On Saturday August 4, Meghan Markle will celebrate her 37th birthday, thus beginning the two-and-a-half month stretch during which she and Kimberly Kardashian are the same age. But that's not the only reason she has a good year in store.
By all accounts, 37 is a sleeper hit. It’s the age Christina Aguilera was when she stepped into the spotlight, reborn as a person with freckles. It’s the age Michelle Williams was when she secretly got married in the woods, and the age at which Jake Gyllenhaal dined at a pub in Shoreditch, London (iconic). In September, Beyoncé herself will be 37, solidifying its veracity as a trend.
For Meghan Markle, the age marks a clear upward trajectory. When she was 21, she appeared on an episode of General Hospital that likely changed everything for her, and within a year or two she met the man who would become her first husband. At 30 she landed her recurring role as Rachel Zane on Suits. At 32 she reportedly left her first husband by sending her rings back to him in the mail (an extremely thirtysomething way to end a relationship, because it wastes no time on mixed messages but also requires office supplies). At 36 Markle became a duchess and was reportedly gifted an actual castle by the Queen of England. Her life is clearly getting better with age. And while the “messy” bun and penchant for J.Crew are reason enough to believe that she’s just like us, this is really what makes her so relatable.
The fact that Markle spent the majority of her twenties and thirties focused on pushing forward in her career, and then got married, is probably the most “normal” part of her story (the rest of the story, we can’t forget, is about stepping into a life of blinding wealth and privilege). Were she a decade younger, she might not be quite as aspirational a figure. A twenty-something “princess” requires a little too much suspension of disbelief: It’s hard to be joyful at the kind of fairytale that means a woman has done all her best living by then.
U.S. Census data reflects that delaying personal triumphs for work ones is a growing trend. But women in the back half of their thirties are still told to keep their age a secret, just when it starts to be a point of pride for all they’ve been through and accomplished. By virtue of being living royalty, Markle is drawing attention to that disconnect: It’s better to wade through your Saturn’s return and the milestone panic that sets in somewhere around 30, ease into your gynecologist calling you “geriatric,” and then really settle in to your stride.
Cultural norms would have us all handwringing about approaching 40, but we spoke to nine women who told us that 37 — on its own — was the best year yet. Whether it was the year they stopped giving in to bullshit imposter syndrome, had a baby, or launched a business they could only have dreamed of in their 20s, they share the many upsides of 37. According to them, Meghan has a lot to look forward to this year.
A New Attitude
"My thirties were wholly liberating, but at 37 I hit another level when I traveled alone abroad for the first time. I toured the Netherlands solo (sure, I was on assignment and with a guide), but there was no plus one with me, no friend or boyfriend joining me this time. Sure, I experienced loneliness here and there, and it was a little strange to sit alone for meals — but that trip gave me the boost of confidence to do more things, and go on more adventures, solo. At 37, I realized I didn’t need anyone for company but myself." —Cindy Augustine, journalist
"I got sober at 37. It was a bitch but also a REBIRTH. Before 37 was the old me, and the new me is here to stay." —Harmony Hobbs
"At 37, I had my third (and final) baby and found a new energy. I was considered a 'geriatric' mom and officially inducted into The Sisterhood of Traveling Yoga Pants. Yet I felt young — and, dare I say, content. At 37, you’ve gotten over the shock of being 35, but you’re still a few years away from actually reading the fine print in a Botox ad. It’s a pretty good place to be." —Erin Sarro
"37 started rough, but it was the year when I finally realized that some of the things I was raised to believe about myself were not true, and that I didn't have to accept those things. It took me 37 years to even acknowledge that my value is not tied to my usefulness to other people, but rather that I have value inherent to existing. It was a really huge, really scary year, but one that made it possible for me to realize that I deserve to advocate for myself, and I deserve love." —Jenn Louise
"It was my favorite year. At the age of 37, I welcomed my third daughter in 36 months. I also walked away from a decade-long career as a corporate litigator to start The Riveter [a women's co-working space]. I raised $5.5 million and ramped up a business from idea to $2 million in annual revenue. I proved to myself that it's never too late to begin again, and that the decisions I made about my career at the age of 21 needn't hold true 16 years later." —Amy Nelson, Founder & CEO, The Riveter
"37 is a great age. I have the mental clarity and social capital to not only achieve my career goals but also to help others with theirs. There is no better feeling than stopping a person in her 20s from making a terrible mistake that I once made! And I just sold my debut children's picture book, which is a dream come true. I figure I have about 1,000 days left in my thirties, and I will be making the most of 'em!" —Nancy Redd, Author of Pregnancy, OMG!
"I just turned 38 a few months ago, but 37 was a good year — I started my company after years of wanting to make the leap and also hit a few career milestones (international speaking being a big one). I also felt more confident for the most part." —Cortney Harding, Founder, Friends With Holograms
Love and Family
"37 was magical for me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which although terrifying, was transformational. It led to a total life reboot, finally managing stress, eating better, exercising more, and actually enjoying life for once. And I finally realized how toxic my marriage was and got divorced! I’m 46 now, and although 37 was a really tough year at the time, I look back on it as one of the best of my life." —Kristin Luck, Growth Strategist
"That year will always be memorable because I was pregnant with our first son, Bodie — and since he came early, I had him at 37, too. My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for about eight months — not long for some, but each passing month was emotional and exhausting. Since I was AMA, a.k.a. 'advanced maternal age,' we weren't sure if it would happen
"I did become pregnant and then miscarried early on, also all too common, but the silver lining was learning that we could get pregnant, and just a month later, we conceived again. I also was in the midst of one of my busiest times with my business (a one-woman communications consulting company). To top it off, we realized we needed more space, so my husband and I begrudgingly left New York City after 15 amazing years and moved to Jersey.
"As cliché as it sounds, my heart expanded in ways I didn’t know possible once Bodie joined our family. I have never dealt well with change, and 37 brought a bunch of it. Now, on the brink of 40, with a second son and an adopted dog in the mix, in our homey Jersey City apartment overflowing with toys and trucks and bottle parts, I look back with such fondness for that year." —Jaime Maser Berman, Founder, Maser Communications