It feels like ages have past since I last blogged. At the very least, I’ve aged literally and figuratively.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve passed a new age marker and find myself firmly set in my 30s. I like this. My 20s were fine years- a little busy at times but filled with new experiences, loves, and jobs. They were also filled with losses and tumult, changes and tears.
In my 20s, I graduated college and ended four years of a women’s-only Bachelor’s education that taught me how to be a leader and reinforced my passion for social justice. I entered college in the midst of a coercive relationship with a boy, and I graduated in the midst of an unhealthy relationship with a girl. Hey, I didn’t get it all right, but I did graduate as an out, liberal lesbian. I moved to Boston and went to grad school. I earned two Masters degrees, became a Program Director at one non-profit and then the Director of Development at a second.
I dated a wonderful woman almost six years my junior. She taught me to trust and that round doesn’t mean unattractive. She took me on my first run since high school, and she made me into a college rugby fan. She reminded me that loving someone is okay- even if you feel vulnerable. I still love her today and am glad to call her a friend- despite her move cross-country and our limited contact.
I adopted a dog who drove me crazy as a puppy. Sometimes she still drives me crazy (like tonight when she’s running around whining at the cat). She’s also one of the best cuddlers in the world, and she can totally read me. I took on “dog mama” as an identity.
I met a wonderful woman whom I dated and married. I began to enjoy gardening and fixing up the house. I learned that I like to play sous chef and stay at AMC lodges in wintertime. That I like to cuddle and sleep on three-season porches.
I took on queer as my identity and politics. I was diagnosed with cancer and had my thyroid removed. I lost 35lbs and gained it back again. I had my tonsils removed. I ran my first 10k race. I realized that I liked running. Then I screwed up my knee and had to stop for a while. I’m still trying to take care of my knee 😦
I became part of a new family and an aunt to new nieces and nephews. I watched them grow and I grew through loving them. I fell in love with Maine. I grew up and, sadly, my wife and I grew apart. We were together for almost 5.5 years before we got divorced. Right before our 3-year wedding anniversary.
I met a wonderful guy; well, I’d met him already through a mutual friend of my wife. He was also getting divorced and we fell into an awesome fling which turned into dating, which then turned into a wonderful relationship. I realized that I like trans guys and butch/femme dynamics. I also like flowers, dates, theater, live music, motorcycles, having the door held open for me, movie afternoons in bed, funfetti cake eaten out of the pan, and surprise presents. I became extra secure in owning my queer identity. I fell in love again.
And then I got laid off. And I realized that I was unhappy with my self and my striving at work. That I was drinking to be less unhappy, which wasn’t working. Therapy helped. So did unemployment. And giving up red wine…as of my birthday I was 13 weeks sober- I am 15 weeks sober today.
My boyfriend’s mom was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and she died. Nine friends and family members died while I was in my 20s.
I supported my boyfriend as best as I could. I still am trying. Somewhere between the first and second visit to Detroit I began to love his sister and niece. His family’s struggle, combined with my losses and struggle out of sadness, made me realize that life’s too short for “What if” and “I wish I hads”.
So I became a less-than-part-time dog walker and spent every day with my pup. And then, the week before my birthday, I became a baker’s apprentice.
Despite being another year older, I still don’t have all the answers. To be quite honest, I’m scared shitless about making enough money. But now, I’m only concerned about making enough money to cover my bills, invest in retirement, and put a little into savings. Before, I was concerned about making enough to be viewed as a “success”. I wanted to be seen as the young professional who was “making it” and “achieving my potential”. I wanted to make my parents proud. I wanted to do right by them and the opportunities they afforded me. I wanted to be the best- whether it made me happy or not.
I’m still job searching, but I want to make sure that my next position(s) make room for time to write, walk, breathe, be with my loved ones and friends, explore Judaism, read, garden, teach, love fully, bake, learn, and continue to find my self.
It may seem like a tall order to have it all, but I think that I can. I like myself. I like the changes I’m experiencing (as scary as they may be). My parents are thrilled to hear me chatting happily on the phone with them- it’s worth more than a management position or paycheck. My boyfriend is fully supportive, as are my friends. And while times may be tough, we are moving through them- little by little.
And I? I believe in myself. I think I’m worth my own attention. Worth my own love. And, so, I’m going for it. And when I reminisce after the birthday that lands me squarely in my 40s, I hope to say that my 30s were frickin’ awesome.