On December 22, I turn 35.
Unlike most people, I enjoy getting older. Just look at Jane Fonda! While some women obsess over looking 21 again, spending thousands of dollars on Botox and anti-aging products, I wouldn’t trade anything to be in my 20s again. Sure, it’s important to moisturize, but why does society glamorize being young?
I’d rather have a few wrinkles than go back to that 20-something soul of mine.
No, I wouldn’t trade years of experience, wisdom, and lessons to go back in time. That girl was so lost and confused. She had yet to discover her worth, her values, or how important it was to be herself. She didn’t realize it was okay to just stay in on the weekend or that being in a relationship wouldn’t complete her. She didn’t know it was okay to simply be her.
As years go by, I feel I better embody the person I was always meant to be: an old soul.
No longer infatuated with nights out, chaos, and what other people are doing with their lives, 35 is a nice age to settle into who you are and what your life will be.
Since moving back to Michigan, my external life is finally reflecting how I have felt for so long on the inside. It’s peaceful, quiet, and full of love. It’s authentic, and it’s meaningful. Although society wraps up the “American Dream” in a mortgage with two kids and a pet dog, mine looks a whole lot like this:
At 35, you realize the joys of simplicity.
One of the best things about turning 35 is that people stop constantly saying things like, “Don’t worry, you’ll meet him someday,” or “You’ll change your mind and decide you want kids!” Yes, these statements are completely stereotypical and old fashioned, but until I hit my early 30s, I still listened.
I thought, maybe I’ll change my mind. Maybe I’ll be happier if I had a boyfriend. Society says so, right?
These are simply toxic messages that trick you into thinking a milestone or another person will make you feel complete.
First, you have to feel complete on your own.
Another great thing about turning 35 is being confident about the choices I have made. After 12 years of post-grad experiences, living in many big cities, and having endless dating stories, I’m certain about what I want — and what I don’t.
At 35, I live by myself with my cat, have an extra bedroom, spend my time writing, and take public transportation, Uber, or walk instead of driving. By New York City standards, this would be considered a luxury. By Michigan standards, I am probably considered unfortunate. Nevertheless, this is me living my best life, and it’s the life I chose.
At 23, I may have had the house, the fiance, and the two-car garage in the suburbs, but I knew that life wasn’t for me. Each night I felt empty inside, drinking wine until I fell asleep to According to Jim. Today I no longer have to explain to anyone why I left and moved to San Francisco, why I bounced from New York to Boston, or what made me decide to get sober. It was my journey to live. Although I’m happy to write about these experiences, it’s not up for discussion or debate with anyone else. And today, I finally know that.
At 35, I know my life is meant for me to live — and no one else.