My birthday is coming up and for first time in YEARS I'm not anxious. I'm not mourning my spinsterhood, clinging to the dregs of my youth. I'm not even that bothered by that same biological clock that rang so loudly in my years as I approached the dreaded 30.
While in my twenties I had a couple of friends, a decade older than I, that assured me that life got better after 30. They knew something that I didn't, because I couldn't. You see when you are miserable in your twenties, you think that it's all about you and your failings and flaws, but really it's just an awful decade that we're all forced to live through. A decade filled with unrealistic expectations, anxiety and naivety. They saw my pain and knew that I would overcome it, that I would evolve and learn to embrace my life. I felt my pain and saw only uncertainty and potential for unending misery.
The build up to 30 was the WORST! I dreaded that day for years. Why? Because, I'm a masochist, but really I was scared about what it meant and ashamed by the things that I hadn't accomplished. And though I bribed myself with a lovely trip to Hawaii, I couldn't shake the gloom of that day that came and went.
31 was better. Though it fraught with it's own challenges, I felt better prepared to face them. I had stopped doing what I though I should, and started following my heart. While still finding my footing in a new town and a new phase, I was finding unexpected satisfaction in the process.
And now, as I approach 32, I couldn't be happier. It's funny really. Because I have none of the things that I envisioned for myself. I have plenty of reasons to be miserable, except I'm not. As it turns out, all of those things that I thought that I needed to make me happy, may in fact lead to happiness and I may never know for sure, but I've learned that there are many ways to be happy.