As someone that was wifed for almost the entirety of her 20s, I started a new decade totally disoriented as to how to live as a single, making decisions for only me, responsible for only me, and being a part of the non-active dating pool. I was finally ready to have kids, and I knew the decision to be single again would push this and other “grown-up” things back.

Even if someone did, and I’m sure I promptly dismissed it, no one could have told me how much I would grow in the first year of my 30s. I tried to do everything differently from the last. I take different routes to the same places. I moved. I live with roommates. I bought a scooter. I started making art again. I started drinking green juice and DNA repairing capsules. I stopped eating out as much. I cut back my drinking, which wasn’t much to begin with. I began to eat rice more often. I loved, even if I knew I wasn’t going to be loved back. I wanted to remap how my brain responds to everything, to make certain thoughts were my own. I didn’t want to do the things the world said I was supposed to do or be or think at my age. I explored a lot of things I had never done before. All of these new senses revolutionized how I live. Despite my own doubts and countless days of trying to relive past memories, I can say that my life is truly mine.

This summer I traveled a lot on my own. I have, surprisingly, not done this often. I’ve flown alone many times before, but it’s usually to meet someone on the other end. It will complete my first year of 30, which has been nothing short of amazing.

I have never felt so free to be me.