Julie Demarest, 34, New York, USA
Exactly one month before I entered my thirties I was sitting in a hospital room watching my best friend take her last breath and leave my life forever. I walked into my thirties the biggest mess I’ve ever been, during one of the darkest, and loneliest times of my life. I also had years of dreading the age of thirty-one, and ultimately surpassing the age my mother was when she died. As if on the eve of my thirtieth birthday I would be walking, and then just step out over a black, bottomless pit into this period of life I couldn’t even fathom. How at a mere thirty-one years old could I be out living my mother? I envisioned my thirties as this black unknown, no strong female presence tackling it years before me to show me the trips, and tips, and joys of being a woman in your thirties. My thirties started with the loss of my best friend, and that ever massive gap I’ve carried with me for years of missing my mother. That being said, one would assume my thirties have not been the happiest or best of times. When actually, I am currently the strongest, healthiest, sanest version of myself that I’ve ever been. And I know I’m just getting better with each year that passes.
With the trauma early on at thirty throwing me down into my lowest point, it actually gave me a completely blank canvas on which to rebuild myself. And that is exactly what I’ve done, and plan to keep on doing. It’s like you turn thirty, and suddenly a switch goes off – you just stop giving a shit what anyone else thinks, and you begin to realize what it is you want for yourself. The thirties for a woman are really quite liberating. Getting to know yourself is such a trippy, fun, emotional, embarrassing ride to be on; growing comfortable in your skin and acknowledging your own wants and needs. For me that definitely involved some therapy, a dramatic break-up, some meds for a minute, and a life decision to pack up and drive myself west, moving to Los Angeles at thirty-two years old. I traded in shots of whiskey and blacking out at 4AM on a fairly regular basis, for killer sunsets and being able to order weed online and have it delivered to my door while lounging in my underwear at home.
As I write this at thirty-four years old I have currently sold off and given away all of my belongings and have only a couple of boxes and a suitcase to my name. I’m planning another life move this time to Brooklyn. I’ve thrown myself into yet another period of transformation and rebuilding, and I am excited for how much further this will push my growth. This is what my thirties are all about to me. In our twenties (most) of us spend so much time trying to be someone we’re not, someone we think we’re supposed to be, or someone who we want to emulate. We’re catty broads with hints of jealousy and a lack of confidence. The most exercise I got was lifting shots of whiskey and the inevitable Sunday morning walk of shame. Now I die at crossfit every week and look forward to getting into bed when 10PM hits. I’ve traded in shitty beer for rose, and late night drunken diner binges for green smoothies full of kale and maca powder in the mornings. My girlfriends are my lifeline, and I look to other women to inspire me. I like to think that my thirties are a transition period for even better years to come. The only thing that has yet to improve at 34 is dating. There are still just as many fuck boys in your thirties as there were in your twenties. I’m too tired for the games, seeing as how I like to be in bed by 10PM these days, but I’m still just as terrified of commitment as I was at twenty-one. I’m still learning to date a guy for how kindly he treats me, and not because he has a beautiful Harley or a beautiful dick. But that’s the one lesson I don’t mind learning slowly.
One thing I began to do in my thirties that I highly recommend to every woman (and anyone really) out there is to begin saying yes to things that scare you, but that you’ve always wanted to try. Say yes to things that will better you, grow you, and inspire you. Say yes even when you’re terrified and can’t see the outcome. The reward is always positive. I started by saying yes to an alternative method of therapy called EMDR and it healed me. I said yes to moving across the country and rebuilding a new life in Los Angeles where I lost 30lbs, curbed my drinking problem, made life long friends, and opened a homeless shelter for veterans. I said yes to crossfit and I am the strongest and healthiest I’ve ever been. I said yes to trying to date a “normal, nice” guy with no motorcycle and no tattoos (obviously that one didn’t exactly work out, but like I said, I’m ok with learning this one slowly). I said yes to learning reiki and becoming a practitioner in the art. And these are just a few of the things I’ve said yes to by age thirty–four. I can only imagine, and I am beyond excited to see what the rest of my thirties hold for me. Bring on old age! I plan on continuing to work on being the happiest, most badass version of myself by the time I arrive on death’s door.