*Image above via Bei Bei Wei.
When I was twenty-one, someone told me I was a late bloomer. “All you Nurmi girls are,” he said, referring to my three sisters and I. I was too distracted by the implied compliment — that he saw me as a woman blossoming — to register the prescience of his observation.
Because only now, on the downslope of my 30s, do I feel I am in full bloom.
By that I mean I feel thoroughly myself, from the crown of my head to the reach of my fingertips, no matter where I am. I am me in the drop-off line at my daughter’s school, as I wait for my vaccine at Columbia Hospital, while engrossed in conversation with my four-year-old daughter, when on the phone with my real estate agent, throughout the musing conversations with our lovely caregiver (“but do you think if we moved bath up that might help…?”), as I write this blog, amidst running into loose acquaintances on the street. I am less likely to contort to accommodate the expectations or interests of others, no longer easily mottled by criticism and comparison.
A small barometer, but in my 20s, I hated when people would ask: “Do you know about such-and-such?” (Insert any specialized area of information: the embroilments of a besmirched local politician, “earnest money” in a real estate transaction, the nuanced politics of Syria, the difference between “friends and family” versus “angel” versus “seed” money in early start-up financing, tax credits pertaining to the birth of children or purchase of property, etc.) If I had even a hazy understanding of what the person was getting at, I’d nod to keep the conversation rolling and save face. Nowadays, if I don’t know something, I admit it: “No.” I have come to a place where I view such admissions as implied earnestness rather than stupidity. I suppose I would rather apologize up front for ignorance than pay the price of being exposed as a fraud and losing long-term credibility. (Moreover, most people are thrilled to explain something they know well to the uninitiated.)
In short: I am me, I am me, I am me, in a much more fully realized form than I had previously imagined.
In this sense, I find myself an increasingly reliable companion. I anticipate my own reactions and am attentive when I see the potential for hurt or disappointment. We had some mildly bad news recently, and I recognized the sensation of despondency without letting it take control of my day: “Here comes that feeling again,” I said, and I readied myself. “It’s OK to feel disappointed. Let’s be disappointed. But know that this, too, shall pass.” In the aftermath, I looked back on myself and thought, “Hey, good job, you!”
Of course, there are moments of self-doubt and failure (you can see one chronicled in now-excruciating, self-indulgent detail here), but I am increasingly capable of expedient recovery.
A friend of mine, noting a particularly accessorized look I was sporting on a casual Tuesday, complimented: “Well aren’t you turned out today!”
That’s just it: in my late 30s, I find myself emotionally turned out: more well-equipped, more fully-clad.
Maybe, though, this is the way of the world: that we come into our own in our 30s. That we begin to curl up, cat-like, against our own idiosyncrasies and interests and foibles and strengths, as we tiptoe towards 50. Maybe what I am experiencing is not belated after all; maybe I needed the slow then fast accumulation of life experiences, losses, and joys, to bring me to this phase of maturation. And maybe I am neither early nor late after all. Maybe this is just what it means to bloom.
+As much as I’ve disabused myself of the notion of being a late bloomer in this post, my mother recently gave my children this great book: Leo the Late Bloomer. I love the way it reminds children that each of us travels at our own speed.
+The Sephora sale opened up to all membership tiers today, and I shared THE ONE thing I think you should buy from this promotion here. (But all my favorite beauty finds here, across a range of stores.)
+This dress is so cheerful, and how cute would it be with this similar, but not exactly matching dress on your little?
+I think these are going to be my new go-to for birthday gifts for girlfriends this year.
+Just the cutest outdoor chair cushions at a great price. Another chic option here.
+Love this mint green color!
+Adore these lanterns for an al fresco dinner.