Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I like to think of each year of my life as a chapter. Something about “year” implies finality. There’s a start date, and 365 days later, there’s an end date. That year is over, never to be had again. However, the arrival of a new year isn’t a complete clean slate where the year or years preceding it vanish entirely.
On my last post I wrote about the 30 lessons I learned at 30, as well we the ones I learned over the course of being alive (so far!) Chapter 30 was transformative, starting out on a somber note and then ending on a better, more resolved and re-centered one. Part of that I attribute to attending grief counseling in late spring/early summer. While I was there to deal with the mourning and develop some better coping tools, I found myself thinking back to some past traumas from childhood.
Grandpa was my bonded father figure and virtually raised me after my folks divorced and my biological father decided being a parent wasn’t his style, which is the root of the childhood traumas. This lead me to discovering therapists on YouTube that specialize in inner child work. Listening to them helped me pinpoint some “problems with no name” I’ve been carrying within me that were resurrected after Grandpa passed away. Death and parental abandonment are two different things, yet in a way, the grief involved with both losses are one in the same. The depression that came from mourning Grandpa forced me to look at the way I was reacting to stress and change, and I realized some areas where I had been needing help for a while. I’m so relieved to say that the final, unnamed piece that had been plaguing me is finally being managed so the present and future don’t have to pay the price.
For anyone interested or dealing with a similar battle as I was, the YouTube channels are Anna Runkle of the Crappy Childhood Fairy and Patrick Teahan, LISW. They’re goldmines of knowledge, as well as great tools to guide towards breaking generational curses and living a better life than how you started.
Additionally, Chapter 30 was the part where I had to learn to let go of the timeline I was holding myself to. Let’s be real here – I’m a woman. There’s a good chance at least one of you reading this is a woman as well. There was a study not too long ago where the participated stated they felt 29 was a good age for a woman to get engaged, get married or have her first child (hopefully not all within the same year.) So if 29 is the magical golden number, 30 is treated like a warning siren and anything beyond it that starts with a 3 is a Code red fire alarm.
We’ve all heard it before – “You’re 30. Your fertility starts to drop at 30. You really shouldn’t be having a baby after 35, so you need to get on it if you want those 2.3 kids. Wait, you’re not married? Why not? What’s he waiting for? You need to start dropping hints. Wait, you don’t even have a man? Hurry up – you’re not getting any younger. You need to stop being picky. Don’t you know as soon as you hit 30 you’re going to turn into the narrator from Tales from the Crypt? You’re going to hit the wall soon. You’ve already hit the wall, and men like younger women, so you’re going to lose out to a 20-something with a longer fertility window. You might as well go home, adopt a bunch of cats and cry yourself to sleep every night until the day you die. There’s no other option for you.”
Ok, so that entire speech above isn’t verbatim what anyone has said to me, but we’ve all known one person in real life or stumbled down some bunny hole online that either heavily insinuated or plainly stated at least one of those thing above.
What’s most interesting to me about the “hurry up, settle down and get pregnant ASAP” pressure and those who apply it is no one really seems to ask themselves if the single childless women even have any business getting married or making brand new humans in the first place. We all have met one couple that made us wonder why they were staying, and I’d be willing to bet most of us have encountered someone with kids who should never had them – and then feel terrible for those poor kids. I’m starting to digress, so back on topic we go.
Throughout my 20s I figured I would at least be married by 30, with plans to try for a child at 31 and have them at 32 or 33. Well here I am at 31, happily spinstered with a cat. There’s definitely no baby on the horizon. Neither is there a husband. I’m glad I no longer subscribe to this belief about my age and worth being intertwined – or put pressure on myself to stick to a timeline for major life events “or else.” Chapter 30 was a deconstruction time alongside grieving and healing. The beauty of deconstruction is that you can rebuild on a better, more solid foundation.
Reader-friends, I am coming into Chapter 31 feeling so peaceful and at the same time focused and powerful like I haven’t felt before.
I’ve forgiven all the parts of myself I used to battle from a place of insecurity. I haven’t got a single damn to give about what anyone else is up to, nor do I have the time to play the comparison trap. It’s easier for me to dump habits that aren’t benefitting me now or where I want to go. I’m 100 percent committed to an abundance mindset, and know that as long as I’m alive, I can get through the heavy challenges of life.
In Chapter 31, I’m ready to take on the world. I’m ready to take chances at work and take it from being a job to a career. I kinda like the idea of climbing the corporate ladder and networking, now that I’ve decided I’m only doing it for me and not because someone else is nagging me to, or because I feel like I have to keep up with the Joneses.
I’m looking ahead to fundraisers and social events I want to attend for future fundraising goals, to get my face out there and also support some great causes. Now that the pandemic is over and in-person races have been back, I’m jumping back into volunteering at local races. I love running them, but these races wouldn’t exist without the support of volunteers. You have to get down, put on some rain boots so you don’t get drenched in energy drink and get your hands a little dirty to keep nice things going. Thankfully, my mama didn’t raise me to be afraid of a little sweat and grime.
At the same time, 31 is also going to be a chapter of really nurturing myself. I’ve been taking inventory of my checking and savings accounts, and came to the realization that over this past year, I fell into a habit of fast food and buying cheap stuff for the endorphin hit that never came. I’m tired of wasting money on mediocre things and food. So going into my new chapter, it’s time I start being strategic about my budget and treating myself to some little luxuries along the way. Who says I have to charm a guy into asking me out, when I could make a nice steak dinner on my own? Who says I can’t invest in my hair and face, as well as the gym and in training? There’s a few out of state half marathons I’ve got on my list next spring. I’m not turning down a road trip and a new experience for anything (well okay, the exception being a family emergency.)
So Reader-Friends, in Chapter 31, Allison is investing in the woman she always knew she was and vowed she’d become to be.
Time for the glow-up.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead.