OP-Ed: why turning 30 is kinda a big deal for women

Silver 30 balloons

For men, turning 30 often doesn’t mean that much (from what I’ve witnessed from my brother, birthdays in general don’t). For women, on the other hand, there is a lot that comes with this milestone age. Since we have any sense of reason, we are being told that once 30 veers its ugly head, we’re done for. This is the age where we’ve cemented who we are going to be for the rest of our life leaving so many women filled with a mixture of trepidation, anxiety, and stress. A simple web search will give you articles from ELLE, The Every Girl, GirlBoss, and mindbodygreen, about all things we need to know about turning 30. Further adding to the ick that wafts in our direction.

Within the Latino culture, you hear how older generations were already married, living on their own, and had kids. It forces you to look back at all the “things” society reminds women prove their worth — being a homemaker, a wife, a girlfriend, a mother. For the women that haven’t reached this “stage,” you often feel like you’re lacking, almost like you’re not whole. But, what about the women that have actively chosen to pursue their careers? If you’re at 30 and you’re not where you thought you’d be, you feel like you’ve lost so much time. Then there is the group of women that find themselves lacking in both (🎶 hello, is it me you’re looking for? 🎶). They are neither where they thought they’d be professionally or personally.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “Y el novio (where’s the boyfriend)” or “Te estas poniendo vieja, necesitas darle nietos a tú mamá (you’re getting old, you need to give your mother grandchildren),” I’d have a six figure savings account. I’ve had a myriad of frustrated conversations with my mother over just how infuriating these questions are, only to be told “they only ask because they want to see you happy.” Well, who said that I wasn’t? I may not have taken the path I thought I would in life, but I’m damn proud of how far I’ve come. I am well-aware that the older guard means well, and like I told my very Dominican and religious uncle, it’s not the question that bothers, it’s the frequency with which it is asked and who it comes from. Normally, the aunts that I am close to, don’t ask me those questions, it’s normally the ones that I see sporadically, who pop that out the moment they see me.

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash30

I love all of my aunts, regardless of how often I see them, but I feel like there is so much more that they could ask. Being reduced to your uterus sucks the same way men being reduced to their ability to provide for their family does. I’m aware of certain dynamics and “traditions,” but how many stories have you heard of women (and men) forced into what society (and their families) dictated was the norm ended up being severely unhappy? How many older folks have you heard of that “co-habit” a space rather than live in a home they both love and nurture? 30, and any age after that, is a celebration of life and shouldn’t become what others tell you it should be because that’s how they lived. Yes, I know — you shouldn’t care what others think. But following that philosophy, I should give two shits about your opinion either (hypothetically speaking, not really saying that to you, dear reader).

At 30, you have officially shed the uncertainty of your 20s, and you know yourself a bit better than you did upon turning 20. The week I was turning 30, I felt this sudden surge of oneness (I realize how “earthy” that sounds). This feeling is one that wrapped me up mentally and is one that I hadn’t felt before, ever. And three friends of mine — a feisty Dominican Virgo, an incredibly leveled Dominican Libra, and a the sweetest and toughest Swiss Cancer — both assured me that this was something that came with the age. And I kinda dig it. I look around and I am surrounded by so much more than my ancestors were, reminding me of all the abundance of possibilities that are out there.

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