A New Leaf

Chapter 15 of Life After 30

A few days after fully moving into her mom’s house, Maya created a strict routine for herself, as to prevent her from getting lazy and unproductive. 

She woke up at 6 every morning to workout, shower and eat breakfast. 

Then by 8:30 she would head to her laptop and be on the job search until she submitted applications to at least 3 companies. 

At that point, it would usually be time for lunch. She’d eat and spend some time checking her email, then read either a career self-help book or a novel. 

After that she would either take the rest of the day to look for more jobs. Or she would spend some time on a story idea that started to form in her mind. She was still just playing around with it. But some days the words just flowed out of her like water. It reminded of her post-college days and it felt really good. She wasn’t sure where this story was going to take her but she allowed herself to just write and get it out of her. 

On the first day of her routine, she also sent an email to Karolyn, asking to meet up somewhere so that they could talk. It had been a week already with no response. Maya was getting nervous and considering sending another email or maybe a text this time.  

But a couple days later finally came with a response. Karolyn suggested they meet at Cafe Blue, a bougie coffee place uptown. Maya struggled to not roll her eyes, even just at the email. She replied back, saying she’ll be there at 11. 

Maya got there right on time and found a table sort of in the back so they could have some privacy. 

Fifteen minutes later, Karolyn shows up, all designered up as usual. Maya waves her over to her table and Karolyn walks over and sits down. 

“So sorry I’m late. Had to do a little cake testing and I just couldn’t decide between coconut vanilla or lemon blueberry. They were both to die for. So we got both!”

“Mm! Sounds delicious,” said Maya, really trying to sound interested. She knew that Karolyn got there late on purpose to keep Maya waiting and also wanted to wave the wedding in her face. But her goal that day, and for the future, was to put the jealousy behind her and to stop seeing Karolyn as a competitor. 

“Well,” Maya began, “First, I want to thank you for coming. I know I said a lot of things to you and about you that wasn’t nice at all. And I want to apologize for that. Especially what I said at the company party. That was really low and I’m sorry I embarrassed you in front of all those people.”

“But,” continued Maya, “I think we have a lot of underlying issues between us. Or at least I do with you. I’m jealous of you, Karolyn. You have always gotten everything I wanted, before I could get them myself. And you made it look so easy, where as I felt like I always had to work so hard to get what I want. And I let the jealousy get out of hand and I hurt a lot of people because of it, including you. 

Karolyn looks down at her Rolex watch and spins it around her wrist. 

“I didn’t know you were jealous of me.”
“You didn’t? I thought it was obvious to you and that’s why you would wave things in my face. Like your engagement ring.”

“I waved it in your face because I was jealous of you. You’re the one who had the great long term relationship. Mine would barely last a year. Until I met Ronnie. I couldn’t believe I finally met the real deal, especially after he proposed. I finally felt like I had one up on you.”

“Did I tell you Will broke up with me before my birthday. He did me a favor by pretending to be my boyfriend that night to save me from questions all night. But I ended up screwing that one up too.”

“Oh my god, no wonder he looked pissed when you proposed.”


“Well, I’m sorry to hear that you guys broke up. You really were great together.”

“We were. But now it’s time to move on. And I’ll say… I’m happy for you Karolyn. Really.”

“Thanks… But I also have another confession.”

“What’s that?”

“I was also jealous of your writing. I always thought you were better than me. That’s why what you said at the company party really hit me. I’ve always been insecure about my writing.”

“I only said that because I was jealous you got a book deal at all. You really are a great writer, Karolyn, with or without your dad’s money.”

Karolyn laughs shakily, “Thanks. You know, I’m sure you’ll find a new and better job. You seem to flourish wherever you go.”

“Thanks. I’ve got some applications out so I’m crossing my fingers. And I am writing something new, so who knows where that can go.”

“That’s great! I’m glad you’re writing again. The world needs to hear your voice.”

Maya and Karolyn look at each other, feeling like a huge load was taken off both of their shoulders. 

“So,” Maya says hesitantly, “Does that mean we’re friends now? No more being jealous of each other?”

“Yes, we’re legit friends now. But… only if you tell me where you got your shoes! They’re too cute!”


A couple hours later, after getting lunch and showing Karolyn the store where Maya got her shoes, Maya arrives back at her mom’s house. She finds Kim in the den, pedaling on the stationary bike and watching the Real Housewives. 

Maya collapses on the couch. 

“You won’t believe who I went to lunch with today.”


Maya told Kim all about the conversation with Karolyn and their new found understanding. 

“Oh honey, that sounds great! I’m glad you guys are friends now.”

“You know what, me too. Wow, I never thought I’d say that.”

“Well, sounds like you’re turning over a new leaf. And it’s rubbing off on your dad. He called me to tell me he has two interviews next week.”

“OMG that’s great! I’ll have to call him later for the details.”

“What about you? Do you have anything?”

“Not yet… but I’m not too worried. Something will come up. And I’m working on a story. Maybe this will be my chance to get something of my own published.”

“That would be exciting!”

“I never thought I would be starting my 30s jobless, single, and living with my mom. But… I’m learning to be okay with it. And I’m looking forward to where I’m gonna go from here. Anything can happen.”

“That’s the spirit, Maya.”

The End.

Thank you so much for reading Life After 30! Hope you enjoyed reading it as much I enjoyed writing it.

❤ monica

A New Philosophical Me

Chapter 14 of Life After 30

Maya stacks a full box on top of another full box. Her apartment around her is either packed up in a box or about to be. 

Her dad, Ben, forms up another box. 

“Are you sure you don’t want to move in with me for a bit instead? I can move to the couch.”

“No Dad, Mom already has an extra bed and I don’t want to put you out.”

“You’re my own daughter, you would never put me out.”

“Don’t worry Dad, I’ll still come over for our dinners.”

“Okay, you got it honey.”

“So… how’s the job hunt going?”

“I could ask you the same thing.”

“I haven’t been looking yet.”

“But Maya, it’s been almost a month since you got fired. You can’t wait too long.”

“Thanks for the reminder, Dad. But also, you had plenty of time to find something and yet…”

“Well it’s hard to find something when you’re overqualified for most jobs.”

“What about your friends or old coworkers? Have they been able to give you a lead?”
“I don’t want to bother anyone.”

Maya pauses before she responds. This had been a delicate topic for her dad, as he constantly keeps avoiding the topic.  

“What’s going on, Dad? Are you okay? Is it the divorce?”

“Oh, I’m fine, honey. You don’t need to worry about me. And the divorce was always coming. Your mom and I knew that.”

“But you don’t seem like yourself lately. You loved what you did, why aren’t you trying to find a place where you can keep doing it?”

Ben fiddles with the cardboard box. “I did love what did… I don’t know. Getting fired just… blew out my fire.”

“30 years is a long time to be working at one company.”

“So long. It was my life.”

“But it’s not you.”

“What do you mean?”

“What I’ve been learning and figuring out for myself after going through my breakup and getting fired, is that I can’t define myself by my life circumstances. Like someone has told me before, things change that are out of our control. But that doesn’t change who I am inside. I know I’m a good editor, but that’s not all I am. Maybe this is an opportunity for me to explore something different. Or maybe my talents would be better at a different publishing house

“My point is, don’t define yourself by your work. You’re so much more than that. And the person I love is you, not what you do.”

Ben takes a deep breath and smiles at his daughter. 

“That person who said things happen out of our control, they sound smart.”

“They are,” said Maya, knowingly. 

“But I guess, I never thought of it that way. Thanks Maya.”

“Break ups can really clear your mind,” smilled Maya. 


“So starting tomorrow, we’re both going to be on the job hunt, right? No more stalling.”

“You got it, hon.”


They hug over the empty boxes. 

Come back every Friday for the next installment of Life After 30!

Apology 2.0

Chapter 13 of Life After 30

Maya takes a deep breath and knocks on the apartment door. 

It opens and it’s Dylan.

“Will’s not here.”

Dylan immediately closes the door but Maya thrusts her arm out to hold it open. 

“Come on, Dylan. I know he’s there.”

“Even if he was, which he’s not, he would not want to talk to you.”

“I just want to say I’m sorry. What I did was not cool, and not part of the deal.”

“I’m telling you, save your breath because he’s really not here.”

Maya stops. “Oh. Well where is he?”

Dylan shakes his head. “Will is going to kill me if I told you.”


The afternoon sun mixed with the cool fall air hits Maya like an old memory. And just like in her old memory, there was Will, sitting at their bench looking over the lake. The two of them used to go to this park all the time when they had writers block to clear their mind. It was always a good fix. Also, this was the spot where they first said “I love you” to each other. 

Maya sighs as these bittersweet memories come back to her. And as she steps closer to Will, she takes a deep breath. 


Will turns around and sees her, but then turns right back around.

“Dylan shouldn’t have told you where I was.”

Maya walks around the bench and sits on the opposite edge. “I know I’m the last person you want to see.”

“If you’re not going to leave, then I am,” Will gets up.

“No, please Will. Can you hear me out?”

“Hear you out on what? Do you have another scheme to embarrass me?”

“I want to apologize. I know what I did was bad and so crazy. And I shouldn’t have asked you to pretend to be my boyfriend. That was so selfish.”

“Have you set everyone straight?”

“I’m working on it, I promise. I’m going down the list.”

Will sits back down. 

“Does that mean you’ll accept my apology?”

“Just, tell me one thing. Why the hell did you propose to me?”

“The easy answer is that I was still in love with you. And I couldn’t get over that you broke up with me. And you were acting so… like you were my boyfriend again–”

“Because that was the deal–”

“I know, but I guess I just got caught up in it. And to be honest, the day you broke up with me, I thought you were going to propose instead.”


“But that’s not your fault. Maybe we are different people now. But… if I were to be even more honest, you breaking up with me made me feel like I was losing control of my life. And it didn’t help that Karolyn showed up with her fiance.”

“You’re the one who invited her.”

“It’s a formality thing between us! I didn’t expect her to come!”

“I still don’t understand you two and this whole rivalry you have with her.”

“Yeah, we’re going to have to do something about that. I got drunk at a work party and called her out in front of everyone for being a mediocre author… and other things I shouldn’t have said.”

“Yikes. That doesn’t sound good.”

“I got fired.”

“Oh. I’m sorry Maya. You know, despite my reservations about you going into publishing, I know you really liked it. And… you were really good.”


“Have you looked at other publishing houses yet?”

“Not yet… I haven’t been in the mood to.”

“Well, whoever hires you next will be lucky to have you.”

Maya smiles at Will and shrugs.

“We’ll see.”

They both look out on the water and watch a few ducks swim by.

“So, has your writer’s block been cured yet?”

“Eh, I suppose. There’s only one way to find out.” Will gets up. “Do you want to walk with me to get coffee or something?”

“Um, no thanks. I think I’m going to sit here awhile longer. I forgot how nice this place is.”

“Ok, I’ll see you around. And Maya?” Will says as he gets up.


“I accept your apology.”

“Thanks, Will.”

Will nods and walks away, leaving Maya to think about what she’s going to do next.  

Come back every Friday for the next installment of Life After 30!

Not too Late to Apologize

Chapter 12 of Life After 30

No fiancé (or even a boyfriend), no job, no place to live next month… possibly, Maya thought as she opened the door to her apartment. 

The chic minimalist furniture cries out to her with an ugly sob. She worked so hard to get this place just as she wanted. But now, there was no way she could afford to stay. Her lease was going to be up in a couple weeks. Could she possibly get a new job by then?

Maya flops herself down on the couch. She should be at her laptop, updating her resume and looking at her connections on LinkedIn. But she couldn’t help but wallow in self-pity. 

How did her life end up like this? Every goal she had for her life up to this point was at her fingertips. And one by one, they’ve been vanishing. What does she have to show for her life now? And just at 30 years old when one should have their life figured out. Now she has to start back at square one. 

How long will it take for her to be considered for an editor position at a new publishing house? 

And subsequently be able to afford a place on her own again?

If she wanted to start having kids at 35, she’ll have to find a boyfriend pronto, have enough time to get to know him, get engaged to him, get married, and ideally live together on their own for a little bit before they expanded their family. 

How did other people her age get all of this so quickly? Some of them already had full families. Not that she wanted to be at that point yet, but still. They lived in nice houses, were supervisors or managers at their jobs. 

Like Karolyn Keats. 

Karolyn had everything Maya wanted and had always gotten it before her. But even though Maya told herself that she hated Karolyn, she knew that she was actually jealousy. It didn’t help that Karolyn knew Maya was jealous, either. She had to enjoy waving every accomplishment Maya strived for in her face.

Which is why it honestly felt a little good to call Karolyn out in front of everyone at the company party.  But only a little. Maya knew she shouldn’t have stooped that low. 

And if she were to be even more honest, Will breaking up with her made it feel like she was losing control of her life. And she ended up hurting a lot of people because of it. 

It was up to her now to own the responsibility of her actions and realize that she does have control, and has had it all along. 

Thinking about this made the knot in Maya’s stomach come back, but it was a little one. She knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but it had to be done. She was 30 years old, after all. She couldn’t run away from her mistakes or have someone else take care of them for her anymore. 


First up, Lindsay. 

Her best friend of 3 years had to be first. Especially since Maya said all those mean things back at the hospital.

She had to patch things up and set things straight with Lindsay before heading into the other apologies she had to do. She had to at least know that she has someone on her side. 

It had been a few days since she last saw Lindsay on the day she was fired. Saw her, but didn’t speak to her. 

Even though their cubicles were right next to each other, when Maya came by to take her stuff, Lindsay walked out of her’s to talk to Michael a few cublics down. 

Maya collected her stuff in silence and left. She figured she would give Lindsay a few days of space before trying to talk to her. She didn’t blame Lindsay for giving her the silent treatment either. Maya felt she deserved it. 

Maya decided to catch Lindsay on her way out of work.

She was waiting a few feet away from the door, as to not be completely stalker-ish. 

At about the time Maya thought Lindsay would be walking out, there she was, pushing the door open and stepping out into the sun. 

Maya walked up to her, trying not to run, so that it could look like they just casually ran into each other. 

“Oh! Hey Lindsay, I almost didn’t see you there.”

Lindsay looks at Maya and couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “Hi Maya. I’m sure you’re not stalking me, waiting for me to leave work so you could talk to me.” 

Maya attempts to laugh it off, “Of course I’m not stalking you. This is truly an organic meeting.”

Lindsay gives Maya the knowing look. 

“Okay, fine. I’ve been waiting out here for 30 minutes for you. But I would have waited 2 hours for you just to say I was sorry.”

Lindsay crosses her arms. “Sorry for what, exactly?” 

“For saying your life is easy when I full well know that starting your family was really hard for you and it didn’t exactly go as planned. And for getting drunk at the work party and embarrassing you. And… for not telling you that Will broke up with me before my birthday party, but I asked him to pretend to be my boyfriend for the party so that I didn’t have to face people’s questions about us. And I didn’t tell you because I thought you wouldn’t be able to keep a secret.”

“Wait– Will broke up with you before the party? And he was pretending to be your boyfriend?”


“Maya… what were you thinking when you proposed to him?”

“I was thinking that maybe he still loved me… deep down… and that he might just say yes if I proposed…”

“But also you were jealous of Karolyn being engaged.”

“Um, yeah, that might have been a catalyst.”

“Maya, I know Karolyn can be annoying, but you have to stop comparing yourself to her. You are not Karolyn and you will never be. And that is a great thing because you are you. And you have your own life. And you need to learn your own lessons and grow in your own way.” 

“I know you’re right. I’m just having a hard time right now because I feel so out of control. Everything that I’ve wanted for my life is gone. And I have to start all over.”

“I have no doubt you’ll get right back on track. Or hey, maybe this a great opportunity to find something new.”

“I don’t know. I’m still wary about what I should do now.”

“Well, I’ll let you know that I’m not about to go away. Even though it does hurt to hear that you kept the break up from me because you thought I couldn’t keep a secret.”

“Can you blame me though? But really, I was too embarrassed to tell you we broke up.”

“You’re my best friend, Maya. I won’t judge you for something like that. And no, I guess I can’t. I know I have loose lips.”

“But I won’t keep anything from you anymore. You’re my best friend. You should know what’s going on with my life.”

They hug and continue walking together, step for step. 

“So, who are you going to apologize to next?”


“Are you nervous.”

“Nervous is an understatement.”

Come back every Friday for the next installment of Life After 30!