Another woman turning 30 and talking about it! Welcome.
1985 was a weird year, fraught with floral prints, the uni-bomber, and the first Back To The Future movie. It was also the year my mother tried to give birth to her first child the old-fashioned way– no drugs, plenty of ice chips, and my dad smoking a cigar in the lobby. Unfortunately for her, I was upside down and it was an emergency c-section that brought me into the world. Thanks modern medicine! I’m so glad I could be born into a place that would eventually air 304853 episodes of The Voice in a one month span.
Birthdays are confusing because they are either called IMPORTANT or POINTLESS, two very different adjectives. Each year I think, what will I choose? No one wants to be the girl who cares too much about her birthday, but also I just lived three whole decades without killing anyone or cutting my own bangs. Doesn’t that count for something?
This year I decided to celebrate. On Friday night a few friends and I stayed in the city for a hotel sleepover. It was very “on fleek;” drinks, dancing, carbs, finally learning what “on fleek” means. We stayed out until nearly 3am, an enormous feat for a bunch of moms used to passing out at 10pm. The next night Austin and I drove to our favorite little spot for Indian food and a show at the local theater (The Producers). It was all very wonderful and perfect, but I admit I’m still exhausted and experiencing mild leg cramps three days later.
Basically I spent the last weekend of my twenties being reminded that I am no longer twenty.
I’ve learned a lot over the past thirty years. For example, walking! How to eat solid foods. How to eventually hide solid foods you don’t like in the trash can. Multiplication tables. Tampons. How to get out of taking Chemistry. How to get out of pretty much anything. Voice projection. Stage directions. How to maintain the “good girl” image but still make-out with your boyfriend during Yearbook. College dorms. The complexities of the AIM away message. Beer pong. Grammar diagrams. How to cry in front of your professor during finals week. Electric bills. Car maintenance. How to procure jobs for which you are vastly under-qualified.
The rest is still a work in progress.
I have had a few moments of clarity recently, especially on the topic of having it all. I don’t know if it’s the birthday milestone or constantly discussing another baby–but I’m getting a little weary of the idea that we can’t have it all. That because we are women, we have less choice over what our lives look like. Because here’s the thing, of course we can have it all. You just can’t have it all at the same time. That’s how life works. There is no such thing as perfect work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for upsets the delicate symmetry of our day to day being; babies, career, marriage, friendship–they are all so hard and inconvenient, but all worth it in the end.
For the past decade I’ve tiptoed around the lie that I cannot be both writer and mother. That I have to choose between the two, or everyone suffers. The truth is we can be as many or as few things as we want to be. Wife, mother, writer, helper, friend, artist, shop owner, acrobat, singer, restaurant hostess, teacher, lawyer, wanderer, 30-year-old mom shaking it to Beyonce at a dance club.
The question shouldn’t be, “Will this make life harder?” but “Will this make life richer?”
We belong to each other, but we also belong to ourselves. We are in charge of what happens next.
All we get is this one life. One chance to be 19, 27, 32, 47, 68.
What else is there to do but go all in?
Let’s do this.