Saturday, March 6, 2010

The May Queen: Women on Life, Love, Work and Pulling It All Together in Your 30s

The title of The May Queen is pretty self-explanatory. This is a collection of essays written by women in their 30s talking about how they learned that turning the big 3-0 wasn't the end of the world and how their lives really came together in their 30s. I'm not exactly sure how I felt about this book. I had very high hopes for it. I am in my 30s. When I saw this book in a magazine, I thought it was a great idea so I got it on inter-library loan to read. I had hoped to be inspired by the book but the essays left me a little flat. It's not that the essays were bad. In fact, they were very well written and entertaining for the most part. I just couldn't relate to the essays. Most of the women that contributed essays to the book found their happiness by getting married and having children in their 30s. My road doesn't travel down that direction right now. As a matter of fact, I can't see myself as getting married with all the other things going on in my life. But that doesn't mean that my life is unfulfilled because I'm in my 30s and haven't settled down with a husband and children.

I've learned a lot in my 30s. I quit my job and went back to college in  my late 20s, graduated in my 30s. In that time, I learned a lot about people and starting over. I moved away from  my family and learned to stand on my own two feet. I lived alone and learned how to live with myself and not be afraid to have myself over for dinner. Moving to a strange town on my own forced me to face my fears, let down my guard a little and let others in even if my heart got a little bruised along the way.

When a medical tragedy struck my family, I learned just how important that family back home was and how powerful of an emotion familial love is. Together my family has learned to lean on one another. We've learned to be grateful for what we have. I've learned that, even though we might argue and fight, my sister is an amazing woman (who turned 29 for the first time this year) that will be there for me when I need her. Together, she and I can tackle any obstacle put before us. I've also found out that God gave me some pretty amazing friends that love me and accept me for who I am (what's more they listen to my endless theories about Lost and what I heard on such-and-such podcast and my undying love for a certain Firefly captain).

I'm 34 years old and what I've learned most in my 30s is to trust in myself, my family and friends, to stand on my own two feet, that succeeding in life isn't about making the most money or possessing things, and mostly I've learned that every once in a while, I've got to trust in others to take care of me.

The essays weren't bad, I just wish the editor had worked harder to find essays that reflected women being strong and "pulling it together" without relying on a man or children because I know I'm not the only woman out there that's found other pathways to happiness.


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