Pieces of Me

Twenty Thirty Forty

My twenties were all about ticking boxes. University, tick. Job, tick. Engaged, tick. House, tick. Married, tick. Travel, tick. Tick, tick and tick. It wasn’t so much that I was driven or determined. I was simply free falling through the spirited days that were my twenties. It wasn’t even that I thought I was invincible or infallible. I just didn’t think. I went from one thing to the next devouring life. Drinking it all up till I was bursting at the seams.

I look back on those days and my heart swells. The university years. The ‘just got a job’ years. Even the years when we first moved into our house. Gosh it was good. The kind of good that comes from youth. That comes from brazen courage and a relentless sense of entitlement that life was there to be had.

The years were filled with gratitude and good friends. Memories made and moments that still now I feel linger in a time space dynamic that if I wished hard enough and closed my eyes, I could almost touch.

My twenties ended like a switch. It flicked over in a way I never expected. In a way I thought was only an old wives tale.


The switch was having a baby. I vividly remember waking up one day and that is all I wanted. And not so much wanted but had a primal need for. Baby. Baby. Baby.

My thirties were spent in a dense delirium of newborn sweetness and heavy headed fog that only comes from bearing children. Six weeks old AJ was, cradled in my arms on my thirtieth birthday. I won’t ever forget that night. We had a house full of people, there to celebrate my birthday and to coo and cluck over AJ.

I spent most of the night locked away in the spare room cradling AJ away from the noise. My sister and I took turns to stay with him, comfort him. I felt annoyed. Not so much that AJ was unsettled or bothered. But here I was for the first time facing a feeling I had never felt before. I wanted to be with my son. I wanted to be locked up in the quiet spare room, breast feeding and dozing off to sleep. I did not want to be out there with the party, being the hostess or the attention.

That night defined being thirty. Two years after AJ, PJ was born. My identity slipped further away from me, each time I looked into my children’s eyes. I no longer knew my reflection. My reflection was them.


If I stretch my hand far enough and stand on my tippy toes I can almost touch my forties. The invitations are not flooding in, but the trickle has become more constant. Glamourous and sophisticated soirées celebrating forty as the new thirty, or the new black, or the new chapter. I guess it is all the same.

There is no dense newborn delirium or brazen twenties courage, there seems to be more peace, more constant as this new decade ever so slowly dawns.

Perhaps the reflection is shifting. The haze simmering into a new found knowing. Somehow it feels like this next part, in all of it unknown, is going to be about me. Not that the twenties and thirties were not about me. But perhaps this next part is going to be about a me I have only ever caught small glimpses of.

Miss Forty, though our rendezvous is still a little while away, I have been thinking a lot about you lately. When that fateful day does come and we do meet, I think I will be ready to do this. May her words be brazen and her stories dense with life.

What has defined your twenties, thirties or forties?


Linking up with #IBOT
Did you catch last week’s post The Christening Gown?

  • Pip (@melbournelass)

    I like your perspective and marking all the decades. I’m not able to categorise mine quite so neatly but I do hope I steal some of that focus back on the inner in the forties as I think sometimes that’s when others in your world benefit too. x

  • LydiaCLee

    40’s are fine – it’s the teen years that are defining (when your baby is a teen). That said, we have a lot of friends and relatives going thru the wringer, so maybe 40’s are just a crappy time (aren’t I a bubble of joy this morning?)

  • Lovely post, Josefa. My twenties were filled with naivety, but also growth. My thirties have been all about change, perspective and finding me. Like you, I’m almost touching that bit four-zero and I agree. I can see they will be filled with a calm contentment that feels exactly like where I should be. And maybe even a little wisdom.

  • The decades are so defined aren’t they? My 20’s started off much the same as yours. The happiest of happiest and all the fun things. The later part of them became about children and discovering motherhood. Now, I’ve just tipped into my 30 ‘s and it’s all about the kids but I too imagine a real turning point when I get to 40. A new individual will emerge I suspect and I look forward to discovering her. Lovely reflections Josefa x

  • I can really relate to this. I had a 3 day old baby and was still in hospital on my 30th. I managed to avoid it altogether apart from a mudcake that my Dad brought in. I’m still a few years away from 40 but getting older doesn’t bother me anymore. I’m loving my 30s. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. #TeamIBOT

  • My timeline sounds similar to yours. Married in my late twenties, first baby at 29 and four more before I turned 37. I waved goodbye to forty over a decade ago though 🙂

  • I extended my twenties a bit into my 30’s and had kids a little bit older, now I’m 43 and am loving it. Seems that you gain a different perspective of life the older you get and for me 40’s seems to be a shedding of the old insecurities (well not all but a lot of them).

  • Beautiful, beautiful words as per usual. I think I’m quite similar to you. My twenties were also spent crossing things off my list. It was a time of big self-discovery for me also. I was young/naive for my age and I had a lot of growing up to do. My thirties are very much muddling through motherhood and as I too approach my forties, I also feel like I’m going through another period of self-discovery. I feel like I’m almost forty and I’m still learning who I am or perhaps I’m working out who I want to be at this stage of my life… xo

  • What a gorgeous post. I’m hitting mid forty this year and feeling reflective and grieved. I’m wondering as I approach 50 (OMG), if the experiences and time lost as a result of my mother leaving when I was a teen and me being the eldest might need to be revisited or if too much time hasn’t already slipped by.

  • Oh I really loved this, what a beautiful way with words. I feel like I lost my twenties in a wave of grief and infertility but goodness did come in marriage and travel and I did have my son in my arms finally at age 29 (we started trying at 25). Finn folowed at 30 and the last 3 years have been a blur of motherhood and responsibility. I’m hoping the second half can be a time to rediscover myself too.

  • I had a baby three months after turning twenty, so my twenties were all about babies. These days… well my kids are growing up which gives more time for me to be me again, whoever that is. I don’t think I’ll ever go ‘back to me,’ because I don’t know what I’m going back to. I just sit and pray that I’ll find out who I’m supposed to be, and be her, because I think she will be the best version of myself.

  • My twenties were very similar. Finish study, getting a job, getting married and having babies when I was 26. I turn 31 on Thursday and i am in disbelief that I am at this stage of my life. But I’m also excited. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my 30’s and 40’s hold. X

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect

    I didn’t really know who I was in my 20’s and found myself in my 30’s … Someone I seem to have lost myself again but I know if I open my eyes I will be back again #ibot

  • Hugzilla

    You have just absolutely nailed it for me, in a very eerie way! I loved my 20’s – they were all about me – and my 30’s so far have been all about the kids. Like you, I am close to hitting my 40’s and I’m really hoping that I start to claw back a bit of myself again – a balance between my 20’s and my 30’s.

  • What a lovely post 🙂 I am still in my early thirties…but my 20s were fuelled by experiences, which for me was uni, job, travel, marriage and babies. My 30s have so far been very productive and creative. No idea what the future holds!

  • If I were to write this post, it would probably read the same…Definetely 20’s were all about me and being carefree. Lots of fun and no responsibility. ha ha!! 30’s have been the kids and wishing now that I did save more money and do something better with it all. I am definitely looking fwd to the big 4 0 in four and a bit years time. Hopefully the freedom that might come with no more babies to tend will be like a breath of fresh air again…Its all very exciting though…..

  • It sounds depressing to write out like this, but my 20s have been a giant weight of responsibility as the sole income earner on contracts and an unrecognised carer. I feel like my 30s (which I hit later this year) will be more like my 20s are supposed to have been like.

  • Lilly Mary

    I liked my twenties, enjoyed my thirties, but LOVE my forties. So much of the angst is gone (not all of it), I’m ‘more’ ok with just being me, I understand the saying “I am enough” and I have a greater sense of ‘calm’. And slowly, slowly, I am getting comfortable with listening to my inner voice, not the external chatter of the world trying to define who I am. It’s not that all the bumps and bruises stop overnight, just that I feel a greater sense of familiarity… which lends courage in the tough times that this too shall pass and gratitude in the amazing times that it is all so precious. I am forty (three) hear me roar! xxxx

  • Emily Morgan

    I had serious angst during the year I was 29 turning 30. I thought about all the things I hadn’t done yet or hadn’t achieved and felt as if I’d lost or wasted my youth! Then my birthday came and I went, “oh. Same old me. No worries.” – serious anticlimax! But it did spur me in a lot of ways. I became a parent in my thirties and began the long and scary journey of working for myself. Now I’m about to turn 36 and I feel I have achieved and worked harder in the last six years than in the decade before. And learned so much too. So although I don’t have a lot to show for it yet (except my two gorgeous kids!), I am feeling good about my thirties! May your forties be productive, happy, successful and full of joy and utterly lacking in regrets!

© 2020 always josefa - designed by adelphimou