This year brings 37 turns around the sun, and perhaps one of the most complicated yet. It's the age when the world begins to view you as middle-aged (extremely rude!), but I’ve never felt younger, never felt more invigorated in my life. 

For women, there’s never really a time in our lives when our bodies don’t, at least in part, define our choices. But it’s now when the paths begin to narrow, when we’re forced to decide what we really want for our future. 

I love children. I have one beautiful daughter, the apple of my eye, but I’ll admit: I always thought I’d have more kids. Maybe it comes from watching my mother at this age, surrounded by a rowdy family of five girls – Little Women, in real life. But in those moments, I try to resist the pressure of biology and memory: this type of decision should be born of love, not a worry over potential regrets. I remind myself that as much as I love my mother, I’m not her. I’m my own person, living my own life, one forged from experience and ambition, from moments of sorrow, but also moments of great joy. 

I love my job. After decades of schooling and working my way through the ranks, I’ve landed in a career that genuinely challenges me. But as much as I cherish the thrill, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to buy a piece of land in a small Italian village and just… live. Could I survive without the constant alert of emails keeping my mind occupied? What would it be like to just be with myself, in the quiet? 

I love my life. The independence, the travel, the time with friends, the joy of jewelry. The time with my daughter, watching her grow. The time with my family, living in the bubble of their love. How could I possibly have any complaints, any regrets, when I look around and see all that life has given me?

At 17, the life I pictured for myself was one of a child’s dreams, completely absent of the unexpected moments of disappointment that, with time, allow you to take measure. Maybe more kids will come, or maybe not. Maybe I’ll stay where I am, or maybe not. Age has given me a little grace when it comes to dealing with the unknown— something 17-year-old Noor would’ve definitely freaked about!

More than anything, I’m proud of every decision that’s navigated me through these 37 years, because they’ve given me a life I love.

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