I am about to turn 31. On Tuesday, actually. I’m thinking about this as I scoop a blueberry scone into my mouth, using only my right hand. My left hand I am reserving for dirty work, specifically typing this post, checking my phone, touching anything that will not be going into my mouth, etc.

I find this tactic works really well with just about every snack, except pistachios. Pistachios require two hands, and so I’ve learned I cannot text, type, change the channel or stick my hand in the garbage whilst eating them. This is, perhaps, one of the biggest breakthroughs I had in Year 30. (The other being the time I realized I didn’t have to take off my backpack to pee in an airport bathroom.)

I have finished my scone. I am now up and running with both hands.

Thirty was a great year. I really enjoyed telling people I was 30. It made me feel mature, inexplicably cool, and, to be quite honest, a little better than everyone else.

Thirty was also an adjustment year. My body changed. My skin changed. And I became a minister. In that exact order.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about my past selves. I went through a lot of iterations of Joanna, most of which I mark by the clothes I wore at the time, like rings on a tree. Bodycon Joanna appeared fun and carefree, but lived with an irrational fear of penetration-less pregnancy, MRSA and being generally despised. Power Blazer Joanna made her first work friends, who remain among her best friends today. Cool Tank Top Joanna got her ass in regular therapy and made a big life change.

I still think it’s crazy that you can completely change your life/dream/career/whatever and be okay. Three years ago, I couldn’t fathom becoming anything other than a top copywriter/creative director. Six years ago, I couldn’t fathom being anything other than a PR guru with an Ann Taylor Loft credit card. Twenty years ago, I couldn’t fathom being anything other than Catherine Zeta Jones in Zorro when her dress gets slashed off (yikes) and her hair is so long it covers her boobs. What a dream!!!

5th (or 4th?) Grade Yearbook

Me, at the peak of my Catherine Zeta Jones obsession. I had a ways to go.

Today, I really don’t know what I want to be, and I’m okay with that.

That’s a lie.

I thought if I wrote it out, it would have to be true.

Some days, I feel comfortable with my slow (VERY, VERY SLOW) foray into the comedy world. Others, I feel like a failure. The newness of my career change (or, “retirement,” as some put it) has worn off, leaving me feeling anxious and static, like I’m not moving fast enough, doing enough, writing enough, performing enough, etc. I see how often my friends perform or how much content they produce, and I freak out. Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Am I cut out for this? Am I actually even good at this?

I keep wearing myself (and probably everyone around me) out with this pattern of behavior. I (and likely they) are tired of hearing me say “I just need to start reading more/writing more/journaling more/looking into more improv classes/etc.,” only to do none of it. It’s maddening!

Finally, a friend recommended a book to me. It’s about a lot of things – fine, it’s a self-help book, stop asking me! – but one of the chapters focuses on keeping the promises you make to yourself.

I decided to do this. I started small. Monday morning, I promised myself I’d get a flu shot. After work, I didn’t want to get a flu shot. I was tired and hungry and scared of getting a used needle. But I got one anyways, because I really didn’t want to fuck up my first day of the rest of my life. And all that.

Because I kept my Monday promise, I kept my Tuesday promise, which was to work out after work. And because I kept my Tuesday promise, I kept my Wednesday promise, which was to go to a coffee shop on Saturday and write this post.

My point is, I guess, I’m going to start saying my goals out loud and holding myself accountable. So, in the next few months:

I’ve promised myself I will find an acting class that meets the Conservatory audition pre-req.

I’ve promised myself I will start going to therapy again.

I’ve promised myself I will not cut my hair until I am confident it will completely cover my boobs.

I hope they do not drop on Tuesday because I am getting very close to achieving this goal.


The last time I got my hair cut. January 2019.

1 thought on “31

  1. Pingback: Wishing | Joanna Clark

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