Is the notion of being in one’s prime another version of “having it all?” Or is it simply about the physical body and sex, and less about self-actualization?

Joe had turned ESPN on in the background, just as a reporter began a long voiceover about an upcoming NFL recruit.

“This is it, this is his time,” the reporter said, almost salivating, “He’s 22 years old. He’s in his prime, and this is his moment.”

I was listening in the kitchen, while I prepped dinner. “When were we in our prime?” I shouted over to him in the living room. “Or, are we still working on getting there?”

A beat, then he shout-mumbled back, flummoxed, “I’unno.”

It got me thinking more about that phrase—being in your prime or in the prime of your life.

I’ll admit, it bothered me—just a little—that I couldn’t think of a time when I felt like I was in my prime. I look back at my 20s and consider my excellent metabolism, coupled with crippling uncertainty about my path and a fear that I’d never get where I was trying to go. Prime time? Maybe in that three glasses of wine would not result in a hangover the next day.

Here in my mid-30s, there’s greater financial freedom, and a newfound willingness to explore my own identity (and make no apologies for it). There’s also crepe-ier skin, fear that every big life decision I make is somehow more binding than it was a decade ago, and still, still the uncertainty about the path forward (by now at least, I have learned the uncertainty will be standard issue throughout the whole of this crazy journey here on Earth).

I’d love to hear from you—is the notion of being in one’s prime another version of “having it all?” Some kinda bullshit, unattainable thing people say, but no one ever actually feels? Or is it simply about the physical body and sex, and less about emotional evolution and self-actualization? I’ve been turning this over in my head—especially because the latter definition, while I suspect common, doesn’t resonate for me personally.

I’ve been thinking you can feel “in your prime” in multiple areas of your life, just rarely all at once. You might feel sexy as hell—wanted, healthy, desired, confident, all that good stuff—but maybe your career path is in the dumps. Or perhaps financially secure, but without the time or space to care for yourself (body and mind both). Does having one without the other mean you can’t feel in your prime?

Maybe the modern day version of being in your prime is having confidence in the future, while also knowing whatever state you’re in now is part of the path to get there. We might not have everything we want, but eventually, the journey gives us everything we need. A prime number is, after all, a whole number whose only factors are one and itself. Maybe your relationship with yourself follows along the same lines. Being in your prime could simply be about rooting in the present, and okay with all the pieces of the pie—health, self, career, relationships, money, the lot of it—in various states of satisfaction, since none of these things individually can divide define you.

Just some random thoughts that have been on my mind as of late! Tell me below: What do you think it means to be in your prime?


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Image credit:

Photos by Alex Harvey and Dmitrij Paskevic


  1. 4.14.19
    Mariana said:

    I totally agree with you! If we did have it all at one point, we would have nothing to look forward to. So being in your prime should mean being in peace with yourself, confident that you can work things out, no matter what may come your way. I’m new to this blog and loved this essay, very glad I found it!

  2. 4.15.19
    Sonya said:

    I think the notion of being in your prime is kinda bs. I am turning 38 in two months and I am wiser, more confident, healthier and in better shape, have a better career, I am independent, I’ve traveled the world, I know who my true friends are and I love them to pieces. I had none of that at 34, 30, 27, 22, 17, etc. I would not go back in time and I want to keep going on the path I am now because everything just gets better. I do think it is cheesy to say I get better like wine but that is what it feels like.

  3. 4.16.19
    Kelsey M. said:

    I always love reading your musings and thoughts Victoria! I think the idea of “being in your prime” can really limit us. It means there is a peak in your life and once you hit it, everything else is downhill. I don’t want to live my life that way. Things change and I think it’s healthy to acknowledge that and to not be (too) scared of change. Life is about ebb and flow and not seeking out perfection or the “prime”. I’m turning 30 soon and I have not yet felt “in my prime” but I do feel really good about life and the path I’m going down right now and that’s all I can ask for!

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