exactly the same, but it will also be completely different. You will not have checked all the boxes you want to check right now, but you won't feel stuck either. You are going to stop holding onto the idea of timelines and quit beating yourself up so much. You’ll breathe deeper, taking in more air because the brick was finally lifted off your chest.
Yes, if we are counting in years, technically you will have less time…but ironically, you’re going to feel like you have all the time in the world. You’ll feel like this because you’ll believe (you’ll know) that you are exactly where you’re meant to be. You won’t be afraid of sinking because you’ve quit trying to fill the holes long enough to realize that you’ve been rowing the boat this whole time and managed to just keep a-fucking-float.
Breathe, it gets better.
C at 37