Washington D.C. USA
They belong to…
KR who is “moments away from being 35, but […] still 34. ” She’s from about 20 miles northwest of New York City, went to school in central Pennsylvania, and lived in Boulder and Cleveland before landing in DC.
She’s an editor and manager for the government.
HER SHOES ARE COMING SOON >>>>
What it’s like to walk in her shoes for a day…
Pretty routine for the most part.
On an average weekday, I hit snooze once or twice–wishing I could sleep a couple hours longer but knowing that I need to move.
I’m either heading straight to a workout class (Orangetheory, strength training, something like that) or going to work. If I go to a class (which I have to drive to), then I’m basically still blinking myself awake but get into it within 10 minutes. I finish the class and either race to the gym’s shower or back home, depending on where it is. Either way, I clean up get ready to work, grabbing a protein smoothie that I made before class or after if I swung home. It all ends with me jumping back in my car and driving the 17 minutes to work, searching for a place to part, and trekking into the office.
I then spend 9+ hours at the office, mostly desk ridden (in my current job, used to have a lot of meetings). I’m in a very reactive position, so I find it tough to feel organized and plan things. The job itself is not enthralling, but it’s a good learning experience–after 9 years with the same place. I don’t love what I do, but there is at least purpose to it. I know that my career has helped form who I am today, someone I am proud of, but that there are other things I’d like to do. However, as a single woman, financial security/stability is important.
Anyway, I get through the day, and if I haven’t already worked out, then I go do that. My favorite classes are the ones I do with friends or the ones that are coached by people who know what they’re talking about. I might linger chatting with friends for a bit and then head home–usually another 20-minute ride. I get home, make an omelet and sweet potato for dinner, and then FaceTime with my mom, who lives in Cleveland. We usually chat for about 20 minutes, and I’ve probably also texted with a friend or two, and then I start to get ready for the next day–pack food, gym clothes, etc. And I generally finish the night with streaming TV and Words With Friends (also against my mom) and hope that I can fall asleep when I finally go to bed.
Sometimes, I go through phases when I’m swiping left or right on dating apps, but I usually lose the will to do much of that. With all that, my favorite part of my days are when I have a good conversation with a colleague or friend, laughing in the office, singing out loud or listening to a podcast in my car, feeling like I actually know what I’m doing, or throwing high fives during workouts. And sleeping, if it comes.”
Growing up in her shoes she was…
“I internalized a lot of pressure. I was a good student, a good athlete, and a good girl. I was afraid of getting in trouble, letting people down, or getting hurt (emotionally) by friends. I grew up outside NYC, and girls were a little meaner than they might have been elsewhere.
My parents expected us to do well. My mom knew I put too much pressure on myself, and my dad said he just wanted me to do my best, but I knew he thought my best was %100. So when I slipped up–from something as small as leaving a homework book at school or as big as procrastinating–it felt devastating to get the responsibility lecture.
For my own part, my cousin and I were always talking about what we’d name our kids and both assumed we’d be married by 25. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up; I just wanted to do whatever I was doing well at the time. I was competitive with myself and carry that with me.
I often think I’m not living up to my intellectual and societal potential. I mean, hey, I got voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school. ”
Her biggest challenges day-to-day…
“I think the challenges for me are subtle.
I’ve been treated fairly in my career and have had some strong women to look up to along the way. But every once in a while, I’ve stumbled into the old boys club or felt like I was been patronized in a group setting.
Honestly, I think the hardest part for me is being a single mid-30 year old. At this point, I feel like I have to explain away why I’m not in a serious relationship or have kids. It’s not that I don’t want that, it’s just that I can’t sit around waiting for it to happen to me. At work, most of the work-life balance conversations center around managing relationships and childcare. I fully support working moms and dads, but I sometimes want to hear a diversity and inclusion conversation include someone who has never had kids and what their stresses have been.
Guess what: my mom lives alone and is ill. When she lands in the hospital or fractures her back, I have to figure things out. She’s in Cleveland. The stress is real, and it’s just as important as people getting to kids’ concerts. I shouldn’t have to tell myself that or tell myself that connecting with friends and having a hard stop at the end of the day to do so is also just as important. Being single at this age can be lonely–friends are building families, dating feels pointless–so connection is crucial and putting effort into that is important.”
What are the advantages of being a woman in the 21st Century?
“Molds are melting away.
There is no single expectation for a woman–even if the biases of decades ago still exist. I think there is a greater understanding of the importance of the feminine in the world, not just in females.
Despite what I said earlier, it is okay to be a single woman. It is okay to be happy being with only yourself. It’s okay for women to take time for themselves, kids or no kids. And women can make their own families. But the greatest thing: I honestly believe I can blaze whatever trail I’m brave enough to start down. ”
One thing you should know if you’re going to walk in her shoes…
“It’s complicated. Society knows we need to change our perspective, but at times, we swing so far one way or the other, it actually can be detrimental. We are factioned in perspectives and it creates a cultural loneliness all around.
Although the molds are melting, people expect you to share all of their beliefs, and civil discourse turns into yelling. There is room for the masculine and the feminine–in one single human and in society. So, it’s complicated. It’s lonely. It’s invigorating. It’s joyful. It’s ever-changing. It’s full of hope and full roadblock. It’s wonderfully, frighteningly complicated. ”
Flashbulb memories (s) or what it’s really like to walk in her shoes…
“A few years ago, I decided to spend a week at my family’s cabin up in Vermont. It was the first time I was going to be up there without having any parents/grandparent/cousins in the house with me. Just me and the mountains.
When I told a couple of my friends that it was my plan, one called me brave and the other said she could never do that. It didn’t even cross my mind that going on my own was something other people might see as brave. Before that, in honor of my 30th birthday, I decided I wanted to take a trip. I hadn’t ever gone to a resort, and I found a conference that I was interested in with all the logistics organized. I figured it would be a good way to see something new, meet people with similar interests, and not have to worry about getting around in an unfamiliar country. It was beyond what I could have ever hoped for (aside from some food poisoning, but even that turned out to be fortuitous). I met wonderful people, relaxed, saw some of Mexico, and in glorious twist of fate, roomed with a woman who became an instant friend and had me committed to a trip on the Appalachian Trail within 36 hours. (A trip that we crushed in 2017. Thanks, Pieces!)
Also, living by myself, which I do actually enjoy poses some physical challenges (in addition to the financial ones) every once in a while. For one, I can only get a Christmas tree as big as I can carry up my stairs and put in the stand by myself. I had this super heavy aqua carpet that I brought with me to my current place from my previous apartment that I kept in my bedroom. It was worn down and stained, and I just got sick of it. Sparked to ditch it (and knowing that an empty floor would force me to replace it), I examined my situation and tried to figure out how I would get it out of my room by myself. In came the serrated Swiss Army knife. Over the course of 90 minutes, I sawed up my rug and the carpet padding underneath, which also involved me hoisting my bed up with my shoulder to pull pieces out from underneath it. It was messy and sweaty and not at all efficient, but it did the trick. I was able to get all the pieces out of my room and to the dumpster and had a clean slate. Honestly, I quite pleased with my creativity and accomplishment. And now I have carpet in my bedroom.!”
This is a brilliant project. I interviewed my grandmother a few times in her last years, and it was incredible to sit quietly with the information she shared. She was a Renaissance woman who I honestly believe could have changed the world if she lived in a time when divorce was accepted. Even with the constraints on women during her time, she still shared light and warmth with so many she touched. I hope that future generations think to do the same. Thanks to the woman behind the project for getting us started.
Hey you, can you relate to KR’s story? Do you have a favorite quote or thought? Share it in the comments
How about YOUR shoes?
“This KR story, it is unique, it is hers and it tells you something about being a woman in the 21st century.
If you identify as a woman, your story is just as important. CLICK HERE to get the questions and be part of our story, history and Her-story.”