the third floor

When I was younger and imagined myself at 30, the image was so defined, so clearly planned out. Marriage, children, the white picket fence, the dog running around. This was the image of being a grown up. But as the years stretched out, became closer and closer to the apparent bench mark that I had set myself…what exactly does being a grown up mean? What exactly does being a fully fledged adult entail? At thirty one and five days I have none of the above but does this make me less happier than the picture I had painted in my head all those years ago? Does not having those things make me any less of an adult? I pay my weekly rent, I pay my bills, I buy expensive clothes if I want to, I go on holidays more than twice a year, I can afford to feed myself rather well in face, perhaps if I am determined I have actual substantial savings in the bank. I read an article earlier today by Sarah Wilson in which she muses that there are no grown ups. She says that we suspect this when we are young, but we can only confirm it once we have reached a point where we have responsibilities. Everyone is just winging it, just some do it more confidently. I resonated with this sentiment. I felt like I have known it for years but was always still waiting in the wings to be handed the baton to adulthood when the time was right. To be given the secret password or the secret key which opened this world of adulthood I was not privy to.

It was a pretty nice delight to wake up on my thirty first birthday and not feel the rush of disappointment within myself that I had not ticked all the boxes I had set out for myself all those years before. Yes I had a year to settle into this new 30 year skin but the angst is still there no matter how balanced & grounded you think you are. The voices still badger you in those dark moments when you least expect it. Not that I like taking from other people but I met an incredible inspiring woman, who turned 31 the day before me and she referred to this this time in our lives as reaching the third floor. I loved the simple sentiment of the phrase. I have reached the third floor and I am making my way to the fourth floor but which each passing year I will continue to conquer, dominate and defeat the demons that stop me from being the exceptional woman I have moulded myself into to get to this point, to reach this level in my life. This is a time to celebrate the achievements in my life no matter how small, no matter how insignificant. I do not have the husband or the back seat full of children or the beautiful home but what I have in return is no less significant. No less worthy of patting myself on the back for a job well done in getting myself to this point in my life. So to anyone freaking out that the third floor is looming or that the third floor has arrived and it still makes them feel like they should have one foot on the second floor. I say to hell with that, embrace this time in our lives. The third floor is the new black. To the women who are my kindred spirits and are still waiting for the mirage on the horizon that seems to never get closer to how life should be, I say let’s change the landscape that sits on the horizon into one that defines the women who we have become not the ones we think we should be. This past year has been one of challenges but with that comes the bountiful rewards,  the experiences I have opened myself up to, the homecoming to my friends and family for whom I cannot thank enough for their belief in me. I cannot wait to see what 31 has in stall for me and the new adventures that are just around the corner.

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