BIO: Karen is a 31 year old sex therapist/bartender. Her recent geographical relocation brought her to St. Louis, MO. This change has forced her back into exploration, dating, and self discovery. Karen loves shoes, fashion, good food, wine, and conversation. Most days, she cannot be found unless you catch a glimpse of her hustling between work and running around thanks to her OCD and type A personality. Even though she is single, she is working on happy and remains optimistic that Mr. Right-for-Her just needs to stop and ask for directions
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My 30s: A Celebration of Self
I came across this blog right after I turned 30, and have spent a year attempting to decide what I would want to write and release into cyberspace for an eternity. Reading other people’s contributions made me very aware of what I wanted to say about my own experience turning 30… I wanted to say something meaningful, yet fun. But that’s when it hit me that this is about my own experience. While I could write a book about my life until 30, no one here wants to read that much about me. I will say this… my entire experience around getting to 30 and crossing over can be summed up in one word: TIME.
I think it was around 27, and me finally finishing my Bachelors that I realized that time mattered. No longer could I conceptualize life in infinite terms. Since 25, I feel as though life has been on fast-forward and I was not given a button that would slow things down. Me, myself, I am super OCD and high functioning. It’s a control thing; I accept and like this about myself so we won’t go there now either.
However, time is not slowing down. Now I am 31. My days meld together sometimes where I forget that the beginning of the month was not yesterday, but three weeks ago. I couldn’t tell you Thursday from Sunday once I begin my weekly shifts at my night job. It’s all about my time seeping away and I look around Monday mornings wondering where it all went.
Yet, in striving to be uber high functioning, I discover that I pack my days with so many things. I can accomplish more before I head to the office in the morning that most can in their whole day. I have taken on multiple projects and goals for myself. And this is just my day-to-day operation. There is still the bigger picture. Turning 30 made me appreciate time in a way that I never had before. I
n my obsession to do as much as possible with my life, I have also taken into consideration what I am doing with myself. Approaching 30 and crossing over did make me face that we are not as young and vital and virile as we are at 21 and 25…. I have to carve out time to take care of me, not just for now but for the long haul. I am more aware of my presentation of self to the world. I mean this in a few ways…. I have spent the last ten years honing my love for fashion and a personally classic style that is entirely my own. I have to color my hair every month thanks to the gray that shows through within a week of my latest dye job. I took to using anti-aging products and sunscreen with vigor, but not desperation. And I got to thinking, if I am willing to do all of this for my exterior to remain youthful, what about the rest of me?
So, in my quest for self-preservation and being my best me, I took up working out three years ago. I practice yoga at least once a week. I eat clean mostly; but I do indulge once weekly in something that I love and with great abandon and joy, like tiramisu, cannolis, and Napoleons. I spend time talking with people for the joy of learning about myself and others through those conversations. I spend time alone, without distraction, to be with me. I am finally in a career that makes me happy and feels like home, even if it isn’t completely profitable yet. I made a choice to be childless, rather than subject myself to a questionable future based on others’ ideas for me and women at large. I also made a choice to not settle for a relationship that offers me less than I deserve. If time is so important, how can I possibly spend time wasted in a relationship that is less than rewarding, be it friend or partner.
Similarly, I refuse to spend time in situations I no longer want to be part of, socially or otherwise. I speak my mind, yet respectfully. I do not dance around others’ feelings at the expense of my own. I try to have intention in everything I do and say now. It’s kind of my own version of mindfulness and being present. My brain is too busy otherwise.
I embraced entering my 30s with gusto, and plan to live each year of this decade as a celebration and testament to all that I learned going into it…. Like Carrie Bradshaw said, “Your 20s are for making the mistakes, your 30’s are for learning from them, and your 40’s are for buying the drinks,”… I am learning, genuinely, so that I may buy those drinks and impart some fabulous stories from all the mistakes I was fortunate enough to make. I made plenty, and have thoroughly enjoyed the ride.