Turning 30. My year with a new everything.
No one told me that when I turned 30, I’d receive a new set of eyes. (Just like no one told me that when I turned 24, I’d receive a new stomach. One that refused to be contained below the waistline of my jeans.) Not literally a new set of eyes, of course. But figuratively. This new set has no interest in welcoming me gently into my 30s. It has no interest in helping me adjust to a new decade or a new body. Frankly, it has no interest in placating me at all.
This new set and I? Have not gotten along since day one. Every morning since turning 30, I look in the mirror and see — someone else. Not 20s Robin. Not the Robin who hadn’t thought about weight gain ever in her life (don’t hate). Not the Robin who hadn’t had an issue with how a t-shirt fit over her stomach. Not the Robin who couldn’t care less about the lighter the jeans the more shapely her thighs looked. No. What I see now is a bit shocking. A bit overwhelming. And from the way things have been going, a new normal.
A new normal.
One of the hardest things for me to adjust to, is a new normal. Some new normals, like winning the lottery or an upgraded hotel room, I can deal with rapidly. But a new normal when it comes to dealing with being 30? Tough.
In the beginning, I thought my new eyes were just a passing thing. Something like a bug. My eyes got the flue and once they healed, this fuzzy, blobby image I’d been seeing would transform back into the slimmer, carefree person I’d been. But with every passing day, my eyes never got better. And slowly, it dawned on me.
This is it.
I’m still struggling with this realization. I like looking put together. Dressing myself is a hobby of mine, a creative outlet, so to speak. So when suddenly the image before me changed, I felt like my art was failing. In fact, I felt a bit lost. Which then stirred up other realizations.
Turning 30 was more than a change of eyes. It was a change of career. Change of lifestyle. I got laid off from a job that I enjoyed and felt good at. I was on unemployment. I was on a new budget. I was feeling — lost.
So when my new set of eyes came at 30, it threw me into a whirlwind. Not only was I unemployed and swimming in a sea of uncertainty with finances and creative paths, I was also now staring at a stranger in a mirror. I felt like I was losing a part of me I had known all my life.
This journey, it’s a hard one. An unusual one.
It’s a journey where you’re expected to know things. Know things about yourself, where you’re going, and what your future holds. So different from your journey from your teens to your twenties. Which is all about finding yourself. Doing things that challenge you. Spending your money; being a little stupid. Then, you turn thirty. And the questions come. What do you do? Do you own your home? When will you have a baby? Or two? Or five?
It’s taken several months (I’m almost 33. Several months.), but I’ve adjusted in a way I’m comfortable with–slowly and with support from my husband, family, and friends. Without them, without the encouragement from my husband, the empathy from my mom, and laughter from my friends, I might have lost myself completely in this transformation. Instead, I’m learning to tune out negativity; wear my new eyes confidently; and embrace the new normal.
Today, I’m working as a freelance writer, finishing my third book, and enjoying life at thirty-two with my sweet, supportive husband. Life is different. But good.