30 Sucks. An Apology.
Rushed post. No pics, because I’m moving in 2 days!
When I was 13, I made a vow that I would never swear.
At 20, I am certain sailors would call me just a bit over the top.
When I was 14, I swore I would never become one of those women obsessed with her looks, that I would be completely happy with who I was no matter what my shape or size.
At 22 I would be crying to the heavens wondering why I could not be gifted a waif-like body that all the men seemed to crave.
And between the ages of 25 and 28, I was completely content at where I was in life. And I was certain that I would never be one of those stereotypical 30 year olds who freak out that they have accomplished nothing in life.
Then I turned 30. And proceeded to go crazy.
Turning 30 sucks. It’s like a crazy switch is activated in your head. I don’t think it matters where you are in life. If you’re married, you wonder if you wasted your 20’s. If you went back to school, you wonder if you’ve made too many errors and whether it’s too late to correct them.
If you’re like me, single, not exactly rich, still trying to figure out what sort of path you’re walking, suddenly it seems as if you haven’t accomplished anything. And then you go crazy trying to accomplish all of life’s tasks in one year. You know, before you’re 31.
In my 20’s, I was confident. Oh, not 100% confident, but far more confident than I had been as a teen, and far more comfortable with myself than I had ever been. I had learned a lot about myself. I had learned to take things in stride, that it was okay that I wasn’t perfect, that imperfections were far more interesting than perfections and that I could use those imperfections to my advantage. And I was happy with myself.
But then 30 came along and ten years of hard work was sucked into the black hole of insecurity.
There were other things that happened, of course. I broke up with a boyfriend. I realized that acting, that thing I had been pursuing my entire life, perhaps wasn’t for me after all. But mostly I can trace back that crazy trigger to a few days after the big 3-0.
I began to question my accomplishments. I began to wonder what was wrong with me and why I wasn’t further in life. I doubted each and every friendship around me. I feared that everyone around me secretly hated me, that I was no longer interesting enough to be their friends, that they were only doing so out of habit.
Then I started to doubt my own talents. I thought I had nothing to offer. I lamented that I wasn’t better at activities. 20’s Manda would have sucked it up, maybe taken some lessons, tried things out, joked about the inevitable failure afterwards. 30’s Manda simply spiralled into despair and hopelessness that nothing she did was valuable.
I complained to friends. I vented. I ranted. Once or twice I even cried. I was bitter that I was not better than who I was, that so many around me had found their niche, that it was far too late for someone like me: chubby, single, with only an ability to time a good joke and maybe the logic skills to solve an adventure game.
In short, I was the most stereotypical 30 year old ever.
And then two months ago I realized I really missed 20’s Manda. And that I was extremely ashamed of 30’s Manda. I saw myself through other eyes: whiny, petulant, entitled. Everything I had promised myself I would never be.
I don’t write this to get sympathy. Far from it. I also don’t write it as an excuse for my behaviour.
I write this because even though I’ve mostly sorted myself out, even though I feel far better and far more like my “old” self, I know that many of my family and friends had to suffer through my whining for 7 months. Perhaps even longer, who knows.
And I know that there was probably some damage done in that process, damage that is even more difficult to repair than my own belief in myself. Patience became thin, reassurance dwindled, and worst of all, trust was lost. And I had been positive that it was because I wasn’t worthy rather than “You’re being a whiny brat. Shut-up”.
And so this is both a thankyou and an apology. Thanks to everyone for putting up with my very ridiculous insanity and anxiety. And apologies for any negative effect that had on you. It’s a shame that I am living with every day. And it takes every ounce of my being not to apologize profusely to my closest friends ten times per day.
Am I still shy? Yup. Does my confidence waver? Of course it does. But I’m really glad to be looking at the future and at myself with far more optimism and hope.
I’m also glad I never got to the stage of writing bad poetry. That might have marked my demise.
Thanks again guys. I’m looking forward to having fun again.