A New Theme for 30

8dfab428650aa728affe685f0e3844d7Thrilled to share guest post today from Rebecca Coale, a 30-something with a new perspective to match a new decade…

A New Theme for Thirty
By Rebecca Coale

I knew everything was going to change when I turned 30 and got married in two consecutive days. But I figured there was no reason to space out these major life events. Bring it on, I told myself. Let’s see what the future holds.

Then nothing changed. My husband and I had been together for a year and a half, and we had moved into a new apartment in the months preceding our wedding. I had already phased out my gaggle of guys and adjusted to a warm and easy routine of contented coupledom. I’d also gone through a ‘process of strategic career adjustment’ (as I deemed it) and was finally embedded in a creative day-to-day of reading about medieval art and philosophy, attempting to write plays, screenplays and novels, and playing music on my piano, flute and guitar.

My world had changed without my noticing it. I realized, with some shock, that I had changed as well.

What had happened to the flitting, pugnacious, amorous and shameless twenty-something lady I had been? How had she disappeared, fading away even from my mind, absolutely, and without saying goodbye?

I became introspective. I had changed, but how and into what? Who had I become?

My favorite English teacher had always said, “people don’t change, they just become more themselves.” I felt this observation to be true. I had evolved, or returned, to a more authentic version of myself. But I was caught pondering: How did the disparate decades of my life cohere? What the heck had I been doing then and what the hell was I doing now?

A pattern emerged, or really, I began to sense that there had been an order to my years. I realized that I could define my decades by themes.

In my teenage years and throughout college, my theme was Education. Even though I had harbored the desire to become a writer, to invent and create ideas and stories in the world, I also knew I did not have the discipline or knowledge, yet, to do it. I wanted to read every book I could find. I wanted to learn about the past. I wanted to understand what philosophy was so I could use it to spar with ideas and locate truth, if it was there. I was voracious in my pursuit of knowledge, even while I berated myself for not having the time to read every book, the capacity to memorize all of history, or the ability to figure out what Kant & co were talking about. I graduated from college eager to escape the ivory tower, frustrated and feeling inadequate.

Enter my twenties, when Experience became the defining theme. If I could never know all of knowledge, then maybe I could have any and every experience. I moved in with my boyfriend of the time, shocking and scandalizing my parents, and then undergoing a devastating breakup with him. I delved into the New York media universe, dedicating myself fully and intensely to every job I had, then moving on to other jobs, mixing and combining all I was learning in the industries I traversed. Eventually my childhood best friend Jessica Massa and I founded The Gaggle as a multimedia venture seeking to explore modern romance and help women and men forge a path to love in the ambiguous, technology-driven, post-dating romantic universe that surrounds us.

In my personal life, I took our own advice and cultivated a gaggle of guys with whom meaningful and bizarre escapades abounded. I traveled as much as I could. For an introverted bookworm who had spent college nights burrowed in the library stacks, I embraced as much FOMO as I could muster and was out to have adventures in the “real world” of my twenties.

But Experience eventually gave way, I realize now, to Expression, the new theme for my thirties. I’ve got knowledge and experience. Let there be no excuse for lagging confidence. My work today, every day, is to create worlds fraught with meaning, explore the intellectual fascinations that drive me, and play music, lots of music. Now at 31, a year into this journey, I feel pride and trepidation. Where is this path leading me? I do not know! But I have to trust that these new years will come to make sense and bring their own discoveries. Education and experience have made me full, seething, passionate and finally ready to own and express myself.

Is it just me? Or are there themes to the different times of your life as well?

About the author:
Rebecca Coale - photo credit Em Gee PhotographyRebecca Coale has worked in publishing, film and media for the past nine years. She and her best friend-turned-business partner, Jessica Massa, founded multimedia project, The Gaggle, which includes the book The Gaggle: How to Find Love in the Post-Dating World, published by Simon & Schuster, and the Gaggle website, which explores modern romance and relationships, as well as a TV show in development at ABC produced by Ryan Seacrest Productions and Cue the Dog.

Rebecca is currently writing a two-person play that updates the story of Adam and Eve to the present day and a series of novellas about honeymoons gone disastrously awry. Her erotica short story “A One Night Stand in Brooklyn” was published in VIXOTICA: Sexy Short Stories by the Best-Selling Erotica Authors. A lifelong musician and songwriter, she wants to start a band called Lonely Changeling with her sister, actress Emma Undine Wiegand.

Rebecca lives in Manhattan & Philadelphia with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family.

You can read Rebeccas posts on The Gaggle here.  Or follow her on:
Instagram: @rebecca_coale
Twitter: @rebecca_coale

Photo credit: Em Gee Photography


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