In March, I’ll turn 35 years old. Kinda crazy to think about. I still feel like I just entered my thirties, the decade so many people told me would be the best of my life. So far, that’s been true for me. All those cliches about getting older were validated – you’re more confident in your own skin and you give less sh**s about what other people think. I’m still working on the comparison game however; it’s hard for me not to look at folks my age who have high-powered careers and families, and wonder why I’m eating frozen burritos in my apartment with no kitchen.
But the thing is, while I can compare myself to other people my age, I also realize I made the choice to be a writer – to follow this path where nothing is predictable and quality work doesn’t always correlate with dollar bills. I knew full well that making solid money from this wasn’t the primary goal. And the truth is, knowing I have this deep passion for storytelling and that I’m trying to pursue it as a career is way more valuable to me than a six-figure paycheck. (Though I eventually want that, too!). I like to think that the longer and harder the journey, the sweeter the success will feel when I get there.
I feel excited about turning 35. It feels substantial. I feel substantial.
So, I find it somewhat hilarious that in an interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump talked about women’s ages and said: “What is it at 35, Howard?” Trump wondered aloud. “It’s called checkout time.”
I can’t formulate a better reply to this than writer Michelle Ruiz’s in her Vogue article, On Turning 35, the Age at Which Donald Trump Dumps His Girlfriends.
Here’s how she reacted:
But, upon further consideration, I think Trump is exactly right. Women at 35 are “too experienced.” Too experienced to see themselves as a man’s possession to be “checked out” on. Too experienced to constantly second-guess themselves and whether or not they deserve their compliments, their jobs, or their promotions. Too experienced, for sure, to sell their souls to Oompa Loompa–color sugar daddies with penchants for pussy grabbing. Today, at 35, I’m largely out of fucks to give, and, to borrow a phrase from Trump, as “nasty” as I want to be. I’m more willing to speak my mind than ever, and I care significantly less than I did 10 years ago about what other people think. And, as a bonus, I like my body and my bank account balance better now, too.
A little life experience will do that for you. Many 35-year-old women, myself included, have been around the block, or even the whole neighborhood. We’ve been dumped, disregarded, laid off, and underestimated; made mistakes, taken chances; failed miserably; in some cases, even hit rock bottom. We’ve lost friends and parents and found a little more of our ourselves. (Lose a friend in his 20s, or see a college classmate lose her toddler son to cancer, and suddenly, complaining about a 35th birthday loses its fun). We’ve gone from assistants to bosses, gotten married, birthed babies, or done none of the above, and discovered our own resilience all the same. If this makes women of 35 undesirable to Trump, or anyone else, then, as fellow 35-year-old Beyoncé would say: Boy, bye.
That’s one of the great things about being in your 30s – you don’t have time for people who find you undesirable or unworthy. You know to never settle for people who don’t fully support you. As our first President so wisely said:
“Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.”