My birthday’s in September, which means that March is the month of my half-birthday. And for most of March, I’ve been freaking out about turning 30. It’s not that I’m concerned about wrinkles or gray hairs (although it’s easy to say that now, with few wrinkles and no [as far as I know] gray hairs); in fact, I might even go so far as to say that my concern is that I’m not getting old. Or at least I don’t feel like I do in the way I expected I would by this point in my life.
I don’t really know what I thought adulthood would be like. Growing up, my feelings about what I wanted to do when I was an adult changed pretty regularly. But by the time I got to college, I had a pretty clear idea of what I would be doing with the rest of my life: going to graduate school, getting my PhD, and teaching in a university somewhere. And yet here I am, at the age of 29 with a Master’s degree, two years of PhD study, and an entry-level job about which I have very mixed feelings. Most days I feel frustrated. Some days I feel like I’ve failed completely. People define success in different ways, and I can recognize that I’m very lucky to have what I do have: a fiancé, a great family, great friends, and a wonderful network of people I’ve met through this blog. But I’ve always been the sort of person who craves satisfaction from her work, and who wants to feel passionate about that work. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way.
For the past few years I’ve wanted to focus more on a career in a health-related field. This is actually why I left graduate school–I realized that French literature was not my passion, and that I really wanted to get certified as a yoga instructor, study health education, and do something that would help others to learn about how to take care of themselves and make their lives better through healthy habits. My experiences over these past years have just made me want that even more. Realistically, though, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to go back to school and start studying something like health education. In addition to worrying that I’ve failed, I wonder if having this blog is the closest I’ll ever come to helping people learn to lead healthier lives.
I don’t like the idea of turning 30 while so much of what I want to do with my life feels so far away. As a result, I’ve been working really hard to try to feel like I’m at least moving toward my goals, even though I may not reach them. I get annoyed sometimes thinking that all I can really do is work on things, and having to settle on knowing that life is a process. I’m working on recovery from my ED, becoming a stronger runner, a happier person, someone who is more accepting of herself, and more generous and loving toward others. To be honest, I feel like I’m working all the time, and there are still things I’m not getting done: I haven’t yet lifted a single weight, nor have I done any yoga in a few weeks. Every time I start down that road of thought, I have to pull myself back and remember that beating myself up for what I haven’t done or haven’t become yet isn’t going to help me.
I want my adult years to feel fuller. Instead of feeling like I’m always trying to get somewhere, I want to feel like I’m there. I’ve spent a lot of my time on the outside of things, afraid or unable to get involved for one reason or another, and I don’t want to turn 30 doing the same thing. There’s nothing wrong with working on it, and I know there will be things I will work on for the rest of my life. But I hope that with some things, I can develop a sense of ownership of some sort, and ultimately feel a bit more comfortable and at home with them. Maybe it’s a 1/3-life crisis or something. I just know that I don’t want to keep feeling like things are passing me by.
Embrace:Me 30-day challenge, day 18: Today I’ve been listening to my body and trying to give it what it needs when it comes to food. At times, this meant eating something because my stomach was growling. At others, it meant putting down my fork because I’d had enough. I know that the more I listen, the easier it will become to do these things. Today was a good day of practice.