Last month I turned 30. *Pause for shock*
I know I don’t look it, or so friends, random strangers and ID checkers (supermarkets, clubs) say – and I’m not at all sure I feel 30, whatever feeling 30 means, but I do feel different.
As the day approached I wasn’t too sure how to deal with it. At first I thought of having a ‘Joey from Friends’ break down: ‘why God why? We had a deal, everyone else gets old, not me!’
That or go into denial. But then I got some sense back (must be getting wiser with age) and realised how lucky I am to turn 30. How lucky I am to be a happy 30 year old. How amazing it is to be a 30 year old woman. Also, going into grumpiness or denial would totally go against my ‘Carpe Diem’ philosophy, so those options were out of the door real quick.
So I celebrated! Had a pre-lunch (the day before) with some friends, lunch with my husband, dinner with my family, dinner with my girls. And after thinking about it for a second I realised I am truly happy and grateful to be 30, and cannot wait for the amazingness that the next decade brings. I swear to the unicorns I am being as honest as honest can be.
Sure, let’s not kid ourselves, somethings change: gravity is starting to work its way (not severely yet, but there are signs); my metabolism is not the same anymore, it takes me about a month to lose the weight I gain in one day; if I eat crap food my skin will resent it immediately; I have to wear ‘mature skin’ face and body lotions which are pricey AF; and I now relate to those women ‘feeling bloated’ on yogurt commercials. On that note, I read an article by someone called Dr Poo (I’m not even joking) saying that after 25 our bowl enzymes’ numbers decrease, hence the above happens. (I guess reading articles by Dr Poo also proves my age…)
But… I feel better than ever. I know myself better and I am hopefully on the path to figure myself out. I am calmer, I don’t stress as much, I learned to love myself and, dare I say it?, yes: I am happy with how I look, even if I don’t look perfect (at all). I am more tolerant, more patient, and kinder than I ever was. I don’t panic about the future as much as I once did, I appreciate the little things and try not to get upset about things that don’t really matter. I try not to waste as much time with people or things I don’t really care about, and try to make the most of the small moments I have with the ones I truly love. I don’t waste money or time on bad wine anymore, and if I don’t feel like going out and would rather have a quiet night in, wearing my PJs, I have a quiet night in wearing my PJs. And I am happier than I ever thought I could be. So yes, 30 is good.
At the same time, I can’t believe I am 30 (‘jeez she’s like a roller coaster‘, I hear you say). It’s like when grandparents tell you ‘I thought I could do it because in my head I feel so young‘; I am not quite there yet but I understand the ‘being young at heart‘ thing. I have always been so childish either way I never really thought I’d be a grown-up (the Peter Pan syndrome is strong in this one), and I guess in a way, I don’t really see myself as one. I am quite silly. But I guess part of being 30 is also realising that being a grown-up is not about talking about the economic crisis, politics, reading newspapers and watching the news. Sure some do that, but it is totally OK to be a completely different kind of grown-up. In fact part of it is realising that you can be whoever you want to be (just don’t be a jackass). It’s also realising that you can think for yourself, and not everyone is going to like what you say, or you, but that’s OK.
If it’s so awesome why are we so afraid of growing old then? (you ask) Ha! Here’s what I think: in a society obsessed with beauty and looks somehow ‘growing old’ has become a taboo, not being ‘as young as you once were’ seems to be a crime and especially for women there seems to be an invisible barrier set at 30 that marks you apart, like cattle. But what we don’t realise is that growing old is the real gift. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and tell you ‘aw I can’t wait to be wrinkled up as dried plum, not being able to move half my body, losing control of my bladder! It’s going to be great!’. Obviously not, no one says that! (that’s where the expensive lotions and preventive medicine come in). But if you do grow old, and you’re lucky to have your wits about you, oh my, then that’s just fortunate. That’s what being blessed is.
If you’re still unsure about growing old, here: the same week I turned 30 we launched a Christmas campaign at work (the Cystic Fibrosis Trust) featuring a young girl of 9, Elle, who has been told she may not live to see her 10th birthday in January. Elle drafted a wish list, with 10 wishes. The last wish reads: ‘Have a party for my 10th birthday’. Have a party for her birthday! How many birthday parties have you taken for granted?
Growing old is a blessing. Don’t take it for granted, celebrate and enjoy every day that you are on this planet, whether you look like a dried plum or not. You owe it to life, to your luck, to yourself and to everyone who wishes they’d be as lucky as you. That’s how I plan to live the next decade and the ones to come anyway.
Here’s a few pictures of my celebrations, hope you are celebrating as well, no matter how young or old – Life itself is a celebration.
*As I write this post my thoughts are with Elle and her family. I am wishing with all my heart that she gets well. If you’d like to know more about her and how you can help, here’s her Facebook page.