Today I turn 32 and the blog turns 7.
Growing up, or I suppose, in my case, growing older, is a funny thing. The idea of it is a perpetual preoccupation. Google "growing up" and you get so many disparate things. Blog posts from kids saying they feel old at 17. Editorials from 55 year old women saying they've never felt so young. Poems by A. A. Milne. Clips from The Breakfast Club. Age and aging are perennial, if not constant topics of interest in North America, returning over and over again to haunt the zeitgeist of each subsequent generation.
This is not a "milestone" birthday for me and I didn't think much about it before this morning. Too much other stuff on my mind. My job is ending, as most of you already know. My boss has decided to close the company, so everyone on staff has been laid off. Officially, the business shuts its doors at the end of August, but I opted to check out at the end of July, which means just two more weeks before I'm officially unemployed, or officially a full-time shopmistress, depending on how you want to spin it.
For me, being forced to make a professional change has been a good thing. I would have coasted along for ages letting things lie had I not been forced to reevaluate. And psychologically, I think the lay off has been positive as well. It's helped stride toward the things I should have been doing all along -- sticking up for myself, for example, being less of a pushover, teaching people how to treat me. I've already blogged about these things. No need to go into them again.
It's all been going surprisingly well. There's been resistance, of course. When you suddenly change the rules of any relationship (in my case, by telling people in no uncertain terms what I will and won't tolerate), there's always some blow back. Those least willing to change are squirming about it all, fighting with everything they have at their disposal -- passive aggression, emotional punishments, manipulations, insults, guilt. I get that. It's like dealing with toddlers. When they don't like something, they fight. They fight with everything they have in their stubby little bodies. And it doesn't make sense to fight back. Rather, you simply have to teach them that no matter what they do, their circumstances aren't going to change. They can scream and kick and struggle all they want, but eventually, they're going to have to adapt. It's more difficult with adults, obviously. The tantrums are more subtle, more calculated, but the method for dealing with them is similar: stay calm and don't waver. Repeat yourself. Say, "This is the way it's going to be. Pound your little feet all you want, but this is the way it's going to be." I was anxious about the process before it began, but now that I'm in it, I see it's not as hard as I expected. It just takes patience.
So many people have told me to expect life changes in my 30s. People say this is the decade when you come into your own as an adult. I have no idea if this is true. My 20s were so traumatic, so filled with confusion and insecurity and change, I feel like life can only continue to settle down and improve, so maybe it's true. Maybe it's true for almost everyone. Those poor souls who are happiest in high school and/or their early twenties are few and far between, which is lucky all around.
Anyway. I suppose I'll just keep on keepin' on. Happy Birthday to me.