Dating and Relationship Advice

Well, it happened. I turned thirty. The big 3-0. But you know what? I didn’t explode. My hair didn’t suddenly fall out. My boobs didn’t automatically sag to my knees. And my back still feels pretty solid.

Thirty, flirty and thriving, right?

WRONG. Honestly, despite my body seemingly hanging onto its twenties, I do feel different. Not more mature or wise or whatever, but the opposite. In a lot of ways, I feel like a fraud.

I remember the first time I watched Friends all the way through. I had recently turned 21. I felt so adult, so chic, living in the Big City, pursuing my dreams, and going out to hot clubs in high heels—but at the same time I was firmly rooted in my youth. I had a chip on my shoulder because I possessed all the time in the world to figure things out and win life. Not like the characters on Friends. Oh no, they were all in their late twenties and running out of time. Their worries—marriage, compromises, kids, careers—were not and would never be my worries. I was YOUNG and they were OLD.

But now I’m the same age as Monica, Rachel, Ross, Chandler and Joey. Do you understand how scary that is?! I’ve reached the age I used to think of as “old”.

I feel like I’m out of time. I know I’m not going to die tomorrow, but society expects certain things of people in their thirties. Job. 401K. Mortgage. Car. Dog. Partner. Health insurance. A dental plan. Maybe even a kid or two. And I have, like, 1.5 of those things.

Am I a failure? What do I have to show for thirty years of existence?

Ok, I’m spiraling a bit. *takes deep breath*

I have accomplished things. I’ve stood on top of the Great Wall of China, caught a piranha in the Amazon River, and watched the sun set over the canals in Venice. Sang onstage in international tours and voiced national cereal commercials. Been a part of pulsing, glowing, gorgeous New York City for more than 10 years. Made unbelievable friendships. Met my husband. Got paid to write down my feelings and thoughts. Hell, I’ve mostly learned Portuguese and that shit is hard!

But then why am I sheepish about what I do and where I live when I talk to high school friends at holiday parties? Why is the ticking clock pounding in my head?  Why, in many ways, do I still feel like a failure?

Maybe, thanks to my artistic inclinations, I’ll never feel like I’ve done enough. Maybe society needs to update its expectations about lifespan and what counts as accomplishments. Or, maybe, I need to let go of my own expectations of where my life “should” be.

My failure is all in my head. Rather than fear the ticking clock, I should embrace it. After all, my 30 years have taken me on a grand adventure, and who knows where the next 30 will take me?

Download Iris