I've had multiple of these lately, that moment when you realize that you’re nothing like the future fantasy self you ignorantly created back in your mid-twenties. Only a handful of days left until my mid-thirties turns from fantasy, to reality. And with every second closer, those future me fantasies have begun overstaying their welcome.

“This is what thirty-four looks like?” Is something I have said silently to myself more over the past year. Looking at myself from the inside out makes it look anything but glamorous, and more like the chaotic financially broke mess that it is. Slightly terrified to be entering into my mid-thirties, yes. But the irony of age, is once you get out of your twenties, it seems to get a little easier being comfortable in your own skin. Age is less important.  And the ability to actually begin appreciating and understanding how all that excruciating growth you endured during that blurry decade really did you some good.

Break ups have been one thing I have found to be of the worst, especially if there's mutual friends and interests involved. After breaking hearts, getting my own heart broken, and traveling the world solo, I now find it hard to not want to be friends (or at least acquaintances) with ex’s. I have found that the older I get, the easier it is to cope with and heal from heartache, and rather, come out the other side a stronger and better woman. Whether our hearts get calloused over, or we gain more mature coping skills, the relationship process seems to get less complicated.

Another avenue of life that I found to be quite different in my thirties than my twenties has been friendships and social life. Your best friends will always be your best friends no matter the distance, the time apart, or the circumstances at large. But lets face it, no one stays in any same situation forever. Moving, marriage, careers and having kids are a few of the life events that can alter your friendship dynamics. When I became pregnant at twenty-seven, I had zero women even pondering the idea of procreating. And even though I rarely see that old school group of ladies, when I do, it’s like not a second of time has gone by.

Traveling is another thing I have found to change with getting older. While backpacking through Southeast Asia for two months, I stayed in places where the toilet was a dug-up hole in the ground and electricity was run from a generator that turned off at dusk. Not that I am complaining–these places and experiences are unforgettable treasures that I feel grateful to have, but that being said, my travel priorities have since matured. I will admit that luxury, comfort and cleanliness are much more of a priority for me now. Getting an air bnb versus hostels and not having to skip meals to save money are the kind of things that have become more of a necessity, and less of a commodity.

Everything happens for a reason. and lets face it, it's not all rainbows and unicorns.

Life is simultaneously both beautiful and cruel. It's what you do with it, how you handle it, and how you move forward that matters most.

Even though I am not the woman my early twenties self fantasized about being, I've made it this far, through more than I ever thought possible.No one died, and I'm happy. So lets cheers to getting older, and loving ourselves through it all.