In The Agony and the Extasy, the women of Sex and the City ruminate on being single in their 30s. Well, I turned 35 yesterday and thankfully it was much better than turning 25 a decade ago. I’m not single. I’m far more secure in my opinions and choices, I’m in a completely different job and I’ve gained and lost friends.
I’m not quite sure when you’re supposed to feel like a grown up. I’m trying to remember if I felt like a grown up on my 25th birthday. I remember wearing a black dress and going to a nightclub that didn’t survive the recession. I probably wondering if I was ever going to meet Mr. Right. I remember feeling a little frustrated that many of the people I’d been in college a couple of years earlier were doing a lot better than me in the career stakes. I wasn’t in a particularly challenging job and I don’t think I had a huge amount of interest in it.
I remember going home alone, and I remember feeling down about that. I remember wondering why other people seemed to meet love interests with relative ease and I remember wondering if I was going to be like Carrie Bradshaw, wanting to admit I was lonely but still feeling a bit pathetic on my 35th birthday. I remember thinking life was passing me by, in some ways, and I could be doing a lot more with my time.
I probably wouldn’t listen to my older, and somewhat wiser self, but I’d tell myself to calm down and stop worrying so much. This is advice I could probably give my 45 year old self too, in fairness, in ten years’ time. I’d tell 25 year old me to stop stressing over the choices other people make-some of them make moderately good choices, others have veered widely off course and no one is as happy as you seem to think they are, all the time anyway.
I’d tell myself to be a little more ruthless when necessary and little kinder when you know it’s the better choice. I’d tell myself to enjoy eating whatever you like, because you won’t be able to do that forever. I’d tell myself to listen to the Sunscreen song, and heed the lines about friendships a little more. I’d tell myself that things will work out just fine, and while your definition of ‘fine’ might change, you’ll know that it is fine when you find what it is you weren’t sure you were looking for.