For the last week, I’ve been contemplating the resurrection of my blog in honour of National Blog Posting Month. My blog’s been dead nearly a year — to be precise, it’s been silent since November 30th, 2014. Yes, that means I finished NaBloPoMo last year and then unplugged the life support. Last November wasn’t so sweet; I blogged a lot about heartbreak. I don’t know what this November holds, but I’m hoping it will be a lot sweeter. Anyhow, I’m going to kick off this blogging mini-marathon with a recent change in my life. It’s official now — I’ve reached thirty-five, and I’ve been here for a month.
When I was young, let’s say twenty, I had these preconceived notions of what thirty-five would look like. Surely, I would have a ring on my finger and some little ones running around. In my twenties, I wasn’t sure if I wanted these little ones to be children or animals……or maybe both. I also thought I’d be settled in a career, in a place. In my teens, I thought that place would be close to home, but in my twenties I was certain it would be far from home. Thailand was my home, indefinitely. Honestly, I also joked about meeting the love of my life in the rest home. The women in my family haven’t been lucky in love, and there were times when I thought I would follow suit. So, I guess I didn’t really have a clear picture of what thirty-five looked like — I just had ideas.
Now that I am just five years short of forty, I realize that I still just have ideas about what it is supposed to look like. Shortly after my turning point, I took a trip out to Alberta to visit family. They definitely had ideas about what thirty-five should look like. To sum it up, it looks like eight years of marriage, two kids, a stable job, one big house, a smaller summer house, a couple family vacations, two vehicles in the garage, and a pending divorce within the next ten years. Admitting that I’ve never come close to marriage, have no children (or pets), live in a bachelor apartment, and have gained most of my life and work experience in Asia, was something that was awkward for me to share with them. It made me feel more like an alien than when I lived abroad.
When I returned to the west coast, I was reminded that thirty-five can be whatever you want it to be. The day after I returned, an old friend from Thailand swooped in, and although she is five years younger, she was able to reassure me that my aspirations to live abroad, and discover the world on my own terms, were normal. Since our Thailand teaching days in 2008, she has finished her medical degree, travelled some more, started practicing family medicine in Boston, and moved in with her artsy, barista boyfriend. He is keen to be the stay-at-home dad, but she still had other plans of her own. It was so refreshing to connect with her again, and hear about her life on the way to thirty-five.
A little over a year ago, I made a concerted effort to step out of my introvert shell, and accepted an invitation to join a book club with women my own age. (So glad I did!) Sometimes it amazes me that we are all the same age because we are all doing such different things. One thing I will say is that we are all curious about the world around us; we care deeply; we are creative; and we’ve taken our own paths to thirty-five. Some of us have partners, some of us have children, some of us don’t want children, some of us live in houses, some of us in apartments, some with our parents, some of us have only one vehicle or none at all, some of us have a career that fulfills us, some of us are struggling to find that balance, but all of us are continuing to evolve.
So, what does 35 look like? It’s whatever you want it to look like. For me, it’s single, childless and petless, studio-living, night classes, book club gatherings, travel-dreaming, friendship-building, and finding work-play balance. And this 35 is still evolving.
What does your 35 look like?