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Following a New Path After 30
At the age of 32, I’ve always assumed its common for me have mixed feelings about where I’m supposed to be in my life. I have often felt young enough to still be in the discovery stage when I’m willing to try new things and see where new experiences take me. I have tried new diets and exercise regimens, dyed my hair radical colors, gotten new tattoos and refused to take out the nose ring I got when I was 20. I have traveled to new places with my husband and questioned whether or not having children is really right for me, despite the fact that many 32 year olds would think it’s about time to make that decision. I have always held to the notion that I still have time to figure it all out, in almost every aspect of my life, except whenever it applied to my career.
I know from my own personal experience that it is far too easy for a 30 something year old woman to convince herself that to have a decent job, with decent pay, at a decent company that provides decent benefits is so lucky, in this day and age, that she should stay put rather than continue to chase a dream that she didn’t capture in her 20s. When I was in my early 20s I wanted to be the next female Richard Matheson or a columnist for an esteemed fashion magazine. Horror and fashion are admittedly pretty scattered, but so are the dreams of a 22 year old girl. Regrettably, college didn’t pan out and before I knew it I was working the decent job at that decent company for almost 10 years.
Some could say I gave up on my dreams of becoming a writer when I decided to work in an office, but they would be wrong. Indeed, I was not at home living the life of a starved artist working away at the next great best-selling novel, but I did at least stay true to my passion by listing ‘writing’ on my resume as an interest and hobby; and my employer took notice. Every now and then I would be given writing or editing assignments as side work and I was always happy to oblige. In time I became a trusted on-site resource for occasional help in those regards and that eventually paid off.
When a new position opened up for a writer and content manager in the digital marketing department at my company, I was given a shot at it. It was absolutely terrifying to try my hand at something new and fear that I wasn’t qualified or even smart or talented enough to fulfill the position almost discouraged me, but ultimately I knew that this was an opportunity not to be missed staring me right in the face. I chose to see my fear as a personal demon sitting on my shoulder, ignoring it, and rise to the new challenge as best I could. Consequently, I couldn’t have been happier with my decision, because it proved to be an incredible opportunity leading to my discovering a new creative outlet and a way to reclaim the dream of writing that I had never fully given up on – blogging. With my new position came the opportunity to develop, create, and write my own blogs.
My first blog was Terror Trove, a site dedicated to horror movies, television and literature. Here I got to write about the fiction genre that I have loved since I was able to read and watch television. I took the works that inspired me to “put pen to paper”, or more appropriately, put fingers to the keyboard, and created a place for them. My second blog was the Gorgeous Mistake, where I could focus on another one of my great loves – fashion. On this blog I could finally put years of knowledge acquired from devouring countless fashion magazines and make an honest attempt at giving sound style advice while blending humor and popular culture savvy. Both projects have been fulfilling realizations of what I once wanted most in life.
It’s only been a few short months since discovering my newfound passion for blogging, but it has made me realize that it’s never too late, especially in my 30s, to follow a new path, discover more fulfilling work and learn new things. As a writer I have learned that any craft is a muscle that needs to be exercised and improvement comes with practice. It also comes with learning to accept positive criticism. I don’t claim to be a regular Hemingway and I’m willing to let my colleagues help me realize my writing’s potential. Perhaps that is an ability I may not have had in my 20s.
I could easily have passed on an opportunity that frightened me and continued on with that decent job, but I am truly delighted that I didn’t. Instead I chose to honor the 22 year old girl who stayed true to herself and walk through the door that she left open for me, 10 years ago. The new path is one that this 32 year old newly-minted blogger is happily traveling, and I can’t wait to see where it leads.
Margo Smith writes for TerrorTrove.com, a blog dedicated to examining all horror related literature, movies and television, and TheGorgeousMistake.com , a light-hearted blog where you can find style tips and fashion related anecdotes.