Feeling 30

My head has been sloshing around with negative thoughts lately but occasionally, little bubbles of positivity seem to rise through the sludge, somehow having survived. Since overthinking the negative is something I specialize in – and rarely never gets me anywhere – I thought I’d instead entertain the positive.

Lately I’ve been feeling more my age. I turned thirty last November but you can’t really turn into an age in one day. It has taken many months to let this new decade – an undeniably, wholly adult decade – settle over me, for me to find its comfortable grooves. And just to be clear, this is a positive thing. Aging is scary, sure – but acceptance of where you are in life at any particular moment is always the surest way to feel content.

Here are some things that make me glad to be thirty and feeling it:

1. I’ve grown into wearing nicer clothes. Maybe it was being a student for so long, or living on the west coast, or looking younger than my age, but through most of my twenties I felt uncomfortable if I wore anything dressier than jeans and a decent top. Blazers, nice skirts and dresses, and tailored shirts all felt like playing dress-up. I still dress fairly casually – I work in research science after all – but now when I catch sight of myself in the mirror on my way out of the office bathroom, I sometimes spot a respectable-looking professional. And I like that.

2. My house is mostly clean, most of the time. We were never total pigs, but we definitely tested the “maybe if I put it off a bit longer it’ll magically get done” theory a little more (fair enough, it is worth checking that one out thoroughly). Nor have we since reformed into clean freaks; our kitchen cupboards are still grimy if you get up close, the floors will rarely be clean enough to eat off, and you’ll find all kinds of funky dust bunnies under the furniture. But in the last couple of years we’ve gotten to the point that if someone was to randomly come to our door, for example, to exchange a gold-painted rock for “something larger” as part of a game they were taking part in, I can have them step into my home without embarrassement. Our house looks lived in – there might be some dishes soaking in the sink, some crumbs on the counter, and a pile of unopened mail on the kitchen table – but it looks lived in by adults. Mostly. (We ended up giving them a box of tissues in exchange for the gold rock.)

3. I have gotten relatively comfortable having friends over for dinner. Because of my perfectionist tendencies, hosting will never be completely stress-free for me. I will worry about the food turning out right and at the right time, I will worry about our dog being a nuisance to non-dog people (she likes attention), and I will worry about how long these damn people are going to stay in my house because I’m ready to go to sleep now! But I feel comfortable that John and I can host a decent social gathering. We can cook some yummy things, we can trade off on kitchen duties without ever pausing the conversation, and we never take ourselves so seriously that our friends don’t feel comfortable grabbing what they need if we forget to offer. Oh and since the wedding, we have some kick-ass wine glasses too.

4. I’ve started to see the value in spending more for the things I use everyday. Maybe it’s realizing that I have arrived as much as I will ever arrive (meaning I’ve realized there is no such thing), but rather than grabbing the cheapest thing that will do the job I’ve grown more patient in waiting for the right thing and then being prepared to pay for it. For example, we bought a new couch a few months ago to replace the Craigslist find that had served us for six years. We thought long and hard about what to buy and ended up ordering a couch from a shop in our neighbourhood. The couch is made locally and in the fabric we chose. It cost more than an IKEA couch for sure, but not obscenely so and we felt really good about buying it because it was exactly what we wanted and we’ll be sitting on it practically every day for years to come (or more accurately lying on it – which we can both do AT THE SAME TIME!). Recently, I splurged on a nice powder brush and realized for the first time how amazing a quality makeup brush feels. It’s like a silky hug for every pore of my skin! I’ve since decided that each month or two I’m going to replace one of my worn, drug-store brushes until I have a good set. “Spend money” is not the aging lesson I’m trying to convey here – it’s spend money on the right things. On the things that will add value to each and every day.

What are some things that you appreciate about growing into your age?

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Posted on August 23, 2012, in Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I love this list (and the gold rock, what???). I alsoam feeling better about aging. So far, I would take my 20s body back and occasional fancy free days, but every age gets better and better.

    • Good to hear that’s true even with the addition of the kiddo.

      The gold rock was brought into our home by two young girls and I’m guessing the objective of the game they were playing was to get to the best or biggest item in the end just by exchanging for things? Fun times.

  2. Umm.. yes totally. It is not about spending more money, but about really appreciating the quality ? I really need to get some new clothes (most of my stuff is from almost 10 years ago) and it is falling apart in pieces, but I’ve noticed with age, ahem, that if you spend on good quality that will last longer in the end it is truly worth it. Of course this does not apply to everything, but for stuff that you use over and over again it makes a difference.
    I was nodding on the other points you mentioned , like cooking dinner for friends and just being able to be happy even if we are not there yet (what is “there ” anyway? What I’ve noticed is that focusing on the now and taking it one day at a time is the best antidote to getting down and just enjoying life)

  3. Caring less what other people think of me, and appreciating my family more.

  4. For me, the big one is trying to go along with my instincts more. And putting myself first more. Which makes me sound selfish but I really need to.

    Hoping to use these last 13 months of my 20s well.

  5. I love you. You’re the best!

    For me the best part about aging is feeling more and more and more like me. More comfortable in my own skin, that things morph into fitting more and more, that values start to boil down and simplify.

  6. I HEAR YOU, SISTER. Especially on the clothes, dinner parties, and choosing to spend money well fronts. I have a comfortable enough groove going on where I can “afford” to be choosy — not necessary afford in a luxury item sense, but in a “this is what matters to me” sense.

    Hurrah for 30s! Now if I can just stay here forever and not advance any further towards 40, thanks!

    • Thirties do seem like the sweet spot – we’ve reached some level of comfort with ourselves but things haven’t started sagging yet. But I’m sure I’ll find things to love about my 40’s too. (I’m trying to entertain the positive here!)

  7. “you can’t really turn into an age in one day”. I love that thought. I rarely feel comfortable with the new age on my birthday, but sometime in the weeks or months after that date, I suddenly realise I’ve started owning it, that it fits now.

  8. I agree with your list too…all of them. I find it weird that it took me into my 30s to get an actual system/rhythm down for keeping an apartment in order (consistently), but maybe it took living with another person to make that something I felt I wanted to figure out? Or maybe just getting older? And about the clothes: though I rarely spend much money on stuff- though I do sometimes for long-term/important things (shoes, winter gear)- I do think about quality a lot these days. Late in my 20s I realized that cheap shoes that last one season aren’t a savings if quality (more expensive) shoes could last 4 years or more… Anyhow, all that to say, I agree! :)

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