Wicked Wednesday

The Before and After of My Thirties

too true tweet about being excited about the location of a restaurant because its close to Target -- this is being 30

I turn 40 this year. Not for another 10+ months, making me a fairly fresh 39, but every time I think about my age, it’s the 40 that looms large in my mind.

Changing decades has always done that to me.

I still remember thinking, “Finally!” when I hit double-digits at 10. I’d been told for years that I was so mature for my age and that I looked older than I was. That’s what happens when you get boobs and your period before you’re 10 (at 8 and 9, respectively). I was ready for the calendar to catch up with how the world treated me.

At 20, I felt like I was supposed to be an adult, although the big 2-0 was a bit of a letdown as I still had to wait another year to hit the real milestone. Twenty-one and legal, baby! But turning 20 felt momentous. I was stepping into adulthood in a new way. No longer a teenager and living with plenty of real world responsibilities.

Thirty fucked with me. Like the vast majority of us up until that point, I’d thought 30 was old. But when I got to 29 years and 11 months, I realized how wrong I was. I was just getting started! Although I worried that I’d ruined my life and that my best years were behind me. My 20s had been stressful, exhausting — nothing like what TV and the pre-social media internet told me it should be.

I didn’t club, party, dance, date, sleep around, or do anything I might have considered fun. Instead, I worked, raised a family, and refused to admit I didn’t really like (or love) my then-husband. At the end of that decade my focus was on everything I hadn’t done in my 20s, a time I would never get back.

Maybe that’s (part of) why so much changed after I hit 30. Now I was really an adult (all those years after about 22 notwithstanding). There was no one to save me or fix my problems. If I wanted my life to change, I had to do it. Adulting at its finest (before we even had the word “adulting” which I love).

So much as happened in this decade:

I turned 30 right after my youngest was born. Less than two years later (about 16 months), I left my husband who had stopped participating in our relationship long before we got married. I could blame him for my wasted 20s, but I don’t. I made my own choices.

By 32, I was single, had a sex blog, and realized I was kinky. Thirty-three was kind of a big year, lol.

Thirty represents a real before and after in my life. Before 30, I existed from moment to moment, letting myself drift through life. Not sure how to change course, and not sure I should or even could. Based on that angst alone, I wouldn’t go back to my 20s for anything.

Something about hitting my third decade, and the weirdness I felt about it, made me take stock of my life.

From unhappy vanilla life to exciting kinky life, my 30s represent so much change. The vast majority of it good.

So why the fuck am I freaking out about 40?

Maybe it’s because I’m already becoming invisible (which I thought wouldn’t happen until my 50s) to the opposite sex and anyone 30 or younger. Which, by the way, is okay with me. If you can’t see me because of my age or appearance, I’m certainly not interested in being seen by you.

Maybe I still have residual ideas of what “old” means. Forty ain’t it, by the way. Neither is 50 or 60. Maybe I’ll say I’m old when I hit 70, but no promises.

This could just be part of the process. Change decades, freak out, get used to it, settle down.

But part of me wonders if it’s prior experience weighing on my mind. This past decade has been tumultuous — in good and bad ways. I’ve grown leaps and bounds. Even my own family doesn’t always recognize this version of me. Frankly, I like 39 year old me much better than me at 29. I’m a lot more interesting, and I have fewer fucks to give. It’s kind of refreshing.

If all that could happen between 30 and 39, what in the ever loving hell is going to happen from 40 to 49? Good things I hope. I can feel new confidence rising. The old me, from before 35 or so, had so many questions, concerns, and worries. This new me still questions and worries (thank you, anxiety) but I’ve got more confidence in myself.

I’ve survived hell fire. When I thought I couldn’t go on, I did. When I thought I couldn’t do a thing, I either did it or I changed course and found a new path. I know what I’m capable of, and I certainly know what I’m made of. I’m not always right, but I’m not always wrong, either.

I think turning 40 this year represents an “after” of sorts. My 30s are an in-between time when I did a lot of growing and adjusting. This was my time to gain experience and confidence and lose some of what weighs me down. (I still have plenty of issues and baggage — aging isn’t an automatic fix for anything.)

I understand the expression “forged in fire” better than ever. I’m never infallible and things always fuck up, but I’ve handled everything life has thrown at me up until this moment. And I can handle whatever happens next.

If I did this much in my 30s, what can I accomplish in my 40s?

I guess I’ll find out in the months and years to come. But everything up to my 30s feels like a before. The after is new and exciting, but also, a little scary. There’s so much more to gain…and to lose.

Welcome to Wicked Wednesday! This week’s prompt is “before and after” and this is where my mind went.Β 

rainbow circle that says Wicked Wednesday




About the author

Kayla Lords

I am a sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, international speaker, kink educator, and all-around kinky woman. You can find me online sharing my innermost sexual thoughts and experiences, teaching other bloggers how to make money writing about sex, and helping kinksters have happy healthy BDSM relationships. I'm also a masochistic babygirl submissive with an amazing and sadistic Daddy Dom and business partner, John Brownstone. Welcome to my kinky corner of the internet!


  • Forty is only a big deal if you make it one, I think. And that can be both positive and negative.

    Thirty was not a big deal to me, but it was hard on a lot of levels. Not the number or the birthday itself, but the surrounding storm of my life. It was an up-ending time, but that had everything to do with circumstances than with self-knowledge, confidence, or identity.

    We all have our year(s), I think. Or decades, as you indicate here. And the way we are socialized – as well as our individual value systems – impact our interpretations of age. (There’s a whole blog post or seven in that statement, but I will spare your comment section the length of my tangential diatribes. πŸ˜‰ )

    But for what it’s worth: I’ll be 43 in a couple months, and so far my 40s are my best decade.

    I hope they will be for you, too. πŸ™‚

  • Love this Kayla! You will have so many changes in your forties, from you and your kids, so enjoy the rideβ£οΈπŸ˜‰xx

    • We may or may not be on the countdown for these kids to grow up even more, lol. Which means my 40s are going to be WILD — in a great way, lol. Actually, I’ll be nearly 50 when the youngest graduates high school. Whoa. I’m not ready to think about that yet, lol.

  • I cried when I turned 29 as I was one year closer to 30. I’m really starting to realise that I need to turn 30 to appreciate my mortality and the time I have. I loved this post as you have made me see that the anxieties I’m going through right now are completely normal and aging will bring a better and happier me. Your post has resonated with me so much. I hope writing this helped you as much as it helped me to read it.
    Aurora x

    • It did help, thank you! And the farther I get from 30, the more time I realize we really have. I was just getting started at 30, and kind of feel the same way 39.

  • 25 was the worst year for me. My 40’s have been freaking amazing and so much has changed and gotten better and better and better… Now I am close to 50 than 40 and can’t wait to see what else happens! I love to read these kinds of reflections! TFS!

  • Turning 30 was bumpy for my, in part it was because of having been around the hippie culture as a kid and buying into the cry of “don’t trust anyone over 30” since then though each year has been better and better
    You’re doing great babygirl…you got this and I’m right there with you!!

  • Up to now, and I hope it stays like this, there was only one birthday I hated… when I turned 27. I was so proud when I turned 40, and even more so when I turned 50. Now, at 52, I am finally happy with who I am… 😊

    • I hope my complicated feelings about 40 dissipate. JB and several other people I know (ahem, like you) make 50 look so damn good, I want to experience it for myself. πŸ™‚

  • OMG I am turning 40 this year as well so this hits close to home. I’ve been kinky forever and my thirties were spent raising a family but we’ve arrived at basically the same place. You’re not old, you’ve got it figured out now, keep doing your thang…

  • Like you my 30’s were a time of huge change for me and I loved them, especially the latter end of it. I often say I would love to be 37 forever. My 40’s have been lovely. I have shared them with an amazing partner but I don’t really enjoy the constant signs of aging nor the increased invisibility. I would love to slow it all down to be honest. I will be 47 this year and the idea of being 50 is not one I l am [particularly happy about


    • You are going to make 50 so fucking fabulous, I just know it. But I also get what you’re saying. I think for me, 39 will be that year I wish I could freeze in time. It’s been such a good year of growth and possibility. It’s hard to imagine how anything could be better than this, but I’m willing to find out. πŸ™‚

  • You seem to have set yourself up on a trajectory of excellence – so much good stuff in your thirties! I’m of a similar age and remind myself to enjoy the here and now as older me will no doubt be looking back with jealousy.


    • Thank you! I have hated the regrets I’ve had from my 20s so my new hope/plan is to keep doing whatever seems right so that I might miss my 30s but that whatever I’m doing later on is so good, I don’t mind having grown older. That’s the plan anyway. πŸ™‚

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