Free People dress; Target sandals; Leopard foldover clutch
One of my biggest memories from the night I turned 36 and wore this dress is that I had gone to the beach that day with friends and my legs got so (unintentionally) sunburned! I had planned on wearing another shorter dress, but angrily sunburned legs call for breezy cutout maxi dresses, am I right? Also, it obviously takes much more than 36 years to remember to sunblock yourself as often as you sunblock your children.
Onward and upwards, my friends…
So 36. This age feels pretty good! I remember last year when I turned 35 I was a little depressed about it. Thirty-five all of a sudden felt a little too grown up to me. Too mature and responsible for the way I felt inside. I had a little pity party about it, wallowed a bit, until I had a little a-ha moment. It came from a cancer survivor that posted that every year that she gets to celebrate her birthday is a blessing, because it is another year for her to be a mother to her children, a wife to her husband, and another year of LIFE for her. I want to be like that, always. Each year is a blessing, whether the number we reach sounds “old” or what happens to our exterior selves as time passes.
To be 36 right now translates to a lot of happiness in my own skin. I care less and less about the stuff I used to care about (what people think of me, worrying about pleasing others, worrying about how I look to the outside world, things I can’t change by being anxious about it, working uneccessarily hard to make sure others are happy, etc.) It’s kind of like taking all the stuff I used to think about and worry over in my 20’s and throwing it in a big old helium baloon and letting it go. It just went away.
My biggest area in which I put energy into is my husband and children. They are my priority, always. Things that fall outside of this circle are still important, but I do not risk the happiness of my inner circle (in which my sanity and personal health and well being is included) at the expense of them. I’ve found that friends, extended family, work, social media, hobbies, basically ANYTHING not in my bubble of personal happiness, has to take a backseat. I just don’t feel the need to bring undo energy and stress and time to people and work and hobbies and such that are high maintenace.
This can sound bad sometimes, but I’ve talked to other (similar) age friends, and they agree. If something is high maintenavce and causes issues and drama, I am OUT. Done. It took me a long time to get to that place, and I am so much happier for it. My family and sanity is important, and I can’t be persuaded to compromise either of those for anyone/anything.
I was thinking the other day about the old Sex and the City episode, “20 Something Girls Vs. 30 Something Women.” I last watched it when I was in my 20’s and I was kind of offended. How dare they insult 20 somethings, we are adult’s, too! What is so great about 30 year old women? Now I get it. I have nothing against 20 year olds, but it is funny sitting next to a pair of super young girls at the beach and hearing their conversations. It’s nothing I never talked about then, it is just different, and not really relevant to my life now. Truth be told, I wouldn’t go back to that age if asked. (Though I’d take the un-wrinkled face and un-gray hair, ha.)
I am so incredibly grateful for each year I get. This age, RIGHT NOW, is the best. It’s the best for a zillion reasons, but mosly because I get to share it with my husband and kids, I have awesome friends, a supportive family, and I feel the best I ever have, isnide and out. I think my message to my former 20 something self would be to love myself a bit more. Say no to the things that aren’t important, and to care for myself, both physically and emotionally, a little bit better. I’d also be pretty happy to know that at 20, when I was thought I was really happy and content, that it would multiply so much BIGGER than that. Life for me got easier and better after age 30. I swear.
36, I like you. A lot. This is just the beginning!