Two Sundays ago, there was a great op-ed in the NY Times called “The Terrible 32s” written by Kate Greathead and Teddy Wayne. The title immediately drew me in, because I’m exactly 32 years old myself and I read anything and everything about this life stage, including way too many BuzzFeed listicles. You can kind of guess what the article is about from the title – a humor piece about life in your early 30’s.
Here’s the link:
You can get a taste for it from the first line:
“The Terrible 32s are a perfectly normal stage in your youngish adult’s development, characterized by cranky self-pity over the discrepancy between the life she has and the one she feels entitled to based on popular-culture narratives and her peers’ achievements, such as those of Laura, who recently landed a big promotion, and maybe it’s worth calling her to see if there’s an opening at her company?”
Being 32 myself, I thought this was both hilarious and comforting. The authors poke fun of MFA programs with little post-grad career prospects, hate-reading Facebook wall posts, and more. Have I made you want to read this yet?
All jokes aside, the truth is that not only do we all have different ideas of success, but we all have different timelines for success. Some of my favorite playwrights and authors didn’t even publish work until their fifties or sixties. My classmates and I often talk about how challenging it can be when we hear about all peers getting literary managers or agents, selling scripts, winning awards, etc. and how it makes us feel like we’re behind somehow. What helps is remembering that we’re all on our own journeys. Cliche but true.
And after all, if other people are achieving success in your chosen field, it means it’s possible for you too. When a classmate gets a top-notch agent, I think, okay – there’s hope for me, too.