This weekend just gone I celebrated my 32nd birthday. I’m not sure where those 32 years went, I certainly don’t remember 32 birthdays – and not just for the reason that I was probably too p****d to recall the latter half of them. But I seriously don’t feel that much different to the girl I was at half my age. Of course I’m a lot wiser (yes, really!) these days, far more responsible and much more confident in who I am. But at my core, I have the same morals, the same thoughts, the same fears and beliefs.
I’ve always had an irrational fear of growing old…I distinctly remember turning 20 in my house-share at uni. I lay in bed the night before with an uneasy realisation that my teenage years were behind me. But the most scary thought for me at that time was that my next milestone would be turning 30. And 30 seemed so old to me back then!
As it happened, turning 30 wasn’t so bad after all. I felt ready for it, I was now a responsible adult with a baby on the way and ready to leave the debauchery (!) and dead-end relationships of my 20s in the previous decade. I’d had a blast, but I was ready for a new chapter – starting a family, owning my own home and deciding not to return to full-time employment.
One thing that has most definitely changed during my thirties is my aspirations. I’m not sure this has a lot to do with age, probably far more to do with becoming a mother and a change in priorities. In my twenties I believed that my success in life was directly measured by the amount in my pay cheque and my job title. After all, that’s what I had been working towards my entire life up until that point; I worked (relatively) hard at school so that I could go to uni, get a ‘good degree’ and get a ‘good job’ with a ‘good salary’ that would in turn give me a ‘good life’.
As it turned out, getting pregnant came at a time when I was probably at a turning point in my career. I have no doubt that had I carried on working over the last two years, I would be in the job role that I was always working towards and be earning a salary that would make me feel like I’d ‘made it’ – I’m not talking mega bucks or anything here, but an amount that would actually reflect all of that studying and those long hours put in to prove my worth. It’s true what they say – having children and taking time out definitely does put a woman’s career on hold.
But since becoming happily married, starting a family and finally realising what ‘content’ actually feels like, my idea of a good job and a good life has pretty much turned on its head. I’m really not interested in earning a lot of money and my sense of gratification comes from quality time spent with my family, rather than getting a pat on the back at work. Don’t get me wrong, I personally enjoy working, it gives me a sense of fulfillment and I will always work hard at what I do. But just not at the expense of my own happiness and valuable time spent with those I love.
It’s exciting times for us at the moment as we expand the hubby’s business and I’ve started to take more of a formal role within the company throughout the expansion. This has given me less time to dedicate to my own freelance PR commitments and I suspect that this will become less and less, given that I have zero hours in my day to dedicate to it. I admit that I’ve had a bit of an internal battle with myself – giving up on something your past self has worked so hard towards is not an easy decision. But having the opportunity to build up a family business is also a great opportunity and we have exciting plans for where we want to take it in the future. It will also will give me a better work/life balance in the long run – which is my priority right now.
Of course, I will still be putting my heart and soul into this blog and collaborate with brands wherever I can. This is my happy place and I want to continue to build on what I’ve created so far.
So, exciting times and lots of changes ahead for us. And here’s to being 32!
Did your priorities change when you started a family? Or do you think it’s an age thing?