Being an adult f**king sucks sometimes.
Sure, you can eat ice cream for dinner and stay up late, but can you really? Staying up late in your 20’s usually meant you were doing something totally AWESOME and insta-worthy (to add some depressing context and remind us just how old we are, Instagram didn’t even exist until I was 28).
Now, staying up past – let’s be honest – 9pm, means that I’ll be too tired go to the gym the next morning (*shudder*) and my entire next day will consist of yelling at everyone, mainlining espresso and cursing myself for binge-ing Game of Thrones the night before.(That actually sounds a lot like me even when I have had a good night’s sleep, but I digress…)
That’s right, folks, everything comes full circle – in your 30’s you will once again have a bedtime and if you stay up past it, then you will be cranky the next day and probably require a nap to function (Not that napping is necessarily a bad thing).
Sadly, getting enough sleep is just the least of our problems once we hit the dreaded 3-0. We’re also expected to maintain healthy relationships, raise families, buy a home, take care of our bodies (and our skin, which is showing the first horrifying signs of wrinkles), build successful careers and generally be productive members of society. The pressure can be crippling, especially when we still don’t feel like “grownups” yet (or in my case, when I refuse to believe that I am a grownup).
We see it every day on social media, the things that you’re supposed to do when you’re a thirty year old woman – engagements, weddings, pregnancies, first homes, newborns – but I can’t help but feel like I’m just not ready yet. I still want to travel the world, pay off my crippling student loans, switch careers or start a new business, go back to school, stay up drinking wine and chatting with my girlfriends (and eat pizza in bed the next day while nursing a massive hangover).
The problem isn’t that everyone else is doing it and we’re not (although I admittedly suffer from major FOMO when I see pictures of weddings and adorable babies), but rather the problem is that society expects us to be doing it too. When the last of my single girlfriends got engaged, she started balling at her engagement party (this was after about 4 glasses of champagne, but still…) and told me how bad she felt that “it” hadn’t happened for me yet.
But what the hell is IT?
Had she ever considered that “it” might mean something totally different for me than it does for her? Maybe for me, “it” doesn’t mean getting married right now, but rather “it” was passing the bar or travelling the world or meeting the man of my dreams and not marrying him (*gasp!*).
I want to quickly address the fact that some say that these feelings are all merely a symptom of being a millennial. Yes, I was born in 1982, literally in the first year of the millennial generation, so I am barely a millennial.
I didn’t grow up with the internet. Our family had a dial-up connection until I graduated college…in 2005. I didn’t have a smart phone until I was 27. Facebook existed, but back then it was called The Facebook, and it was strictly for college students (remember that?). And I definitely do not have the fabled millennium sense of entitlement. I have worked since I was 14 years old (remind me to tell you about my first job as a giant Hawaiian-shirt-wearing rabbit who danced the hokey pokey on roller skates every weekend for $4 an hour). Admittedly, I did move home after both college and law school, but L.A. is expensive as f**k, so I think I should get a pass on that one.
My point is that this is not a millennial problem. It’s a thirty-year-old problem.
Anyway, I started writing this because I know that there are other women like me who, in their 30’s (or at any age, really), are still trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. Women who have it all together, but still feel like they have no idea what they are doing (and that’s OK). Women who are trying to decide whether to get married, stay married, have babies, not have babies, get a new job, a new career, buy a house, sell a house, stay with their boyfriend, take that trip, the list goes on and on.
So to all of you smart, strong, amazing women, let’s open a bottle of wine (or 10) and figure “it” all out (or not figure it out) together.
What does IT mean for you?