When I turned 30, I had a huge bash at eCities in Tysons Corner. Lord, does that seem light years ago.Â It was August 2002.Â I remember I wore a red dress.Â I probably drank too much Champagne.Â It was going to be a big deal, me leaving 10 years of what I considered my most difficult ones.Â After all, I had gotten married, gotten divorced and was on my 3rd or 4th boyfriend post-split.Â My career was booming, as being in the telecom/tech world in NoVA and had lived through the boom and bust. I was ready to say Ciao! to my 20â€™s, even though I was sure that turning 30 meant I was getting O.L.D.
Alas, Iâ€™m a Leo, and we are all about the party.Â We donâ€™t go softly into the night. So, I invited about 200 + people that were in my life at that time for the BIG year, including my parents and siblings.Â Â All of my circles, my worlds, collided.Â Long time girlfriends, recent time guy friends, social acquaintances, colleagues, business associates, clients, neighbors, everyone was invited.Â I didn’t realize until that night when I saw everybody together, what a network I had built.Â The energy was electric, everyone was mixing and meeting and exchanging business cards, and talking about following up.Â I recall a few deals were born and several new friendships were created and even a romance (or five) was struck up.Â I looked around and was well, happy and proud.Â It was through years and years of hard work that I was able to keep these relationships alive and thriving.Â My friends and I agreed.Â This birthday bash was a recipe for bringing people together.
And so it began.Â Each birthday after that, I held a party at a different location (another in Tysons, one in Reston, two in Georgetown, one downtown). Each was considered a big bash because I found out that these circles, these worlds, actually liked colliding. The guests liked mixing, meeting, mingling and creating new relationships. People even brought friends and relatives and clients and work colleagues whom Iâ€™d never met, just because it was a good place to network.Â Imagine. My birthday, a good place to network? Never had I ever.Â It made me really happy because I loved connecting people (and still do).Â I found my calling was bringing people together.Â The annual birthday bashes allowed me to create a platform to do just that. It got to a point, once I had moved inside the Beltway and had a life more focused on lifestyle, media and social life, and less on the NoVA corporate, that folks asked me why they hadn’t been invited.Â Maybe at the time, I didn’t know if those larger universes would get along.Â Maybe I wanted to leave that other outside the Beltway life behind.Â But as all things tend to do, especially when your hobby becomes your career and your birthday becomes work, it gets stale, old, not fun.Â So a few years ago, I called it quits on the birthday bashes.Â The last party was in 2009, a White Party, and I found myself in a corner, by myself. Alone, watching everyone drink, eat and be merry.Â I didnâ€™t even think I knew half of the people.Â So I left the corner to direct the bar manager on making sure the drink specials were still going on and that the situation was as it was supposed to be. This was work.Â This was the last birthday bash, I said to myself.
In August 2010, I found myself in what I considered rock bottom. I had just returned from a year of travel blogging in Miraval Resort (for the 2nd time), Morocco (my first time traveling to Africa) and Paris (yes, my first time in Europe and on my own).Â I donâ€™t know if it was timing in my life, or if it was because I was off in strange lands, opening my mind, heart, soul and being.Â Each of those places changed me. It was during this year that I had my AH-HA moment.Â It was during this year that I was also devastated. It during this August that I felt my life had left my body, my purpose for being had surrendered.
But I made it out.Â I made it through (Iâ€™m a firm believer in therapy and was lucky to have some really awesome friends, btw) and the next year, as I faced turning 39, I made the executive decision to stay in LA for the whole month of August, so I wouldnâ€™t be reminded of the path I chose in 2010.Â I was strongly considering moving there to be, well just away from the town which I have called home since 1990.Â It was during August 2011 that I received the call from Shakespeare Theatre Company, asking if I would co-Chair the October 25th Anniversary Gala After Party with this unknown person (to me) Jason Kampf.Â Well, you can guess what happened. I said yes, Jason and I finally met in September when I returned to DC and we fell in love.Â True story, Shakespeare brought two lovers together.
Now, I face August again (btw, Jason and I were asked to co-Chair the STC Gala After Hours again this year) but this year, itâ€™s different.Â I have stopped to consider my 30â€™s.Â I wonder now if I will miss them or say good riddance, considering them the hardest ever yet again.Â I wonder if I will take all of my good/bad/mistakes/errors/amazing experiences and life changing moments and hold them closely to my heart.
I don’t fear turning 40 like I used to.Â Letâ€™s be real.Â My 30′s were spent experimenting and daring to over step my boundaries.Â Lucky for me, I’m still alive and have all my senses and limbs are connected.Â Admittedly, I murdered more brain cells than I’ve built, and deprived myself of sleep.Â I went from eating fast food to becoming a vegetarian (breaking out immediately for months) to eating some chicken and fish. I spent a year focused on yoga, then walking, then going back to nothing. I broke up with my last boyfriend in 2002 until now, but dated many, having tortuous ’2 weekers’, where 24/7 were spent together until I realized I had to run away.Â I searched for men older than probably deemed appropriate because I realize now, I needed to be taken care of, that little girl inside me was crying out for it. I moved to Arlington from Reston. I got rid of my BMW and became a Metro riding, taxi taking ped.Â I went through a “No Meat. No Man. *No Man Meat” period (the * being in case of emergencies). I went to Miraval Resort twice to write, started travel blogging, was flown to Paris, to Morocco, to Wales. I became enamored with writing all over again.Â I took a huge risk and quit my job, was devastated by having my partner/boss lie to me, and started a blog, which eventually became Pamela’s Punch and a business.Â I went through a lot of my retirement because for 2 years I cried myself to sleep at night if I slept at all, scared that I made a mistake going out on my own. I hocked vodka, I thought I should do PR (error for 3 months).Â I learned that running a business is the biggest challenge but the most rewarding experience. I did Fox News Channel 3 times and started doing more TV guest appearances. I chaired Oscar Night for the Red Cross NCA and ran for LLS Woman of the Year raising over $126,000.Â I joined boards, emceed Fashion for Paws, helped to raise money and awareness for numerous charities. I went out to LA to find myself, start a website, consider it to be my new home, now my 2nd home.Â I gained friends, lost friends, reacquainted myself with long lost friends and family.Â I lost weight, gained weight, lost again and gained again.Â I denied myself true happiness while smiling outwardly at every event I attended. I felt alone, I felt lonely.Â I met a man whom I believe to be my savior, my saving grace, my angel. I changed my life, my eating habits, my drinking habits, my lifestyle, my view on my worth, my being, myself. I changed my apartment, my business.
I fell in love.
As I look back on a decade, a montage plays in my head.Â Remembering the bad and the good, both in the same frame comes easy.Â I wonder if I was always doing the right thing, probably not.Â I wonder had I shoulda, coulda, would I be a totally different person? Would my direction have been different?Â I can only consider this as I move forward, onward, upward.
Your 30′s (and I say this to all of my friends still in that decade or entering) are a bubble for you to do, do, do, run fast, fall on your face, brush yourself off and pick yourself up.Â Your 30′s can kick your ass.Â You will see major changes in our maturity, even your circle of friends may change as you evolve.Â Your 30′s are a gift, as many errors and mistakesÂ you may make, they all happen for a reason. They all are a part of the path you choose to form, for the life you choose to create.
I finally am able to be at peace with my 30′s.Â It took me a long time, but I am ready to let them go.Â I am ready, open, and willing to enter the v.4.0.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.