Monday, January 28, 2013

On Turning 30

It sucks and I'm freaking out about it.

There, I said it.

I really wish that I didn't feel that way, but I do.

I really wish that I could be all, Yeah! 30 is the new, like, awesome something-or-other, and I feel great about life, and I am so excited for this new decade that's gonna be the best yet, and I'm so comfortable in my own skin, and I am so much more me now, and I am sure that I have nothing but great happiness and wild success just around the corner, now that I'm 30, and blah, blah, blah blah blah.

But, I don't feel like that.  At all.

I actually think stuff that sounds like that is really effing annoying.  I also think people who say stuff that sounds like that are usually full of sh*t.

On the other hand, I find people who constantly complain about being so (fill in the blank here - old, poor, single, tired, stupid, fat, unlucky, whatever) to be just about equally as undesirable to be around for any time at all.  And, as much as I realllly dont want to be one of those people I despise so much for their obnoxious and whiny woe-is-me attitudes, I am ashamed to admit that I have been one of them, more and more often lately.  I have probably thrown a personal pity-party for every single one of the above reasons in the last week alone.  It is totally gross.  And absolutely, horrifyingly embarrassing to admit.

But, because one of my little personal challenges - and, actually, one of my new year's resolutions this year* - is to be less sarcastic and more sincere (which I think encompasses honesty and transparency and authenticity, including in what I share here), I am just going to come right out and own it.

I am not super excited about turning 30.

Which, honestly, feels really sad for me.  But it's the truth, so there you have it.  And it has so much less to do with 30 as an age or a stupid number or some sort of milestone, and it has so much more to do with just where I am in my life.

I am definitely not speaking for all people about to turn 30, or all women about to turn 30, or all women in medical school, or all single women, or med students, or people who own dogs, or people who have a thing about loading the dishwasher a certain way, or whatever.  I am only speaking for me.  It's not really about 30, and I do realize that it sounds stupid and silly and dramatic.  This is just what I am thinking and how I am feeling, right at this point in time.  

Life in medical school is equally awesome and sucky on most days.  I can literally go from "This is the greatest thing ever!" to "I hate my life, what was I thinking" in the span of an hour.  I can often think the same subject matter is either fascinating or coma-inducing, depending on my mood and how much caffeine I have recently had.  

I have probably eaten cereal for about two-thirds of my meals this week (I eat real lunches at work because it would be too embarrassing to bring cereal.  Otherwise 100% of my meals would probably have been cereal.)  I have also eaten ice cream for more than two dinners in less than two weeks, and tonight I had cereal and cookie dough.  Old, leftover, frozen cookie dough from back in December when I was making Christmas cookies.

I am so lonely it sometimes physically hurts.  It is all utterly exhausting.  

I often wish that I didn't want kids, or couldn't care less about having a family, or thought that marriage was a crock.  It would make this all so much easier.  But I LOVE my family.  They are the most important thing in the world to me, and I count them as my biggest blessing.  I miss them all the time.  Being single is really tough at this juncture in life - I want to fall in love and have a life partner and have babies and raise a family of my own.  I want my own home and my own little kiddos running around and I want to come home to someone I love and someone who loves me.  

I have hoped and wished and prayed for these things to come into my life.  When they haven't, I have hoped and wished and prayed to stop wanting these things.  I have bargained, pleaded, cried.  Almost without exception, it nearly always feels like anything must be better than living in this limbo, this simultaneous state of deep longing and total uncertainty.  

This, more than any other factor, makes me feel most miserable.  I have never before in my life seriously questioned whether any of those things would eventually happen.  But, you know what?  It is not guaranteed.  Not even close.  And just because I want those things with every cell in my body does not mean that I will get them.  I know plenty of people who have wanted those things and not gotten them.  Really nice people, too.  Just because you're a nice person does not mean that good things will happen to you.  Life can be shitty that way.  

God, this must sound so pitiful.  But honestly?  This is where my head is.  This is where I have been, with a few various interludes and reprieves, for months and months now.  

Some days, the best solution I can come up with is to purposefully ignore these feelings rather than address them.  Some days are really good, and I don't have to do that - I just feel happy and content and not anxious.  Some days I feel despair.  Some days I will myself to feel hopeful and optimistic.  Some days I actually do feel that way, no self-coercion involved.  

I am ok, I really am.  Things are not awful, they're just not awesome.  

Anyway, I guess the point in my writing about all of this is just simply to be honest.  One of the things that I have learned over these 30 years, that I feel pretty confident that I can trust to be true, is that if I feel a certain way, I am probably not going to be the only one.  I have often been encouraged by others' stories.  I have been surprised by their vulnerability, surprised by how open and honest they have been in what they've shared.  I have identified with their stories and felt relief that someone else said it out loud.  And that made things feel a little more ok, made me feel a little less alone.  So maybe there is someone out there in the world who is reading this and thinking, Hey!  I'm turning 30 and I think it sucks but I don't want to say it because I don't want people to think I'm a loser if I admit that, and I really don't want to be that woman-turning-30-and-freaking-out-about-it cliche, but damnit, I kind of am! ... well, if it helps at all to know, there are at least two of us.  :)

*My other resolution this year was to shampoo my hair less.  Having great success with that one so far!


  1. Love you sister. I'm proud of you! (Mostly for shampooing your hair less...oh yeah, and I guess for pursuing your dreams and being vulnerable and real and doing med school and that sort of stuff, too ;))

  2. Here's what I'll say: I know how you feel. I will also say that in your thirties, I assure you, you will be less broke than you were in your twenties. And lastly, I felt all of those things and know that I am a living testimony that your needle-in-the-haystack life's partner is equally as anxious to find you. I was single with zero prospects when I moved to Atlanta in 2001.

    And guess how old I was then? 30.

    Know that you just have to trust the process. I am learning that more than ever.

  3. I feel your pain :)
    The exhaustion, the physical hurt, the sometimes desperation - and the anger at myself and the sense that I have GOT TO KNOCK THIS OFF...but the inability to do so.

    I love my family. My parent's marriage makes me smile. I turn 30 this year and I am hopeful, but a bit scared as well that it won't happen...


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