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Caramel & Cocoa - cooking, parenting, fashion, diy, eating, living, a blog

Sunday, August 7, 2016

On Being 30 (ok 35)

I am no longer a “spring chicken.” More importantly, I don’t really mind. This is monumental since on the eve of my 30th birthday, five years ago, I, for lack of a better term, “freaked the (f-expletive) out.” I hadn’t accomplished “enough”; I didn’t have “sufficient” children; I didn’t earn “enough” money; I wasn’t the “right” dress size; I hadn’t published “that” book and my house wasn’t the “perfect” dream home. In summary, I just wasn’t where my 20 year-old-self had envisaged my 30 year-old-self being.

Fast-forward five years and other than adding another child into the mix, wearing a lot less make-up and getting rid of my colored contact lenses, I am more or less in the same position. The only exception is that I am far happier, confident and fulfilled with my life. What changed? My perspective. I started questioning my behavior and asking if my actions really made me happier.

The result: I realized that having to wear colored contact lenses (for me) was not experimental or fun, but some sort of attempt to enhance my appearance because at some level my appearance was not good enough. I realized that I worried more about the number on the scale and my BMI than whether or not I was actually fit and healthy. I realized that I actually believed that ‘young’ women were better mothers. I thought that only the “young” could accomplish literary success. I realized that I was trying to live my life subject to a set of rules and norms that were unimportant and detached from the person I was, I am. I cannot even tell you where these rules and norms came from.

Somewhere in the last five years, I stopped measuring my success based on a scale constructed by outside perception. I stopped wearing make-up. I stopped taking angled selfies by the dozen, face caked with make-up and mouth puckered. I reduced my spending completely. I shifted my focus from objects to experiences. I started cherishing every tantrum and fit that my children had understanding that their childhood was fleeting. I accepted my after-baby weight as a trophy of child-bearing and breastfeeding, a time that would one day be “all over.” Somewhere in the last five years I started being honest with myself when asking “How does this make you feel?” I stopped with the rules and just started living.  I am far happier as a result. I am true only to myself and it matters very little whether or not that same truth matters to anyone else. They are not me and I am not them, or you, or him, or her.

I was recently at a restaurant in La Jolla with my two daughters. The table next to us was group of attractive mid-20 something women. My daughters were both eaves-dropping and fascinated by the conversation of these young women who had no sense of volume voice control. One the women was unsure if she should continue to smudge her eyeliner or not on a day-to-day basis and it was more or less a source of anxiety for her. She. Just. Wasn’t. Sure. I wondered whether she really meant what she was saying. More importantly, I reflected on how far I had come in five years. As far as I am concerned. I have made it. I am happy and fulfilled being as imperfect as I am. How perfect is that. 

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