Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Compare, despair, & the BLOW OFF

Thirty-three is supposed to be the happiest age of our lives.  At least that's what a study conducted in 2012 showed.  70% of the people surveyed as part of the study (all over the age of forty), picked the big 3-3 as their happiest age.  Well, I'm turning thirty-three this weekend so the pressure is on to make it a good year.  There's just one slight problem: I'm having a love/hate relationship with my thirties. 

Everyone told me that when I reached this age, I'd be much more confident and secure in who I am.  That life would slow down and get a lot less confusing.  But if I'm going to be completely honest, I'm finding myself becoming more insecure and less confident as I get older.  It has nothing to do with grey hairs or wrinkles or a slower metabolism (well, okay, it has a little to do with that) but it's more the fact that I'm always comparing where I am in life to other people my age. 

There was much less compare and despair in my twenties.  Back then, everyone I knew was still trying to figure out who they were and what they wanted out of life.  Some people went the career route, others went the school route-- but for the most part, we were all living in small apartments or with our parents or with five roommates.  We were all still in the dating stages of our love lives and we almost felt bad for people in serious relationships-- because who wants to be super committed to someone at twenty-three? 

But then your thirties hit and everything changes.  Some of us are married, some of us are single.  Some of us have kids, some of us don't.  Some of us have amazing careers, others don't.  For me, I mostly get caught up in the career category.  In my twenties, I was on the executive track and felt ahead of most people my age.  At twenty-nine, I made a career change and it meant starting over.  So, it hasn't been easy watching some of my former peers go on to be vice-presidents with fatty salaries and bonuses.  I mean, I'm happy for them, but you know what I mean.  What's even worse as a writer is reading the trades and seeing other writers my age (and in many cases much younger) make huge career strides.  Compare = despair.

But it doesn't end with career.  I do it with everything.  Those people are having babies.  Those people seem extra in love.  Those people have perfect skin.  Those people always look so put together.   Those people are never awkward in social situations.

I'm actually hoping thirty-three isn't my happiest year.  I want life to get better and better.  But in order for that to happen, I have to work on blowing off my insecurities.  I want to be that confident thirty-something everyone told me I'd become.  I'm long overdue.  In the meantime, I'll just listen to this Jessie J song over and over again.


  1. So good and so important to remember. I'm gonna read this every time I go into compare-despair mode. Thanks for writing this!
    - Ad Nauseum

  2. I'm 33 and this is NOT the best year of my life! What a let down.

  3. I turned 33 last month. I'm hoping it gets better. Everyone is: babies & weddings & love...I'm just over here trying to scrape dinner together with things I have left in the fridge.

  4. Love this! And it's making me hopeful for 33