The Inevitable Woes

I was supposed to write about writing today – well it was supposed to happen yesterday, but I was tired and… life so anyways – I was supposed to write about my writing season, but instead I’m writing about this.

I feel so dumb even admitting this.

I am really having a hard time turning 30. And I’m not even turning 30 until April!! Which means I’m not even half way through my 29th year! Gah, Dupuis, get a freaking grip.

But there it is. I’m having a hard time with it. I don’t want to get older. I want to stay a young grown up forever. I want to have all the time in the world. I don’t want to admit that some ships have sailed.

I am sprouting greys and I will not be dying them. I just don’t feel like handling that kind of up-keep. So I will go slowly slowly grey and whatever, I don’t care about the color so much but fuck, the texture. All wiry an sticking out in fucked up directions, WHAT IS THAT? WHY? Ugh.

I feel wrinkly and like my skin is dry and papery. This is maybe kind of harsh considering, but I am seeing the beginning signs of aging and it is not all misty reminiscence.

Also it’s my dad’s 59th birthday today. So that adds to this post’s ridiculousness. Because hello…. if anyone is old, it’s probably him (except not, he looks 40 and probably always will). Happy Birthday Dad!

But then there is this other thing where I can’t stop making lists in my head of all the other jobs I could have chosen, and what is wrong with me? Why didn’t I choose THOSE? Why didn’t someone tell me I could have been a voice actor or a zoo keeper or a photographer or a librarian? I mean I almost went to grad school for BOOK PUBLISHING, and we all know how that worked out. Good thing I picked writing instead. HA. HA. HA… hurumph.

Mostly I feel like I am kind of a mild, mediocre, failure at my current situation, my current job trajectory. And yeah, I’m about to start a new decade, and I’m feeling stalled out whereas the grass is always greener on other people’s lawns, that they own, in front of their house and stuff (or at least maybe like a townhome?), and people are movin’ on up while I am sort of crossing my fingers week to week that this place still finds use for me and my job doesn’t become obsolete and/or taken over by robots.

And did you know that I am writing a book? A book that will take me 10349302745834 years to finish. I’ll be dead and the book will still be but a few sad pages on a computer somewhere that no one can even access because tech has moved so far forward they use computers as coasters. I’ve been working on this book for a month now and do you know what my goal is this week? To get to double digit pages. Why is this the sad state of my creative life? Because I wrote a bunch and then I deleted it and started over. Which is a legit creative strategy if you want to get almost nowhere – almost because it’s a better nowhere than the previous version of nowhere 1.0 since the reboot.

You know when I was 23 I told my advisor that I wanted to have my first (my first, as if there would be many many more) book published by the time I was 30. She said, “you totally can. absolutely” and I was genuinely surprised she saw that much possibility in me. Unbeknownst to her I had just sort of pulled that nice round number out of my butt. Far enough away to give me time, but legitimate enough to make it reasonable. I remember exactly where I was when I said it, I remember exactly what I was wearing and the tea I was drinking and the notebook I was writing in as if it had happened last weekend because that is exactly how it feels. And now I am 29. Have been for a minute or two. What of it?

I guess I didn’t also think I’d have a kid or be married or have as many interesting/strange jobs under my belt or have as many interesting/strange adventures. I guess that stuff is what happened. I just didn’t expect the greys or the amount of unrelenting chin hairs, my slowly failing eyes, and my intense longing for a backyard with a kiddy pool and a barbecue to come along with it. Or you know, how nothing professional happened like I thought it would.

Ugh 29. You’re the worst.

29 thoughts on “The Inevitable Woes”

  1. Oh Lauren! How I feel you! Pretty much everything here. Let’s (get you a babysitter and) go get drinks and commiserate over chin hairs and terminal drafts and all of the other careers we would’ve/could’ve/should’ve had!

  2. I feel you so much. In my mind I was 24 yesterday, but no, that was 10 years ago whoah! How did that ever happen. I hate the grey hairs so much. I always said I was going to let them be and age gracefully. But I was expecting them at 45+ not at 27, why doesn’t anyone tell you that aging starts so, so early. I do actually pull them out, I want to let them be and get over it, but I can’t stand the sight of the ugly beasts. And yeah, I also dye my hair every now and then but the little bastards always manage to escape. And I am really bad at the up-keeping. Once my roots were so long, I was happy that the ombré look was in 🙂 I was right in fashion completely unintendedly.

    And oh the job situation, it makes me cry, so hard. I still don’t know what was my wrong move, but I think it’s generational, and a consequence of the situation. So difficult. It’s like we grew up on lies (do what you love, be great at it and you will find a job that makes you happy, hahahahahhahaha). Being a zoo keeper is very very hard. Working at zoos, or in anything related with wildlife is very difficult because everyone wants to do it, and there is not a lot of money going into Conservation Biology. And at places that actually make money it is extremely competitive, they rely on volunteers who are happy to do the work for free, because animals! I am working with wild animals… and so on and so forth.

    What is your book about? Is it a surprise? I am so curious and will be your first reader and promoter !

    But yes to the weird adventures… what is the saying that life is weirder than fiction? Well life really went and surprised me because I have lived through things I never imagined would actually happen to me. All of this was exacerbated with the birth of my daughter, especially on those early weeks, it was like seeing a playbck of all the crazy things I had done and the places I had been along with this urge to share all kinds of experiences with her.

    1. Oh Amanda, your unwavering support is the greatest thing ever. Especially knowing all of the ups and downs of your own path!

      My book is both funny and sad, kind of coming of age/dealing with the ridiculousness of youthful dreaminess paired with the reality of any given situation. Hopefully I’ll have a better synopsis soon. <3

  3. “A book that will take me 10349302745834 years to finish. I’ll be dead and the book will still be but a few sad pages on a computer somewhere that no one can even access because tech has moved so far forward they use computers as coasters.”

    I had to laugh at this, because OMG I know the feeling. It is AMAZING that you are writing a book! Amazing! And yes, it will take forever because it just does take forever, but you’re doing it and that’s amazing.

    I totally thought I’d have a book published by now. My 30th is in May. I sometimes get depressed thinking about that, but then I think of all the authors who took forever to write a book and published it late in the game. So, I dunno. Maybe we’re doing ok.

    I also still maintain that if I want to, I could switch career paths and become a marine biologist. This is probably some weird form of denial talking. But I refuse to admit otherwise.

    1. Ah, I always used that line, particularly during really hard exam periods the first year of medical school. I can always become a Marine Biologist. I imagined myself working with marine mammals… then I realized marine life consists in great part of worm-like creatures.

  4. 29 is legit the worst. But I’m here to report that you’ll find a way through this, and 32 is the bomb dot com. Hang in there, you’ve got a lot to be proud of!

  5. Its weird, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been told that the 30s are the best decade. People say “oh, your 20s – you are still so unsure, trying to figure your life out, most people are broke and still kind of lost, but in your 30s! In your 30s you have so much more certainty and flexibility and you stop worrying and just do it.”

    I’m skeptical, but i really hope that is the case. I mean, I look forward to the next few years because FINALLY we will be out of transition, we will both be in our careers, we can start moving forward, etc. Maybe I’ll stop caring as much about how lumpy I am, about my clothes, about the little things… but i kind of doubt it. I think about my alternate career paths all of the time, and sometimes I feel way too exhausted and burnt out for my age. I think 40 is going to be a LOT harder than 30 will be, but we will see. In the meantime, I’m going to keep coloring my hair and worrying about those lumps.

  6. I’m not sure if this is helpful, but I found turning 30 to be so envigorating and at the same time relieving. I was really nervous about it, but when it came, I felt so happy to be leaving my uproarous 20’s behind. 30 just feels so much more grown up, and I was sick of people hearing that I was in my 20s and therefore (it seemed) that I didn’t garner as much respect as a person just a few years older. 20s felt debaucherous to me, 30s feels sophisticated and grown up, so when I turned that corner… it actually felt nice!

    So, I guess I’m just trying to say that while you might be anxious about it now, you might find that once you’re on “the other side,” you feel excited for all the new things to come. Perhaps you didn’t publish a book by age 30, but you’ve started writing it, which is an accomplishment itself (I certainly haven’t begun writing a book! Despite the few ideas that I’ve previously taken note of). And either way, don’t be hard on yourself for feeling nervous about it. Changing decades is a big deal no matter what!

  7. You have no IDEA how much of the same wavelength we are on with this lately!! I am panicing about 30 as well and also about career/jobs and what I am doing with my life and all the what-ifs and the neck hairs! The neck/chin hairs – what is that about? Ugh. I feel all the feels with you on this one. I love you!

  8. I also am surprised where I am in my career, at 31. It’s a career? Really? Because I kind of hate it and make fun of it when I’m at home. But you have done so much and had so many more adventures then me and you’re younger so WAY TO GO! You are awesome in my opinion. And if it helps my stepmother went back to school in her 60s and totally changed careers after already retiring. So there’s that. It’s possible.

    One last thing to add. The best thing I did for myself the year before I turned 30 was facials. I had never had a professional one before. Splurging on 45 minutes to moisturize and get a neck massage made me feel like I must be a pretty successful adult if I can afford looking this refreshed.

  9. I had a harder time with 25 than 30. I’m now 33. No gray hair, but metabolism where did you go?! The people with greener lawns in front of houses they own may not be very happy with their life decisions either. Like maybe they got MBAs. No offense to anyone with an MBA, but I work in Finance and don’t always totally hate it and still refuse to get an MBA.

  10. I totally get that.

    I’ve never freaked out about my age but somehow finding myself 29 and divorced is starting those freakouts. What does it mean to be almost 30 and single? That thought is inevitably followed by “Oh, what a gorgeous picture of me but are those the beginnings of crows feet? Or should I call them ‘laugh lines.'”

    Cheers to freaking out at 29 lady.

  11. For what it’s worth, while you may TOTALLY not have the time, resources, or desire (because OOF) to do a second grad degree, library work is totally something you could still do, since they specifically try to pull in people from diverse backgrounds (I did undergrad work in publishing too — editing/pub classes, two internships, one with a huge website-turned-book project — look where that got me! Bupkiss publishing jobs! Solidarity!). And there are legit online library science programs (like, not sneered upon in the slightest, totally accredited, not weird-University-of-Phoenix bullshit).

    Of course, the downside is, there’s hefty competition for the jobs that are available (unless you’re willing to move). It’s gotten better since some hangers-on are finally retiring, but UGH. (My HUGE LIFE DREAM is to get a job at the Seattle Public Library. THAT BUILDING. *swoon*)

    Anyway, enough about me. The point is…you could still do that, maybe. But then….there would be some downsides too, like the competition (and the relatively low pay). But…it’s also super rewarding work. And honestly there’s something to be said for settling in and taking a break and NOT worrying about stalling out. Like, I don’t plan to try and move up the library ladder for a good long time. I’m tired and don’t want to try anything new. Flat out tired. It’s okay to be tired and to not feel like being a constant go-getter all the time.

    I feel like this is a very rambly comment. My point is, be 29. Embrace the ambiguities, those disappointments, those coulda-beens. And maybe let some of them go. Or pick one and run with it.

    Ugh, career stuff. And life stuff. <3

    1. I’m in SJSU’s online MLIS program. I can vouch for its legitimacy, but I am considering dropping out to pursue a Masters in Data Science instead. As much as I love the Humanities, I sometimes get annoyed with the squishiness of the Social Sciences. Like Sociology is cool, but I want to see the stats to back up the anecdotes. Library Science is nice, but I want to talk about the metadata to get all those infuriatingly messy catalogs in order. Maybe I want to be a little more mathy. Still up in the air.

      Anyway, there are other, fancier pants programs but I went with SJSU based 100% on price!

  12. I am right there with you. Plus, I am turning 30 on New Year’s Freaking Eve, so everyone will be celebrating the coming year and the end of 2014 and I …will be trying not to FLIP OUT over not being in my 20s anymore. And it’s not like my 20s were so great or anything (I mean… they were mixed. Some huge highlights, some really low lows) but … THIRTY?! Every time I think about it, I think about that Friends episode where they all turn 30 and how it’s such a big deal… and how I always thought I would somehow grow up to be like one of them. And now they are all YOUNGER THAN ME?!?! Um, no.

    Also I totally have white hairs and they are quite visible. I figure when they become impossible to ignore maybe I’ll just get highlights? Or something? Or I’ll just go all white like Miranda Priestley and be a total fucking badass? Either or!

  13. Hey, girl! Found your blog through my friend Laura at Buffalo Writes. I know exactly what you mean…I am about to turn 30, but even sooner than you! I also just wrote a post about this…how I’m all of a sudden seeing the signs of aging and it’s freaking me out! I think 30 is that magical age where you think you would have all these amazing life goals accomplished. Anyway, as you probably know already, you’re not alone. Thanks for the read, and good luck on the book!

    1. Hi! welcome! Thank you for commenting. It is helpful to know that so many have gone down the road of turning 30 and survived to tell the tale, more helpful to know that it also gave them the shivers. <3

  14. Girllll I am there. Turning 30 at the end of December! Was always such a smarty pants, went to law school, passed the bar, and now work retail full time. Life is good but it never turns out how you imagined it would. We gotta have a PNW hang!

    1. We really really do. I was just thinking today at work that we need to get down to Portland for a weekend. We should grab a beer when this happens. Also, if you are ever up here definitely let me know. <3

  15. As someone older and wiser (ha! I turned 30 two weeks ago), I can tell you that 30 is not so bad. I didn’t really freak out. I’ve accepted my three grey hairs (right at the front of my head!). I don’t feel all settled yet. I mean, I’m good with my career–school psychology is where it’s at, folks, but Brad is still all unsettled. We have the house and the baby, but there’s still so much uncertainty and anxiety with those things, too. Maybe 32 is the bombdotcom… Maybe I should be freaking out more about being 30… It is weird to think that Brad is the only person I’ll kiss this decade.

    Enjoy the last bits of 29. Enjoy turning 30. Age really is just a number and you certainly don’t look yours and you don’t have to suddenly “grow up” just because you have a certain number of candles on your birthday cake.

  16. I’ve been working on my novel for 10 years now. I’ve never finished an entire draft. I get halfway through and scrap it and start over. It’s the worst. My goal is to finish a solid draft before I die. Just one draft. Forget publishing, forget revisions. If I can just finish ONE FUCKING DRAFT from start to finish I will be a goddamn champion.

    Also, I love my 30s. Love them. I would never go back to my 20s (unless it was to do things to set myself up for even better things in my 30s).

    Not to dismiss your mourning, though. We all have things to mourn. We all struggle with aging and time slipping away. That is real and heavy stuff.

  17. 30 was no problem for me – I was all “bring it on!”, because life just seems to get better every year. BUT, lately, at 31 (and a half), I have been panicking about getting old. Not in the vain, physical sense, but more at the inability to do ALL THE THINGS before we literally run out of time on this year. And the idea that someday, we will likely end up with the diseases that run in our family and how much will that suck. And then, oh god, my husband is going to die one day, and that day is getting closer all the time! And my parents! And so on down the doom spiral. Which is very strange for me, because I am a super positive person.

    So my latest thing is figuring out a way to work in even more of the adventures on my list and getting my life even more to the place I want it to be. Because holy crap, we really do only have so long!

  18. Heh. Yep. I turned 30 in August and it was rough. (But not, at the same time, because it’s just another day.) I’m dong a second bachelors and it just felt really shitty to be like “yay, I’m turning 30…. just in time for senior year.” My boyfriend had a much easier time of it in May, he thinks because he’s everywhere he wants to be, he was about to start a tenure-track job, he had me (d’aw), he liked his apartment, all that jazz. I try to remember that I’m working towards where I want to be, which means I’m right where I want to be now. But yeah, it’s rough. I’m still getting used to it. I don’t think I will be until I graduate and start grad school and feel like I’m in a more age-appropriate setting. I feel like I’m all of my 20’s at once (and I keep thinking that it’s still pretty much early 2000’s, or at least that they were a couple years ago, not TEN), but also so much older than the people I’m around every day, which is a weird mix.

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