Celebrating 35

Today is my 35th birthday and in true Jen (and cliché) fashion, I’m feeling reflective. I started to gather a list of things I’m proud of and lessons I’ve learned, but the déjà vu creeped in. Haven’t I done this before?

Sure did! Five years ago, I wrote a blog post highlighting 30 Things By 30 – a list of things you should do or know by the time your 30th birthday greets you. At the time I wrote this list, I was living in San Diego (a big adventure for me), had just taken a job that would change the trajectory of my career, and Hank, unknowingly to me, was about to pop the question. Life was good. Challenging in all the right ways and full of possibilities.

Five years later, I’m in a similarly magical place. A wedding, a dog, a move back to Arizona, a home purchase, two kids, and two businesses later (oh, and a pandemic) – life is challenging in the all the right ways and full of possibilities. I certainly have a different lens on the world as I now look at it as a wife, mother, and business owner, but everything on that list still holds true. Five years and many substantial life changes later, and the list firmly stands.

So here I am at 35, older and a bit wiser. I honestly thought 35 would feel older, but if I’m being honest, I still feel quite young. Interestingly, those older than me will probably assert that I am young and those younger than me will think I’m a bit delusional (you’re aging whether you like it or not!)

35 is a milestone in women’s lives that is designed to make us feel old. If I were to get pregnant now (don’t get your hopes up), it would be classified as a “geriatric pregnancy.” I now have to check the box for a different age bracket on demographics forms. And it’s “all downhill to 40” from here.

But for me, 35 feels powerful. While I continue to discover parts of myself and pieces of my life are shifting, my foundation is solid. So instead of feigning the approach of this birthday, I’m embracing it. I made it 35 and I’m only 35. I’ve built a beautiful life so far and there’s still so much possibility ahead of me. And that is worth celebrating.


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