Ashley Batz/Bustle

Here's What Happened When I Started Being Honest About The Weird Things That Make Me Happy

By Julia Ries

Growing up, I never felt my own age.

I was always chasing something. I wanted to be done with dating, ahead in my career, and settled in a comfortable home — not the two-bedroom apartment I shared with three friends. Oh, the memories!

When I turned 30 this past year — I looked back and thought about my life over the past decade. While I hadn’t experienced some drastic makeover overnight (still waiting for my reality TV casting call...), I had to admit to myself, I’d come a hell of a way.

When we’re younger, we're warned by well-meaning older friends that, "you'll never get your 20s back!" — and to that I have to say: *praise hands emoji*. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my 20s and recognize them for the important (albeit weird) years that they were. But the truth is that throughout those years, I was still growing into myself, getting a feel for what really made me happy, pissed me off, or grossed me out.

The beauty of being older is not that I’m more accomplished or have a bigger apartment, although, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to go back to sharing a two bedroom with three roommates. It’s that I know who I am now and am comfortable being real about what actually makes me happy.

Where I would once avoid ordering pasta on dates to refrain from turning the table into a crime scene, I now don't hesitate to order nachos because for some weird, inexplicable reason, I really like to eat with my hands. Yes, it’s always a mess by the end, but it’s my mess and I love it. And any person that I date better love it too!

Where I would once stay out late at bars, drinking the night away with my friends, I now go to book club. Granted, I’m usually the only one who reads the book — because if I’m being totally honest, it’s just an excuse for my friends and I to stay in and drink wine in our sweatpants — but it is so, so much better for my introverted soul than being at a loud, crowded bar until two o'clock in the morning.

These days, I embrace my odd habit of stopping by the movie theater only to buy a tub of popcorn and leave, and laugh off the weird looks I get from the other people in line. Sometimes you just need some of that buttery goodness, OK?!

I proudly play songs on repeat until I — and, well, everyone else around me — can no longer stand it.

I go to brunch in pajamas, go grocery shopping in pajamas, and walk my dog in pajamas. Okay, fine — maybe I just love being in pajamas. Is this 30?!

What I’m trying to say is being myself rules — but there’s no chance I would gotten here without the weird, unpredictable formative years that lead up to this.

Sure, something about being even older still seems nice to me. And maybe part of me will always be looking ahead at what’s up next. But right now, I’m (finally) perfectly happy to be exactly where I am.

This post is sponsored by Cupcake Vineyards.