Cakes in a Box
I bake cakes for you. Sometimes, I write.

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Older (and wiser if I'm being optimistic), plus a playlist

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I turn 30 this year. Over the past nine-ish months, I’ve witnessed a number of my friends enter gracefully into this new decade of their lives, and I can’t help but feel a little bit removed, a little bit isolated over their contentment.

I am, of course, happy for them! I’m not a sociopath, after all. I love my friends a lot. But they appeared to have very easily hit these epiphanies that I am now trying to reach urgently since I turn 30 in *checks notes* 25 days. Maybe said epiphanies manifested themselves overnight, hitting them all at once the second the clock struck midnight on the eve of my friends’ respective birthdays. Maybe they’ve been steeping and stewing in these thoughts since they turned 29, further perfecting these epiphanies every day. All I know is I’m feeling unsettled and I don’t entirely know why.

A few things that I’ve noticed my friends embraced now that they are 30 and Thriving:

  • Their own skin, both literally and metaphorically, as they are more comfortable with who they are and also they take better care of their skin now.

  • The idea that 30 really means nothing, and that this year will just be another year—the same as the one before it, just as how the year after it will be the same, too.

  • This next chapter in their lives, with things either lined up for them professionally and personally (or otherwise), or with them being extremely satisfied with where they are in life at this very moment.

And how do I compare? Let me count the ways:

  • While I have adopted a fairly decent skin care regime, there are days when I wake up with the following (often fleeting) thought: “I will never experience life as another person.” It sounds grim, but it’s not meant to be grim. I think sometimes I just find whatever task I have at hand tedious and wish to learn about what life would be like if I weren’t Joyce.

  • I really don’t think age ain’t nothing but a number. The years we have are finite and I can’t stop the nagging feeling that there are days when I really do not make the most of them. (Perhaps it’s best that I am refusing to succumb to the notion behind Aaliyah’s 1994 hit, since the song was both written and produced by one Robert Kelly… ugh.)

  • I find it hard to see my life as chapters in a novel. I don’t feel finished—if that makes sense—with my 20s. Beyond that, I’m also dissatisfied with where I am professionally. While I enjoy working with my clients (I am a copywriter and content manager), I just want to full ass this whole baking thing. So badly. And while I have plans percolating—exciting ones that take time and work—I just really want that to be my present, right now.

It’s not even the fact that our bodies are decaying that bothers me, or that there are very severe and punishing societal pressures on women in particular when they age (babies! marriage! youth!) that gnaws at my existence. I just feel like I want more, and I’m unsure how to get to “more.”

Maybe I will never feel fully content, because maybe we are projects that are never finished, and we are meant to learn new things about ourselves continually. Forever. Until we die. Ad infinitum. Maybe this is what I have to make peace with! But right now, in this moment, that sounds exhausting.

The same very much applies to baking, though. I am continuously learning new techniques and conjuring new ideas and this is a very satisfying aspect of cake baking for me. Looking back on the past nine months, I can see the vast improvement in my own work, and that’s really fun and so very satisfying. Scrolling back to December 2018 on my Instagram, I can see so many things I would now do differently with those cakes that I sent off into the wild. But I’m older, and maybe wiser, and I’ve learned so much this past year, having had so many opportunities to hone my craft.

Maybe life is like cake-making, and I just have to accept that while I may be stuck learning new things about myself forever, I also get to look back and think, “Damn, I have come so far.” And I suppose that can be quite satisfying.

Anyway. I don’t know if this is the best place to put these thoughts, but I did talk about baking! So that counts, I guess.

Here’s a playlist I made. The embed isn’t working, so you’re going to have to click here. Hope you had a great birthday this year.

Tracklist:
1. Lana Del Rey - Norman Rucking Rockwell
2. Deb Never - “Swimming”
3. Jorja Smith ft. Burna Boy - “Be Honest”
4. Earthgang - “Top Down”
5. baebadoobee - “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus”
6. FKA twigs ft. Future - “Holy Terrain”
7. A$AP Rocky - “Babushka Boi”
8. SiR ft. Kendrick Lamar - “Hair Down”
9. slowthai - “Gorgeous”
10. Mitski - “Your Best American Girl”

Joyce NgComment