Another Year Older (Wiser?)

Yesterday was my birthday. Yep, I’m officially 36! In my late 30’s, as my mother would say.

I’ll be honest, I was nervous about my birthday. Last year was terrible. I think I cried most of the month of November, and my relationship with the boyfriend almost didn’t survive. It seems so superficial, freaking out over your age. But it wasn’t just about getting old; I felt like I hadn’t come very far for being 35, and I really didn’t have a good sense of where my life was going. I wasn’t sure where (or if!) I fit into the boyfriend’s plan. Plus, I do think it’s harder for a woman, especially for a woman who hasn’t hit certain “traditional milestones”, like getting married, or having children. Sure, sure, there’s no age limit on getting married. But there’s no denying getting married in your 40’s is very different from getting married in your 20’s. And having children?

In case you weren’t around last year, you can read all about it here. And here. And here. And here. Confused? Yeah… Rereading those posts made me realize exactly how all over the place my thoughts and emotions were back then. One day it was all doom and gloom, and the next everything was going to be just fine. Maybe.

So yesterday was my birthday. How do I feel about being 36? Just fine, actually. Some things haven’t really changed since last year: We still have 2 houses, which we’re now spending less time than ever living in. We still aren’t married. We both still have debts, although we are making progress. But there have also been some very big changes. Some of those changes have been “for the worse”: The boyfriend lost his job. Which means we now have more expenses, like rent and utilities on the apartment.

Looking at it from that angle, you’d think I’d feel worse about this year. But I actually feel like we have some direction. We’re working towards selling houses and building a life together. Those things don’t happen overnight, but at least we’re finally communicating better. We’ve realized we’re on the same page as far as what we want for the future. And the boyfriend’s job loss is actually spurring us to take action on some things.

We’ve committed to building a life together. What exactly will that life look like? I don’t know. We’re still a little fuzzy on the details. Will we retire in a couple of years? Or continue working? What will retirement look like for us? Where will we live? Honestly, we don’t know. We’re considering all the options, and actually have a lot of opportunities. I’ve learned that you can still move forward, even if you don’t have a clear goal in place yet. You can save towards a home, even if you don’t know where that home will be. You can plan for retirement, even if you don’t know what that retirement will look like. And kids? Well, as my grandmother says “One way or another, you’ll have the kids you’re meant to have.” Some days I worry that I’ll regret it if I don’t have children. Other days I worry about how having a child would fit into our lives. But I don’t have to decide that today, or tomorrow, or next year. Yes, as a woman I realize that my time to make those decisions is running short. But for now, I’m just trying to relax, and let things happen in their own time.

Que Sera, Sera. Whatever will be, will be.

My mom used to sing that all the time when we were little. And I can’t help but think that there’s something to that. Not that we shouldn’t plan. Or dream. Or prepare. But I don’t know what the future holds. Sometimes you just have to let go, and enjoy where life takes you. I see a lot of things changing this year. Some changes I’ll choose. Some things I’ll be able to control or plan. Others I won’t. I may have to change courses along the way. Who knows where I’ll be a year from now? But I can’t help but think that things are heading in a good direction.

Turning 36 really isn’t so bad. We’ll see how I feel when 37 rolls around!

– Cindy W.

Comments

  1. Happy birthday!

    Mine’s in January, and I’m a little worried, because 35 unexpectedly sucked for me too — I think I just wasn’t prepared to be that age and be so profoundly unsettled in life, when I saw many of my friends really settling down, having babies and even buying real estate or at least living in the same apartment for more than two years 🙂 So I’m glad that 36 has been ok so far for you, it gives me hope for myself!

    1. I was pretty caught off guard by 35 as well. I’m hoping the next few years will be smoother. It was terrible at the time, but it did help me make some decisions in my life, and figure out what I really wanted!

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