Triggered by a conversation at a friends birthday a few days back, I started thinking ‘Do we really not feel as old as our parents did when they were our age?’ That obviously had been the topic of a brief conversation… The thoughts are really based on personal experiences but I do believe the learnings are universal…. 30s are indeed the best time of your life today!
From as long as I can remember, I’ve had some issue or the other with the way I look. The various phases included hating my hands (I even tried keeping long nails – yuck in retrospect), hating my wrists for being too thin (I would insist on wearing kurta length sleeves), hating my toes because I thought they were weird and boney, of course my love for my thighs has never known any bounds… I have hated them for as long as I can remember. I’ve also been through a phase of overdoing the kajal thinking it made my eyes look big, wearing dull lipstick so no one would look at my nose etc etc…
I finally came to terms with my face and body in my thirties. Yes, I might have been a bit of a late bloomer, but the day I decided I was too old for lycra etc, my perception of my body changed. In 30s I’ve learnt to dress so I felt good about what I had rather than feeling bad for what I didn’t.
If you’re like me, chances are you started working in your early twenties which means by the time you get to your 30s you’re a decade into your career which with itself brings financial freedom. In my 30s, my lifestyle choices drastically changed – where I eat, where I go, what I buy have all been ‘upgraded’ for the lack of a better word, simply as a consequence of the money I have in hand.
As a woman especially, this financial freedom defines my control over the choices I make for myself and my life. My 30s therefore have been extremely liberating and comparatively stress free.
If you have lesser friends in your 30s, than you did in your 20s consider yourself lucky!
I remember sitting one evening, wanting to make a plan as I was getting bored out of my wits at home… After calling a grand total of five numbers I got a no for one reason or another, I finally called the last number I could think of… ‘Go to sleep!’ she said. Sulking for a bit, I fondly remembered my huge posse when I was younger.
When I was done remembering what a great number it was, I started remembering what a great trouble they had all been. The thing is, as I grew up, I had gone through various stages as everyone does and collected friends of all different shapes, sizes, attitudes and mind frames, I had this one big eclectic mix of people that I called friends… However, as I settled into being the person I am today, good or bad they all became redundant and only those who knew me and still loved me despite everything remained.
They may be fewer but they count for much more.
All my life I thought I knew everything. I was the smartest little kid on the block (read: unnecessarily over smart) I think finally in my 30s being married, having a child… I told myself ‘you don’t know anything’. Your teens are spent trying to prove to the world you know what you’re talking about, in your twenties you’re trying to convince yourself… by the time you hit your thirties you have enough experience to know exactly where you stand.
By now you’ve experienced the best and worst life has to offer… heartbreaks you thought you would never recover from, feeling on top of the world and feeling the pressure of being buried under it all. You’ve had wins and losses, you’ve made a bit of money and lost perhaps even more, you’ve bought shoes a size small in hope they’ll fit you well someday and by now you know that’s not ever happening.
The biggest struggle you’ve possibly had growing up and in the two decades preceding the 30s is trying to figure out who you really are. Stretched thin between who you want to be and what people expect you to be, it’s likely that you’ve had your phases. When I finished school in Kharian, I was the biggest darned fish in that pond… My brief stint following that in Islamabad, I went through a failed ‘trying to be cool’ phase when I dropped the h from Karian and added an extra f at the end of Sadaffe thinking I sounded cooler after all I was Sadaffe from Karian not Sadaf from Kharian… years following that, I tried my hand at being the rebel, the lady, the feminist, the tom boy and more…
30s was realizing I was me and there was nothing else I was going to be. I am all my phases rolled into one, my grammar still sucks whether there is an h in Kharian or not, math still scares me, I cry when I watch emotional crap on TV, I can’t handle suspense and I will kill myself if I sat home doing nothing.
Knowing yourself, and coming to terms with it helps you build on your strength and this knowledge only comes with the years!