This blog is called 29tolife.
I started writing this at the age of 29, because I was tired of everyone talking about 30 and what they hope it will be or what it should be or what it should not be. I wanted to talk about the fear that comes with being really grown and a “real” adult.
This blog has opened up a lot of things in my life. I freely talked about the end of a devastating relationship, the darkness that came with it, and the healing and the starting over.
I’ve talked about losing friends, strengthening my relationships, appreciating the people in my life, pushing myself out of mediocrity and being very real about my fears and my shortcomings.
I turned 31 yesterday, and today I spent the entire day off, doing just what I pleased.
That consisted of getting a massage, having a great lunch alone and strolling through the mall and picking up a few things. Then there was my nap, then I went to the grocery store and picked up some healthy items for the week, and then tried a recipe for black bean veggie soup I’d been itching to try but never took the time.
Like the soup, my day turned out great.
I realized something. My life is great.
I’m not my perfect weight. I do not weigh what I weighed frolicking in South Beach ten years ago as a college co-ed. However, I am still attractive and I will love myself and my body as it is and will love it as it changes gradually with exercise and proper eating.
But I purchased a dinette set. An awesome one that will elevate my cute little apartment even more into the home of a grown, 31-year-old woman with some taste.
I realized I like hosting and sharing my space and time and a great meal with the people I love and a table and two chairs ain’t gonna cut it. I want to host a dinner party.
So, I splurged and I can’t wait for it to arrive next week.
I’m going to go with dear friends to see Alvin Ailey at the Kennedy Center this upcoming weekend.
I splurged on some Chanel lip gloss today. Why not? I’m 31 and I work.
I bought a birthday gift for a friend that was special and from the heart. She’s going to flip. I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it.
It wasn’t so much the buying of things, because I didn’t get anything crazy. I found a necklace for my outing next week and I bought a bunch of hand soap for my bathroom, but it made me feel good.
Walking around the mall with my bags after having a wonderful lunch, I felt blessed.
I’d been having some random thoughts about work. How unhappy I thought I was, but I was not looking at what I have. I was in the panic. In the panic of what other people were doing at work, and reacting the way I thought I should be reacting. I thought working in this panic, and applying for other jobs in a panic was being proactive and not taking my pay cut lying down.
At this point, I’m the only one who does what I do. Folks have reminded me of the serious leveraging power I have right now. Honestly, if I were able to get back the money I lost from our paycut, I’d actually be happy. I’d be satisfied.
I started hearing rumors about other people who left and how unhappy they are, even with more money.
And it made me think.
I spent six years earning respect.
At a new place, I’d have to do that all over again.
I can work from home. I have a lot of flexibility and I’ve never been turned down for vacation time or leave. I’ve earned my three weeks.
I have a lot of autonomy and folks listen when I speak or say something needs to change or needs to be fixed.
God has given me favor. It’s nothing to scoff at.
Maybe I’d been looking at things all wrong. While the new company that acquired us still gives me pause, I’ve realized something.
The point now isn’t to just leave, or find a place that will give me $10,000 or more than I make now.
The point right now, as the 31-year-old me is to position myself to make my next move a place where I really, really want to be, where the work will satisfy me where it won’t matter that I have to prove myself all over again to new people or work harder for awhile.
So, I’ve come to the realization, at 31, it is about quality of life. Not as much about a paycheck, which is nice. I will be picky about the jobs I apply to. I will work with what I’ve got. I’ll cut down on my complaining.
I always worry about settling, I always worry about wanting too much. As I get older, I think those lines start to intersect and blend in interesting ways. Especially when things like family are involved.
I’m glad to be 31.
I’m glad to pay all of my important bills first.
I’m glad I spent the greater part of my 20s learning how credit really works so I can have good credit now.
I’m glad I’ve dated every kind of man possible, so I can get closer to the one who was meant for me.
I’m glad I had an awesome body in my 20s, it’s proof I can get it back and appreciate it even more.
I’m glad I understand the value of good underwear.
I’m glad I appreciate a kind word from anyone.
I’m glad I appreciate an honest word from my friends.
I’m glad I can decide what’s a necessity and what’s a want and not act like it’s the end of the world that I couldn’t get what I wanted.
I’m glad that patience is a virtue.
I’m glad to know my parents are actually imperfect, and that they managed to do so much with what they had anyway.
I’m glad that I am imperfect too, because I can make a mistake and it’s really ok. It is.
If turning 31 can give me this kind of insight only two days in… the thirties ain’t so bad at all.