This is my sister and I 30 years ago, taken by my mom or my dad.
I turned 30 this week and must say I actually feel pretty good, possibly even better than ever. Of course there are little downsides as always, some of them are so personal that I don’t want to talk about them, but all together life is good. Riding the big three feels like an accomplishment, and I can say that I have reached pretty much all my goals since the big two, though I usually don’t phrase or stick to them.
A few weeks ago I found my yearbook from graduation and flipped through it, embarrassed by a few things, but when I turned to my page, I grinned: When asked where I see myself in ten years, I answered something like this: “I will live in a beautiful Berlin apartment with a black cat and a wonderful man and will be a photographer or journalist or both.”
Funny enough my black cat got interchanged with mini-me (much better choice) and I got that man (since seven years, oh my!) and that apartment and that job. And that’s actually so much more than I ever imagined. Deciding to try to make a living as a photographer after trial and error as a journalist/journalism student for a few years, I was never sure if I would make it. I am so incredibly grateful to myself for making that choice, and to my friends and strangers for encouraging me to follow that path. I am not making big money, but I can support a modest life with a few extras while I feel I have never sold my soul or gave up my ideals on any job (and I swear I won’t in the future). I know so little people who are completely happy with what they do, but I can honestly say I am.
When finding out about my pregnancy and even more in the many sleepless months last year with restless mini-me, sometimes I doubted I could ever be a fulltime photographer again. I felt like my talent had vanished and I couldn’t imagine that my energy would ever return. Nine months later I look back on some of the most successful months of my career, some of them sleepless still, but I made it and I’m proud. So many people have warned and annoyed me about the “baby trap” and all I can say is that we live in a very supportive country, and even though things aren’t always fair and easy, we should be grateful for all the support we get and use it. Even though it was tempting, N and I didn’t use his (or my) parental leave for holidays, but for me to find back into work, to recruit jobs and to invest into the time after. And though there are always stupid people who judge you, who don’t book you because you’re a mom or don’t understand why you prefer not to work on weekends or during holidays, or why you aren’t willing to work for free, just forget about them and look for other jobs, and don’t judge them, because they don’t know better. And when I got to the point where I realized this, it was heaven.
When I was younger I was scared of getting older, but now it feels so much better than I ever imagined. Though I definitely weigh a few kilograms more than pre-pregnancy, there are lines and grey hairs showing up already, and I dropped my iPhone into the bathtub on my birthday, I have never been as much in peace with myself as now. It takes something to rise my temper these days and usually when things go wrong I stay cool and am sure that everything will be alright.
And so, cheers to the 30. ♥
Photo: Carolin Weinkopf via iPhone