To change the conversation, we had to start the conversation.
I’ve written about turning 35, and not being where I had always planned to be. And I’ve written also about how complicated it can feel, being happy with the life you’ve created, but still yearning for something else.
What has resonated for me the most in publishing these pieces is the feedback from the people who have read them. Those in similar circumstances who saw their own yearnings reflected back, and those with completely opposite circumstances who saw those same reflections. There was no “perfect life”, married or single, it seemed.
It struck me how many people also shared that they hadn’t previously felt comfortable admitting to all of the feelings encompassed by not being who or where or what they thought they should be. The fear, the shame, the sadness, the freedom, the independence, the resignation…all of these feelings a reaction to expectations that age was a marker for something other than years spent on this planet.
One of the ways to start dissolving these stigmas about having to be anything at any specific age is to start talking about them. To start acknowledging that there are other paths, and that straying from the traditional one is not bad, not good, just different and equally acceptable. To start seeking to understand each other, rather than judge what we don’t know. To stop putting pressure on ourselves and on others to conform to a mold that is not one size fits all.
Today’s conversation is hopefully the first of many that will start to lift the veil on how to find happiness in life, regardless of being “a certain age”…or of any particular age at all.