In 2007 I wrote a post about turning 29, and what it meant to me as I transitioned into my 30’s.

Today I turned 31, and as I read back over that post, I am struck by how fortuitous it was without even realizing it.

My 20’s were pink. I wanted to prove to the world that I was still young, despite having kids. I wore things that I shouldn’t have, thinking they made me look my age instead of looking like a mommy. Damnit, I was still sexy even if I did have kids, and I was determined to prove it! Don’t you see me?? There is still a woman under these children! Look at me!!

At the time I thought I was wanting recognition from anybody, but looking back it’s clear to me it was in relation to my marriage at the time. I felt completely ignored, and not of much use to my ex other than as a housekeeper and caregiver to our kids. For years I’d told him how his lack of affection towards me made me feel unwanted, and for years I got no more than a less-than-token effort.

My 30’s will be red. I have always feared red, feeling like it would overpower me, call attention to me, and show off how unsophisticated I was. Yet now at 29 I am starting to realize the power it holds. Not a fire engine red; no more of that desperate, ‘look at me!!’ here. A burgundy. The color of a finely aged wine ready to come into its own. The color of a silk gown that hints at curves but leaves them guessing. Strong and confident, but subtle. Sophisticated.

It was a matter of days after writing that post that I decided I would eventually be filing for divorce. It was a few weeks later that Paul and I began talking, and a couple of months before I realized he was what I needed in my life.

The French have a saying that life is too short to eat bad food or drink bad wine. It has taken me till 29 to grasp this, and I plan to not only embrace it, but revel in it.

Revel in it I did, and at the highest of costs. Most of you know what happened from there. It’s no secret. For those that don’t, it’s in the archives.

With my hearing last week and literally waiting for my divorce papers to be mailed, I have asked myself often if it was worth it. The friendships I’ve lost, and possibly a continued battle for custody of my children to my ex..was it worth what I am taking away from this?

Though many might not understand, I have to say yes.

Being with my ex was like slowly suffocating to death. Everything was about him, with very little room for me. I had no concept of myself as an individual, because I wasn’t really allowed to be one. To get what little approval I ever got from him, I had to be what he wanted. Someone that I wasn’t. That life was all about appearances, with no depth at all. From the outside things may have looked ok, but inside I was dying.

Once that split was made, everything started to change. I have come out of my shell, and learned to stand up for myself, something I never dared do before. I started to learn who I am, and what is important to me. I stopped worrying so much about what everyone else thought, and started to live my life by the promise I made myself two years ago- to really start to live, without fear, and without regret.

The fear part I have managed, the regret part has not been so easy. There are things I wish I could take back or change, but how different would I be now without those experiences? Without the trials of the last year and a half, would I have the strength to face an uncertain future? It’s all woven together inextricably, and I can’t take the good parts without the bad.

All I can do is look ahead, and I am doing so with gusto. I am looking at going back to school, and just yesterday I found a pretty good candidate for the next place to call home. It’s not the west-end cookie-cutter house that I am used to, but that’s a big part of what I like about it.

They say life begins at 40, but I say 31 is looking like a damn good place to start. Here’s to the next year, and whatever it may bring.

18 Comments on The View of 29 From 31

  1. Cass
    November 13, 2009 at 1:03 am (8 years ago)

    This is totally something that someone in her 30’s would say, but I mean it: The 30’s are the best! Screw the 20’s.

    Happy Birthday! Welcome to the best of your life.

    Reply
  2. Cyndi
    November 13, 2009 at 1:08 am (8 years ago)

    Good for you! Life is too short to live in fear or pretend to be what you are not. The good….the bad….are all lessons we learn on our paths to reclaiming our own identity and power. Happy Birthday!

    Reply
  3. Paul
    November 13, 2009 at 1:12 am (8 years ago)

    Honey, I’ve watched you grow and change over the past two years. Watched you change from somebody with no confidence and little self esteem to a strong, brave woman with a true sense of herself.

    You’ve given up so much to break away from your ex and I promise you that the kids will love you more for it in the long run. They need you to be their mother, to be strong and to spend your energy on loving them instead of wasting it on pleasing someone who is impossible to make happy and being a slave.

    You have changed so much and I am so very very proud of you. No matter what comes in the future (and I intend it to be a long and happy life together) if this growth, this metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is all that is achieved it will have been worth it.

    Those that know you and love you (friends, family, kids, weird Irish guys off the internet) will understand that and will have a far better relationship with you because of that.

    I love you. I’m proud of you and Happy Birthday!

    Reply
  4. dysfunctional mom
    November 13, 2009 at 1:56 am (8 years ago)

    I know that suffocating feeling, and fortunately I know how good it feels to breathe again. So, I get it.
    Happy Birthday!

    Reply
  5. mom, again
    November 13, 2009 at 2:42 am (8 years ago)

    been there, done that. It’s gonna be OK.

    (my mother in law is visiting, I’ve been listening to her been there, done that stories. I think at this point, I may know more about her life beyond being mother to her sons than her sons know! She’s OK too. Her sons and my daughters respect our choices to have left the respective dads and be stronger women without them.)

    Reply
  6. Karen Sugarpants
    November 13, 2009 at 8:51 am (8 years ago)

    Happy birthday!
    For what’s it’s worth, I admire anyone who can pull themselves out of such a situation. I’ve been there, years ago, and though we weren’t married, we were 3 years common law and it was damn hard. Daren was my Paul.
    Good for you – you’re setting quite a few wonderful examples for your children.

    Reply
  7. Mommy Daisy
    November 13, 2009 at 9:35 am (8 years ago)

    Happy Birthday! I enjoyed that post two years ago. And I can appreciate that so much has changed in your life. It is a fresh start of sorts for you. I actually have a friend who is going through a divorce right now, and she said the same thing. She said “I turned 30 last year, but I’ve been unhappy for 6 years. I’m ready to start a new life.” Your post here just opened my eyes a little more to what she was telling me. Thanks! And enjoy your birthday.

    Reply
  8. Christine
    November 13, 2009 at 5:54 pm (8 years ago)

    Welcome to the first of the best decades of your life! My 30’s (I’m 35) have been wonderful, new baby, new husband, new town, new job, graduated college and even better relationships with my parents. The 20’s suck! Those years with my “practice-husband” are long over and I can breath again! You will love yourself and continue to grow into a beautiful confident woman. Congratulations!

    Reply
  9. Meredith
    November 14, 2009 at 9:32 am (8 years ago)

    I don’t know what it is about 29, but it changes you. I just turned 29 in July and realized that I can do things on my own and developed this amazing confidence in myself. In realizing all this, I also realized I didn’t want to be in my marriage anymore. I don’t want anyone looking over my shoulder constantly asking who I am talking to, whats being said, etc. I, too, have been suffocating and have made the decision to divorce. Everyone says you change at 30, I look forward to this change and embracing the new me and much like you, my 30’s will be red.

    Reply
  10. Devilish Southern Belle
    November 14, 2009 at 10:10 pm (8 years ago)

    I can relate in so many ways. I am so glad you are finding who you are, and are enjoying living life. I’m nearing the end of my 30s, so I am definitely looking forward to my life beginning at 40!

    Reply
  11. WigenOut
    November 14, 2009 at 10:59 pm (8 years ago)

    That’s why I got a red car in my 30s. I’ve also dyed my hair red at one point. Stand out for the wonderful person you are. Forget all the shit going on and be you.

    Reply
  12. Sandy
    March 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm (8 years ago)

    I turned 29 yesterday and i have to admit i am full of fear about letting go of my youth. But i am also excited about growing into a confident, mature woman and standing in my strength. Your blog has really inspired me!

    Reply

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