What Netflix's 'Girlboss' Taught Me About Chasing Dreams In My 30s

by Toni Hammer

Nothing gets my adrenaline flowing like an awesome “You go, girl!” story. Watching one woman kick ass and take names and make something out of nothing without having to reapply lipstick (unless she freaking wants to) gets me all hot and bothered and pushes me to pursue whatever dream of the week I’m going after.

So it’s no surprise that when Netflix dropped the first season of Girlboss — a series loosely based on Sophia Amoruso’s creation of fashion empire Nasty Gal — I was prepared to binge that shit. But as I did, I started to wonder if I was too old to be inspired by her. I found her to be inspiring for sure, but I felt like reaping girl-power vibes from a 20-something just made me look like a 30-something-year-old dud.

In the first season, we watch her go from trying to find herself to igniting her passion to getting proverbial doors slammed in her face and then finally achieving what she set out to do. She builds her brand from the ground up. She’s a wild and unruly firecracker, a bit emotionally unstable at times, but she is fierce, determined, and strong. She made her dream happen. That is badass.

As I watched I kept thinking, “Yeah! I wanna be just like her! She doesn’t take shit from anyone! Rawr!” But here’s the thing: She’s a single 20-something with her life ahead of her, and I’m 34, married with two kids. I have roots and responsibilities and lives other than my own to think about. I can’t spend all day from dawn until 2 a.m. pursuing my passions because I have kids to feed and shuttle around.

I’m settled down.

Not gonna lie — I threw myself a bit of a pity party. A “woe is me, my dreams are dead weight, and my life of kicking ass is over” kind of party. I gave myself an emotional ass-kicking for not being more motivated and inspired and bold when I had the chance. I longed for my single life when the world was mine for the taking before the nights of staying up late, masterminding my next great thing, had been blown out like a Yankee candle. I spent some time grieving that life that isn’t mine anymore.

And then I remembered that I’m just 34. I’m not dead. I can still make lofty goals and achieve my dreams — I just have to adjust my expectations to fit my circumstances.

Just because I’m a married mom doesn’t mean I don’t get to have dreams anymore. Even though it feels like it at times, the nurses didn’t bundle my aspirations up in bloody birth sheets along with my placenta and haul them away. I still have them, still breathe them, and still have every right to go after them with the same tenacity I did when I was in my 20s. And here’s the kicker: It’s even more important that I do it now because I have a young kids watching my every move, and I want to be their badass role model.

The other day my 3-year-old son told me he wanted be the sun when he grew up. Like any mom, I told him that sounded like a great idea and he could do it if he wanted to. With innocent eyes he asked, “Mom, do you really think I can be the sun?” and with unwavering confidence I proudly told him, “You can be anything you want to be.” Okay, of course, he can’t be the sun when he grows up, but I hope the message he took from that convo is that he can dream big, and work to achieve his desires.

And that’s what going after my dreams in my 30s will teach him and his sister. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re out of the game. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to give up. It just means you have to be more responsible with your choices. You may have other people to consider when you’re making plans and spending money, but you can still pursue your goals.

And you get the blessing of having little eyes watching you do it, teaching them by example that anything is possible at any age or time. It just takes hard work and a belief in oneself that’s so strong, no one can strip it away from you.

Inspiration knows no age. It’s okay that I was inspired by an out-of-control 20-something, and it’s okay for me to inspire 20-somethings when I’m in my 30s. What’s most important is to never give up, to cheer each other on, and to make shit happen.