Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

An Ode to My 30s On the Eve of My 40th Birthday

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(Me, about midway through my 30s).

Today is the last day of my 30s. Tomorrow my first-born starts kindergarten and I turn 40, and I am mostly excited — but a little nostalgic — about both these milestones.

My 30s were pretty fantastic, albeit exhausting. I fell in love with Drew, I almost lost him (but didn’t), I finished grad school, I saved some money and moved to New York and in with Drew, I got a job at The Frisky where Dear Wendy was popularized, I paid off all my credit card debt, I got engaged, I got married, my student loan debt was paid off (thanks to Drew), I moved to Brooklyn, I launched this very website, I got pregnant, I had Jackson, I welcomed my parents back to the states after forty years abroad, I lost my grandfather, I had a miscarriage, I got pregnant with Joanie, we all moved into a new (slightly bigger) apartment in the neighborhood, Joanie was born, Jackson started public school, I lost my father-in-law, and I adjusted to life as a mother of two young children.

Along the way, I made (and lost some) wonderful friends — some of whom I fully expect to still be in my life 10, 20, maybe even 50 years from now. I appeared on the Today show, was quoted in People Magazine and on NPR and in The Washington Post among others, and my column and essays were published on various websites and publications. And I got to travel to some amazing places: Costa Rica, Paris, Barcelona, Seville, Lisbon, Memphis, New Orleans, Boston, China, London, Vancouver, Austin, Miami, Vermont, and I’m sure other places I am forgetting at the moment because I’m a day away from 40 and my memory sometimes fails me.

It was an eventful decade (as one’s 30s usually are). Thank you, 30s, for being everything I hoped for and more. And thank YOU for letting me share some of it with you and for providing support, commentary, insight, and commiseration along the way. I’m grateful, humbled, a little tired, incredibly excited, and a wee bit nervous to see what the next decade holds (lots of cake, I hope). Cheers!

47 comments… add one
  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine September 7, 2016, 1:11 pm

    Happy almost birthday Wendy! I hope your 40s are utterly awesome ?

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    MissDre September 7, 2016, 1:19 pm

    Happy Birthday Wendy! And thanks for posting this… I’ve been feeling a bit shitty about turning 30, feeling like I should have been married (or at least engaged) by now and this post reminded me that there is SO MUCH awesomeness still to come 🙂

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 7, 2016, 1:29 pm

      Oh my god, come on — you’re a baby!

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        MissDre September 7, 2016, 3:25 pm

        Friday morning, I got a text message from my mother outlining the revised child tax benefits (apparently the government has increased the payments for each child). She then followed up with TIME TO HAVE A BABY! (she thinks I should find a sperm donor and get pregnant asap).

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy September 7, 2016, 3:52 pm

        Wait, you’re 29, right? Your mom sounds nuts (no offense).

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        MissDre September 7, 2016, 3:58 pm

        I’m 30 as of a few months ago and she really wants to be a grandma lol

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster September 8, 2016, 10:54 am

        I’m 31 in just over a week and my mom told me two days ago that I “need to have a baby already.”

        But my mom IS nuts, so I take it with a grain of salt. Haha.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki September 7, 2016, 4:03 pm

        That… is insane. I mean, I’m all about the tax benefit, but there’s plenty of time!

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        SpaceySteph September 7, 2016, 4:11 pm

        No amount of tax benefit can possibly outweigh how freaking expensive it is to birth and then raise a child.

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        MissDre September 7, 2016, 4:23 pm

        Haha that’s what I said. She worked out that I’d be eligible for like… $600 a month or something? (yes she did the math) and I was just thinking uhhhh I think it costs more than that.

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        SpaceySteph September 7, 2016, 6:35 pm

        Yeah um daycare in my low cost of living area is like $900 a month.
        Is “Grandma” ready to babysit all day every day to save you that cost, too? Otherwise, you’re already coming out behind before food, clothes, healthcare, or a single boppy.

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        Vathena September 8, 2016, 9:21 am

        She can’t possibly be serious. Daycare (in a licensed center) for an infant where I live is $1700-$2000 per month. We have amazing insurance and still had to pay about $6000 out of pocket for pregnancy/birth medical costs. That’s WITHOUT any special neonatal care. Then there’s the unpaid maternity leave. Diapers/wipes/formula/clothing/carseat/bassinet/breast pump/bottles/stroller and on and on. THEN you get to educational costs. And there’s the possibility of having a special-needs child and the medical costs associated with that. Not to mention if you are still hoping to find a partner, it’s a lot harder to find the time to date, and then to winnow out the men who aren’t up for dating a single mom, or the creeps who are looking to exploit your child. So yeah, your mom is basically crazy!

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        Gwyneth6 September 8, 2016, 7:22 am

        Haha in a similar vein but crazier I think, we have a few kids, and my husband’s 5 cousins are also still children, you know, generational age difference, so my MIL knows how much money they get with a pretty low income and sometimes no income and 5 kids and told us we should apply for welfare instead of my husband working. It’s definitely enough to take care of your kids but maybe not enough to also have nice things and buy new items for your kids. I like to buy a lot of items on Craigslist and thrift stores as it is, can’t resist a nice discount.

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    ktfran September 7, 2016, 1:22 pm

    Happy, Happy 40th Birthday Eve to you!

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    Taylor September 7, 2016, 1:31 pm

    Happy happy Wendy! I was just thinking today how much I like this site, I love reading your writing, and you’ve done a lovely job community building. Have a terrific birthday, and may every decade surpass the one before.

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  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl September 7, 2016, 1:33 pm

    happy happy birthday wendy!

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny September 7, 2016, 2:13 pm

    Happy happy birthday Wendy! Thank you for everything that you do! I love how eventful the last decade has been for you and how you put it into perspective- It makes me optimistic for how eventful the rest of my 30’s will be! 😀

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    anonymousse September 7, 2016, 2:19 pm

    Happy birthday, Wendy!

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki September 7, 2016, 4:04 pm

    Happy birthday, Wendy! My husband is turning 40 in a few months and he seems to be struggling with it, so I may have to share this with him.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 7, 2016, 5:16 pm

      Really? Why struggle? If you’re alive and kicking and have people to love who love you back and a roof over your head and food in the fridge (or good takeout nearby), then 40 is a gift.

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    SpaceySteph September 7, 2016, 4:07 pm

    Happy Birthday Wendy!

    I just turned 30 last week, but I’m feeling pretty good about it… like I’ve accomplished enough in my 20s and am ready to kiss them goodbye. 30s are shaping up pretty good so far.
    Although I’m a little melancholy that a) I don’t look half as fabulous at 30 as you do in that pic up there at mid-thirty and b) most of the “Things that will happen in your 30’s” have already happened. Am I getting old before my time?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 7, 2016, 5:13 pm

      You’re just advanced is all. I mean, you *are* a rocket scientist, right?

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        SpaceySteph September 7, 2016, 6:36 pm

        Haha, that must be it!

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    theotherbarb September 7, 2016, 4:28 pm

    Happy birthday, Wendy! The “Fab Forties” were really fab for me, and I’m sure they will be for you, too!

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  • Portia

    Portia September 7, 2016, 4:32 pm

    Happy birthday Wendy! That is quite a list of things you did in your 30’s! I turned 30 a few months ago and I’ve been feeling a little physically worn down recently, but you’re making me a little more optimistic for the next decade. 🙂

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 7, 2016, 5:12 pm

      Be optimistic! The 30s are so great.

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      • Portia

        Portia September 8, 2016, 7:36 am

        Thanks Wendy! I will. I just opened an Etsy shop, we’re planning an exotic trip next year, and I seem to be doing well at my job, so who knows what my 30’s will bring…

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        Samba September 8, 2016, 9:46 am

        What’s your Etsy shop, Portia? Cool!

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      • Portia

        Portia September 8, 2016, 11:30 am

        Thanks Samba! It’s still a work in progress and only has a few pieces, but: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClayAndLacePottery

        Oh, and I figured out how to make a coupon code for 30% off, if anyone’s interested: NEWSHOP

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      ktfran September 7, 2016, 5:23 pm

      I’ll echo Wendy. I’m more than halfway through my 30s and so far, I’m loving it. I’m more confident and happier, and care much less what others think. I can’t wait to see what the next decade brings.

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      • juliecatharine

        Juliecatharine September 7, 2016, 9:28 pm

        I completely agree; my 30s have been challenging but in a good way. I finally feel like when I stumble in life I can brush myself off, learn something, and move forward…the confidence that gives me is something I didn’t have in my 20s and I wouldn’t trade it.

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      • Portia

        Portia September 8, 2016, 7:44 am

        Thanks to both of you! The first year at my job really tested my confidence, especially because it was so different than anything I’d done. But I think a lot of that was due to a terrible manager (I’m no longer under him), so it’s gotten a ton better since then. Here’s to some awesome years to come for us all!

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  • Just Max

    Just Max September 7, 2016, 5:00 pm

    Happy Birthday Wendy!

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  • FireStar

    Firestar September 7, 2016, 5:18 pm

    Happy birthday Wendy! Here is hoping it just keeps getting better!

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    Baccalieu September 7, 2016, 5:53 pm

    Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished Wendy and have a very happy birthday.

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  • hfantods

    hfantods September 7, 2016, 9:56 pm

    Happy birthday Wendy!!

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    d2 September 7, 2016, 10:20 pm

    Happy Birthday! I hope the next 40 years are as good as the first!

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    JoWino September 7, 2016, 10:55 pm

    Happy birthday Wendy! I am so glad I started following this website 2 years ago, thank you for all that you do on here!!

    My mom is a few days shy of turning 50. She was just telling me that although turning 30 was hard for her, she was so excited for 40! (and even more excited for 50!). 40 was where she found her true inner confidence. She finally became in control of her life choices and it is where myself and my 3 siblings realized how beautiful she is inside and out!!

    I hope the next decade is as jam packed with awesomeness like the last! 🙂

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    rocketgirl September 8, 2016, 9:45 am

    Happy, Happy Birthday! Make your next year be filled with the sparkle you share with all of us.

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    Samba September 8, 2016, 9:48 am

    Happy Birthday Wendy! Lots of amazing things have happened that might be hard to top, but I hope that this year will be your best one yet (and that each year after just gets better!)!! 🙂

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster September 8, 2016, 10:57 am

    Happy birthday , Wendy! I hope your 40’s are as awesome as your 30’s were. 🙂

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy September 8, 2016, 11:14 am

    Thank you for the birthday wishes, everyone! I woke up early — 5 am — to save a little quiet time before everyone else woke up. It was quickly time to take jackson to his first day of kindergarten. Drew took that day off and after we spent an hour or so at classroom orientation, we had a birthday brunch of steak and eggs and bloody marks. My 40s are off to a great start.

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    jilliebean September 8, 2016, 12:26 pm

    Happy birthday Wendy!!!! May your 40s be wonderful!!!

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    Sandy September 8, 2016, 10:35 pm

    Happy Birthday, bday twin!! I hope it was fantastic!!

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    mcj2012 September 9, 2016, 2:30 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday Wendy! Hope you have a fantastic year.

    That is a beautiful picture of you!

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