Shortly before I turned thirty, a good friend told me, “You’re going to love your thirties. You’re old enough to not care what anyone thinks, but you’re still young.” I only vaguely understood the point she was making. I thought in the back of my mind, “Well, we’ll see. I don’t care too much about what people think to begin with.” It turns out that maybe I cared more than I realized. Now that I have almost three years under my belt in this decade, I have come to fully appreciate what she was saying to me. Especially now that I’m a mom? There are so many things that moms are “supposed to do.” I don’t know how some of these standards were set—but . . . no. I do not have to do everything just because someone says I should. So here friends, is a list of things I have set myself free from, and I invite you to make your own list:
Join a MOPS group.
Look, I know a lot of women who love these. And I think that’s great. Before returning to work part-time, I looked into joining but could never get excited about it. One day I woke up and said, “This is not a requirement for stay at home moms.” I never looked back.
So you want to know what I think is truly beautiful about being in my thirties? I’m old enough to say, “I don’t have any idea how this works, and I don’t have to make myself understand it.” I’m smart. I have a college degree in nursing. I have (more or less) been a successful mom for over five years. But I DO NOT for the life of me understand how to work Snapchat. I know this makes me sound old and I. do. not. care.
Ok, so maybe sometimes I use Snapchat perfectly.
Wear trendy clothing.
Like croptops. And high-waisted jeans. No one at the major fashion houses discussed these trends with moms. I ASSURE YOU.
Be good at running.
I tried for years – YEARS – to get into running. I ran on treadmills, at the gym, on tracks, on sidewalks, and asphalt roads. In fact, I even completed my first 5k at 15 weeks pregnant! What I’m saying is, I really tried. I wanted to love it like some people love it. I felt like part of getting older meant getting into jogging. But here’s the thing. I actually really hate it. I find it enjoyable in no way, and it makes my knee hurt.
Just look at me not running.
Hide my uncool hobbies
I love cross stitching, and I don’t care if that reminds you of your grandma. I would probably get along really well with your grandma. So send her my number. And while we’re at it? I also do crossword puzzles for fun.
Tell your grandma I said What’s Up.
Care about movies.
I’m not saying that I think movies are bad. I’m just saying that I don’t care about them. Every year when the Oscars roll around, I’ll usually hear about the best picture nominees and sometimes I haven’t even heard of the movies on the list. I’m just not a movie person. I would rather be cross stitching. (See number 5.) This does not mean I don’t watch TV. I just usually watch the same four shows on repeat, and I’ve come to accept that. Consider it “checking for plot holes.”
Try so hard to make new friends.
In my youthier youth, if I met someone who I found nice or interesting, I would make a point to get to know that person better. One day, I realized that I would always be exposed to nice and worthwhile people, but that didn’t mean that I needed to get a coffee date on the books with every one of them. I have great friends, and if I never make a new friend for the rest of my life, I’ll still be ok. (But if you want to be my friend, just say so. This one is still a work in progress.)
I know that people like to lament getting older, but I actually kind of love it. Ask me again when I’m 75. But for now? It’s just the best. I know who and what I want to spend my energy on and have never felt better about it. My suggestion? Take a long look at the things in your life and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” I know that life is messy and that you can’t walk away from any and every unpleasant thing. But I also know that freeing myself from trying so hard all of the time was liberating and wonderful and something I would do 1,000 times over. You should try it!