A Decade of Becoming – Saying Goodbye to My Thirties32
March 16, 2016 by Katia
This is the last day of my thirties, a decade I’ve spent BECOMING.
With only two years of marriage under my belt I was still becoming a wife at thirty. At thirty one I said goodbye to people who are parts of my identity and became an immigrant. I’ve spent the following years adapting and learning what becoming a North American would look like for me. At thirty three I became a mother. At thirty five I got stuck in limbo trying to become a mother once again. I became a fertility clinic returning patient and a miscarriage statistic instead. I learned that sometimes the fears that plague my mind, but are so well contained in there, will leak out and infiltrate reality. I learned that while I can control those well-contained fears, I can’t control reality. At thirty six I released my breath when I became a mother for the second time and relearned that lesson about control. At Thirty one, thirty three, thirty seven and thirty eight I became a tourist in my home country and learned what surreal feels like. At Thirty eight I spoke into a cell phone placed to my great aunt’s ear for the last time. As I shook uncontrollably later that day, I learned that there is no such thing as being prepared for that kind of news even when you’re given a timeline. Three weeks later I learned what your body being three degrees separated from your soul feels like when I numbly received the same kind of news about babooshka (grandma). At thirty nine I’ve regained my mom (and the ability to belly laugh) when she moved to Canada. I’ve learned that parts of my heart were blocked off for the last eight years in attempt to emotionally survive every recurring separation and airport goodbye.
At thirty one, as a new immigrant, I felt exposed and defenceless. At thirty one I encountered my first workplace bully, my first anti-Semite and my first workplace harassment.
At thirty one I was a mom to an American Cocker Spaniel that travelled with us from Israel and made an empty furniture-less apartment feel like home. At thirty one I walked my dog in the snow for the first time and like a mother to a human baby, I learned that joy can be found in the most trivial details and experienced in the most unexpected moments, when I watched Louisa climb to the top of every snow bank she encountered, to leave her pee mark there. At thirty one I challenged myself and stretched my comfort zone farther and farther when I joined a local meetup group and went on several gatherings where I knew no one and had to chat and make small talk. At thirty one I hit the jackpot when I accepted an invite from a meetup member to meet at her home with several other group members for a ladies dinner club event. The dinner club dissipated, but I’ve built my first local friendships from scratch on the foundations of my stretched comfort zone. We soon became very close with Jenn and her then boyfriend Al. At thirty five my husband and I served as the only witnesses for our friends when they eloped and got married at city hall.
At thirty eight my father and I became Facebook friends and opened a new front in our friendship and discovered so many new things we could love about each other.
At thirty one and at thirty four I’ve lost two very important people in my life to cancer. After burying my head in the sand for long enough, at thirty six, two weeks before giving birth to my second son – two weeks early, I lost my dog Louisa to the same disease.
I’ve stopped making excuses at thirty six and started writing in a language that wasn’t my native tongue. I’ve learned that you don’t need to meet someone to form very deep and meaningful connections. I’ve formed a connection in my mind and heart which spilled and infiltrated reality.
At thirty seven I started receiving recognition for my writing. I shared a stage with Queen Latifah but the voice inside my head was still telling me that everyone else is wrong and that I’ve managed to somehow fool them all into taking me seriously.
At thirty my hair was too dark. At thirty one it was too damaged. At thirty two it was just right. At thirty three I had a baby. At thirty six I had double the babies, double the sleep deprivation and double the greys. I learned that there’s a correlation between how tired I am and how tired my hair is.
At thirty I celebrated my birthday at a night club in Tel-Aviv with lots of friends and had some pictures taken with my digital camera. I wasn’t too happy with how my wrinkle-less and eye bag-less face turned out. It was too pale and I didn’t learn anything. At thirty styling my hair at a salon to prepare for this event was a given, not a luxury. At thirty nine, preparing for my fortieth, I didn’t scout nightclubs for a month. I am booked for high tea with my mom and a childhood friend, my sister from another mister, Anya. The reservation was made six days in advance. At thirty nine I don’t need big numbers to prove to myself that I am loved and a lot of noise to feel festive. At thirty nine I’m grateful for my brigade consisting of family and friends who find my birthday important and meaningful, each for their own special reason.
At thirty nine I still care about approval but not as much as I did at thirty. At thirty nine I realize that becoming doesn’t necessarily mean shedding what you were. At thirty nine I realize that I will probably never become and learn certain things, like how to be a grownup, or the parent that I am in my head. I’ll never speak like I write. At thirty nine, with two children who challenge me in the best and worst of ways I see my flaws as clearly as ever. I see my flaws even without the mirror my children put in front of me daily. At thirty nine I am also willing to accept and acknowledge my gifts and advantages.
I look forward to finding out what the next decade is all about.
This post was written yesterday. Let’s do this, Forty!
What are your thirties/forties like?
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Happy birthday (or “Becoming” day). Wonderful post!
Like you, I find each new year or decade provides a shift in perspective. Yours is beautifully written here.
I always love hearing from you, lovely lady. Thank you so much for those kind words. Lots of gratefulness to you!
Oh, how much I love this post, I can’t even express! Bless you so much, Happy birthday. I hope I come to learn and internalize life so well and be able to express it that well one day.
Love from Ghana!
Yours is the first comment I opened this morning. I love SO MUCH that you’re reading this in Ghana and that you can relate so much. I loved your comment and please feel free to share your link if you write a similar summary one day. Lots and lots of love and peace from Canada. ❤ Katia
Happy Birthday and welcome to the forties. They’re not that bad. You’ll nail it.
❤ ❤ ❤
Happy birthday, Katia. I’m way beyond my 30s, but I remember them vividly. I was in the midst of raising 3 children and searching for my identity and my Savior. Each decade has its ups and downs, but God makes the ride worth it. Ha e a lovely day.
Lovely words, thank you for your thoughtfulness!
Really good post, Katia! Happy birthday and thank you very much – I felt like I was reading about my own life (with the only difference that I have 3 kids, opposite sex and live in UK :))
Anyway I look forward to joining your forties club next week!
I always enjoy your comments, Nikolay! I didn’t realize you were in the UK. I can see the parallels in our biographies. I’m glad this felt familiar, I think that this is exactly what one hopes for when opening up their heart in writing. Have a wonderful day and thank you so much!
Oh, and I totally missed the part about joining the club next week. Happy birthday!
This is completely beautiful, Katia. When I turned 30, I felt really sad and that I hadn’t done what I should have by then. When I turned 40, I was okay and that’s the year that I got to give birth to my son. Funny how these things give us perspective. Oh I’d like the wrinkle-less face from my 30th though. I sure would. Happy happy birthday, beautiful friend. I love this. And you. ❤
And I you. So much! I am familiar with that feeling of expecting more if yourself. I hope my forties are just the right balance of easygoing and driven. ❤
So so beautiful, meaningful, touching.
What a decade of becoming.
You have become.
Happy birthday to a dear, dear friend.
You’re the best.
Lovely post! I always wonder if we ever learn something from the years or if we just think we do. Some things have helped me lately to believe that we do: I had a big talk with a 19 year old friend – and oh my, I so wouldn’t want to be there again! – and now reading this 🙂 Ageing is not always the best but we also become wiser, happier, and it comes through knowing ourselves better. Thanks!
Such a good perspective about becoming happier with age and so true! I think we learn not to concentrate and petty details that have the potential of bringing us down. I don’t know if I knew that I was learning as I was learning, but I as able to identify lessons in retrospect 🙂 thank you for your well wishes.
Happy birthday and good luck; may your forties be your best decade yet! This beautiful post has moved me to tears. I am looking at forty later this year myself and so I can certainly relate, and this post has helped me to find a much happier perspective in looking at the dreaded milestone, thanks for sharing. It certainly does not show in any way that English is not your native language; it is mine, but I wish I could use it as well as you do. ❤
Thank you ever so much, Millie, for sharing your kind words and concerns. I think forty is about letting go and it will be great. A friend who has “joined the club” a month and half ago told me how tremendously relieved she felt. She felt as if the pressure is off somehow. I still have to stew in this for a bit but judging by my birthday and the way I’ve spent my day today we’ve still got lots of good coming our way. 🙂
Well put! Let’s get our party hats on and celebrate all life has given us – YOU – in style! Keep the 40s warm for me, I’ll join you there in 3 years 🙂
Why, hello there stranger. Fancy meeting you here! I’ll keep your seat warm. After all hot flashes are around the corner, aren’t they? 🙂
I love you. Your love for people is clear and it fills me like the sun.thank you for reaching out and thank you for your lovely comments. That’s how we met, and now, i know more about this kind and generous beauty, Katia. Happy birthday, lovely one! You will love your forties!
You are one of the people who morphed from an online presence to a real life presence for me. One of my friends who lives far away told me yesterday that even though we don’t see each other or talk (outside of Facebook) I do something every day that makes her smile (I know she was referring to my posts about my kids). I can honestly say the same about you. I love and appreciate your friendship so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Happy Birthday beautiful! Here’s to another great 30 years. 🙂 May you continue to grow and learn!
So sweet of you, thank you so much! I hope to not just learn but implement. I think that that’s where I got stuck in my first 39 years… 🙂 have a wonderful weekend!
A beautifully woven post, it’s a pleasure to meet you.
That’s very kind of you. It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Dale!
A very happy birthday to you. The 40’s are terrific. Enjoy. Thank you for this terrific post.
Thank you, Lisa! I’m finding the 40s very enjoyable so far! Thank you for the kind wishes and words!
I love this post! It’s amazing looking back at how we have evolved throughout the years. Happiest belated birthday to you! Sending you lots of love.
Thank you so much! What a lovely comment. It warmed my heart!