34 (Part I)

I’m in it for the long haul.

And I remember the last six months before I turned 30. I spent almost every day in a state of pure anxiety, somewhere between leaving my childhood and becoming an adult, not sure how to handle this impending new decade that was fast approaching. Truth be told, while there were some highlights, I never felt like I got the full experience of being in my twenties, of being young and dumb and trying to figure things out. Now, time was running out, and while I could block out the noise during the day, the nights were savage. I couldn’t help but fight off thoughts of aging and mortality, and 30 just seemed like such a significant landmark of an age that I wasn’t ready for. I don’t know what I expected to happen, I just know that in my head, it was something way too large to deal with. The reality was much quieter. I even had a small party the night before. It was thrown by my loving mother, and I was surrounded by family and friends. I wish the same thing could happen this year.

As I write this, I’ve just turned age 34. I’m thankful that there’s a lot less fanfare this time around. I don’t even mind it, even as I approach my mid-thirties, as 40 looms in the distance, just six short years away. I feel like I’ll be better equipped to handle that transition, but it can wait. I’ve got some living to do in the time between now and then, and I find myself actually excited to say goodbye to age 33.

It’s around this time every year that I start to reflect back on the year that was. I think about the positives, the negatives, the challenges, and I try to leave the things behind me that are no longer making sense. I perform this self audit, all while realizing that for me, a lot of stuff continues to come up. It will be 10 years this year since my dad passed. It was around this time two years ago that my decline in mental health began, something that upended my entire life. All the while, I realize that everyone in my life is getting older, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. There’s something so humbling about realizing that the people who have been with you your entire life, that they can’t be with you forever.

When I left my twenties, I wanted things to be better. I didn’t actually think my thirties could get any worse. My cousin told me that her thirties were the best decade of her life, and I secretly hoped for a linear trajectory in a positive direction. The reality has been much bumpier. At age 31, I had the best year of my life. At 32, for the first half of that year, everything came crashing down, and I clung to sanity, which is something I’ll explore in a later post. I spent the latter half of that year recovering, and then the pandemic hit. Truth be told, I’m still very much recovering, and the pandemic, sadly, rages on. 33 had its ups and downs. It featured my first relationship in almost a senate term, a relationship that started out strongly, and then ended in a way that still leaves me frustrated. It’s not that I’m still holding on or that I have hope that things will rekindle. We haven’t spoken in months, and I don’t intend to break the silence. What bothers me is that I didn’t like who I was in that relationship, and I hope to be better for the next one, whenever that may be.

I don’t know what age 34 will hold, but I’m excited about the year that approaches, and I’m oddly at peace with the summer that is ending. In a lot of ways, I’m turning the page. I’m turning the page on a relationship that ended back in May, and the summer that was inspired by it. I’m turning the page on traveling for now, as there are other parts of my life that are calling for my attention, and I’m excited to address them, to move in a new direction. I won’t lie to you, it’s daunting. It feels like this year will be full of new things, things I haven’t done before, and while there is comfort in knowing that I’m moving more towards my purpose in life, I also know that at this point, I am charting my own course. While I know I can count on the support of those around me, I know that this path that I walk, that I must walk it alone, at least for now. I feel alone, but I know that I’m not alone. I have wonderful people in my life, and it seems like my blog is making a comeback. I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am that I’m writing again. I look forward to sharing my journey with y’all.

I’m putting a pin in traveling for now, and I believe that also means that I’ll put a pin in dating. It’s been a fun summer, and I met plenty of new and interesting people, but the grind of dating apps, of introducing myself and telling my story, it’s all getting to me and wearing me down. I don’t want to date if I’m not bringing my best self to the table. I don’t want to date when I’m feeling so ambivalent. Somewhere in there is the realization that even though I’ve dated some wonderful people, I’ve realized that this process of finding a soulmate might take much longer than I expected. I’m okay with that, but I need a pit stop before I continue the journey. It’s time to take some time for myself.

My fall, the first part of 34, will be spent figuring out what is next for me. I plan on more quiet nights in spent writing, and discovering what it is that I want out of life. My goals are general, to preserve and improve upon my mental health, and to be happy. That’s it. However those things happen, I’m totally leaving that up to the universe. I’m leaving the story open to be written. I have no real agenda. At age 23, I realized the fallacy of trying to plot out my life. I knew then that I was drifting off of the course that I’d set, and my life ever since then has been realizing that you can’t control or predict what happens. I couldn’t predict my father’s illness. I never would have predicted that moving to New York City would make sense, and I never would have predicted that I’d be a city person, and yet, here I am.

I look forward to posting Part II next week. As always, thanks for reading. To be continued…


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