I knew everything was going to change when I turned thirty and got married in two consecutive days. But I figured there was no reason to space out these major life events. Bring it on, I told myself. Let’s see what the future holds.
Then nothing changed. My husband and I had been together for a year and a half, and we had moved into a new apartment in the months preceding our wedding. I had already phased out my dah of guys and adjusted to a warm and easy routine of contented coupledom. I’d also gone through a ‘process of strategic career adjustment’ (as I deemed it) and was finally embedded in a creative day-to-day of reading about medieval art and philosophy, attempting to write plays, screenplays and novels, and playing music on my piano, flute and guitar.
My world had changed without my noticing it. I realized, with some shock, that I had changed as well.
What had happened to the flitting, pugnacious, amorous and shameless twenty-something lady I had been? How had she disappeared, fading away even from my mind, absolutely, and without saying goodbye?
I became introspective. I had changed, but how and into what? Who had I become?
My favorite English teacher had always said, “people don’t change, they just become more themselves.” I felt this observation to be true. I had evolved, or returned, to a more authentic version of myself. But I was caught pondering: How did the disparate decades of my life cohere? What the heck had I been doing then and what the hell was I doing now?
Read the rest at 40:20 Vision, where a celebration of ‘thirty-somethings’ is underway!
photo credit: Aisha Singleton Photography
All the decisions you make will lead you to this point. That sounds terrifying, but it’s actually not. You may be sitting around, thinking everyone around you is making better decisions that will lead them to better lives, or maybe they’re already off living these great lives, but if you look around, you probably are too.
Take, for example, my friend Courtney. In our early 20′s, after graduating college, most of our friends moved to Manhattan, myself included. We were cramming ourselves into small spaces with too many roommates and paying too much in rent. But Courtney stayed on Long Island and put herself through grad school so she could become a teacher. She wanted a steady, stable job that had a distinct career trajectory, good benefits and good hours so that one day she would be able to start her own family. She always wondered if maybe she was missing out on something by not living in the city since that’s what all her friends were doing.
I, on the other hand, was wondering if Courtney had it right. While I was working tirelessly and being grossly underpaid, she was able to live in a spacious studio apartment by herself for years, her teacher salary (and tutoring on the side) afforded her a flexible income, and in 2011, was able to put down a down payment on her very own home. That same year, I was still living paycheck to paycheck in the same apartment I had been in for the past five years, cramming in with those same roommates and at the same job.
“What I Know Now” is created by Chrisina Vuleta, the founder of the excellent website 40:20Vision.com, where forty somethings share all the things “they wish they’d known then” with 20-somethings. May we all grow happily older AND wiser.
The other week I shared a story here about the importance of not losing yourself in a relationship. “Stay true to yourself” is a healthy relationship truism – but sometimes it’s hard to do in real life. What is the line between being true to “you” and being in a true partnership? After all, there is a natural desire to please the one that we love.
But we have to separate pleasing another with knowing our own boundaries. It’s one thing to support your partner’s dreams and to understand their weaknesses…it’s another for their weaknesses to chip away at our own strengths. 40-something women agree, if you twist yourself into a pretzel – bending to his needs and interests over yours – it can only end with a loss of respect on both sides. So how do you avoid getting the bends? It all starts with building a healthy mindset around dating …and not falling prey to the self-doubt traps. These five women shared with me what they learned about building a strong self of self while dating in their twenties.
“What I Know Now” is created by Chrisina Vuleta, the founder of the excellent website 40:20Vision.com, where forty somethings share all things “they wish they’d known then” with 20-somethings. May we all grow happily older AND wiser.
This 40-something woman moved from a small, conservative hometown in the South to New York City in pursuit of the “Friends” and “Sex and the City” lifestyle. After quickly realizing that TV land’s Manhattan was far from reality, she put her nose to the grindstone and found success in the financial services industry. She survived 9 / 11 but not without an emotional breakdown that caused her to reflect on what she wanted in life. She then married her long-time boyfriend, moved out of the city and became a mom. At forty, she found herself living in the ‘burbs and asking herself…is this it? This is what she wishes she knew in her twenties:
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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