Meghan, 34, NY, USA
After leaving an abusive marriage at the age of 29, I was sent hurtling into my 30s with a combination of empowered excitement, fear, stigma, motivation, and anxiety as I began to rebuild my life. My previous partner shortly after found a new partner and had the baby we had talked about having. Thank god that baby is not my baby. Thank god that man is not my husband.
Rebuilding is hard. Harder when you’re in your 30s. The magical whims of spontaneity are sparse or just don’t feel the same. You calculate now. You observe. You plan. Even when you don’t want to be so on point, even when you want to be reckless, you somehow still find a reason and a purpose in the mess.
What is your purpose now? Do you settle so you too can reach those “normal” milestones we’ve been told should happen? Fuck no. You already settled once, remember? So you continue to explore.
Exploring at this age is strange to some. You can tell it makes some people uncomfortable that you aren’t on the trajectory they are used to. My doctor refused to give me a Pap smear because I had already had one within the last 2 years. After you turn 30, they recommend those tests only every 3-5 years because people at this age typically only have monogamous relationships. What if I am fucking in my 30s more than I ever have before?
The beauty to this age, to being alone in it, is that although your mind and others want you to plan and figure it all out, you still have the space and time to actually enjoy it. To enjoy yourself. To be yourself. It has lead me to a new career path, a stronger sense of identity, a softer approach towards expectations. It’s pretty special.