I turned 35 this weekend. When my mom was 35 she also had two kids, one was five like my younger daughter. Except the five year old, me, was the older daughter, my sister was 2. I at 35 have a five year old and a daughter who will be 15 in four months. Like my mother when I was five, I am single mami. Except my mom worked full time and had her own place, our own place. At 35, I struggle to balance mami’hood with working from home as a tutor and as a writer. I had to give up my apartment because I couldn’t afford it any more. At 35 I live with my two daughters in the same room I did when i was 5.
Perhaps it’s not fair to compare myself to my mother. I was a very young college drop out mom and she was an older mom (back then) who used her college degree in fashion to work in retail when her marriage didn’t work out. But I guess we always try and measure up against someone, have a point of comparison.
I don’t know if I had any expectations of what life would be at 35. So I don’t feel disappointed in myself. While life hasn’t been easy, I have two amazing kids, am on the precipice of a huge change in my life, and have a better sense of who I am, what I deserve, and what I want. I just don’t have it at 35.
35 isn’t what is used to be. It may be nearly midlife (although the healthy women in my family live to close to a hundred) but really I see and feel it as a new start. I am learning about building real, honest intimacy with another person, I am learning about making decisions, taking risks, taking charge, taking responsibility, and claiming my place in this world. Some people never do that in a lifetime. Now it is all about focus and discipline. Not wasting time or energy on people, things, experiences, emotions, fears. This means trusting other people but trusting myself above all else.
I trust that this 35 year of my life will be all about open heartedness and always pushing myself to move forward. I trust that I know how to do this and that I got this because it’s about damn time.