I am turning thirty next year. In October, to be precise. I don’t feel ready. I feel like a prisoner, held against my will and forced to grow older. I demand to be released. I want to go to Neverland. Peter Pan did it, why can’t I? “Tinks, pass me the fairy dust!” (I’m apparently obsessed with fairies recently, I apologise)
Its not that I’m freaking out because I’m getting older (although ask me the same question on my 29th Birthday and I predict a very drunken and weeping Emma will tell you different). Its more to do with feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything. I mean sure, when friends and family take a look back on my 28 years so far, they tell me otherwise: I have a masters degree, I’ve done a sky dive, I’ve travelled around Europe in a convertible, I’ve moved cities, I’ve lived in London, I’ve fallen in love and had my heart broken, I’ve gotten over it, I’ve been covered in monkeys, and made some fantastic friends. I suppose I should give myself more credit than I do as I went through the mill a bit in my early twenties – having to deal with the sudden death of my older brother (he was 24, I was 22) which completely changed my life and, unfortunately, I didn’t feel ready to experience certain things such as travelling or getting an internship in a children’s publishers like I’d always thought I might do – and I think I’ve come out the other side, slightly bedraggled and bruised and with many mistakes under my belt, but otherwise stronger, wiser(ish) and with a greater value for not only my own life and what I want to do, but for those people around me who I love dearly.
So its with this in mind – and finally allowing myself to think in selfish terms (if you’d like to read my earlier post about learning to be more selfish, you can do so here) – that I have decided to produce a list of things I would really love to do before I reach the big 3-0 (if I can’t bargain with the universe and earn a reprieve from the ageing process first)
I have 17 months and 10 of these will hopefully be spent abroad.
So, here we go:
Thirty Things to Do Before I’m Thirty…gulp!
1. Learn to Drive. Yes. I am a 28 year old who can’t drive. I am AWFUL at it too. My favourite thing to do is stall at traffic lights, forget my left and right and mess up gears. Hopeless. I dread driving lessons. I have one this afternoon and the thought is making me want to chuck up in my desk drawer.
2.Develop a Crush on Someone. Anyone. I would say ‘fall in love’ but its me and I’m being realistic here. I’d love to fall in love again, don’t get me wrong, I’m just not very good at it. I have been single for 2 and a half years. I barely crush on anyone. I’d like a full blown one, one that makes you blush beetroot when they are around. Someone who I think is absolutely amazing. Its been such a long time since I crushed, I’m starting to think I’m broken **world’s smallest violin plays**
3.Travel on my own. the most I have done is multiple train journeys in the UK and one flight back from Ghana where I was pretty much in a Star Beer/slight flu coma. I want to travel on my own and deal with all the scary, lonely, amazing, craziness that comes with doing so. I want to go to the places I want, see the things I want. I’m pretty sure The Big 12 Month Tour will be a slap in the face and a cuddle in equal measure.
4.Conquer my fear of heights. Now I have done a skydive. I loved it. It felt completely surreal and not at all like I was going up in the air or 11,000 feet or whatevs. However, put me on the London eye, top of a castle, or even that piddly wheel near Selfridges in Manchester, and my palms start sweating profusely and my legs wobble like jelly, and all I can think is GET ME DOWN. Its so inconvenient. I even hate the steps in castles…you know, the big stone ones that spiral up and up and you cant see where you going. **hides head in shame**
5.Conquer my fear of spiders. I’m half way there. Gone are the days where I would scream for my dad, brother, some male figure or brave lady figure, to remove an eight-legged fiend from my vicinity. I can now remove them myself with the aid of a glass and magazine (you would too if you’d lived with the Girl Most Afraid of Spiders ever) but only if I have an Epic Poem honouring the deed and spurring me on (truth) but they still make me sick to my stomach and I SWEAR I can hear them scuttling across the floorboards (although my dad is adamant that spiders legs cannot be heard unless “they are wearing bloody tap shoes.”) Anyway, I digress. I just really hate spiders. I might need therapy for this one.
6.Visit New York and the 911 Memorial. I’d love to track down the firemen who came to my brother’s funeral but its impossible so I’ll settle for leaving a note of my gratitude at the memorial centre and pay my respects.
7.Write a novel. I WILL finish LOL. I will. I will. I will. I have dreams about finishing it all the time but I also have dreams that I’m rich and married to Jim Hamilton.
8. Enter said novel into a competition In the words of Sisqo “unleash the dragon” although I’m totally sure he was talking about his willy and now this is a bit awkward. Ooops.
9.Try and find an agent who supports my ramblings. This one may happen. May not. That’s why I said try and not get. Be pretty nice though wouldn’t it?
10.Attempt to write features/articles and have them published in some sort of forum. I love blogging. I really do. I love it so. I’d like to be able to talk about more things that worry, inspire and annoy me. I may have this one covered but I don’t want to jinx it. Best to leave that chat for another blog post.
11.Enter Writing Competitions/submit short stories. I have LOADS of these on my computer they just never get sent anywhere. Time to do a little bit of emailing and finger crossing I think.
12.Travel to see my friends more often. My friends are awesome. I’m biased, but I’m pretty sure I have THE BEST ones. Unfortunately, I don’t live in the same part of the country as some of these lovelies anymore. I pledge to go see and hang out with them and arrange for them to come hang in the shire. I will spend surprise days with them somewhere random. Anything. I love those people like they are my sisters and I am at my happiest when I am in their company.
13. Travel across North America. I love America, I love its big, brash supermarkets and over the top portion sizes. I’m obsessed with New Orleans and the music scene in Seattle. I want to see LA and the beaches of California. I want to see Boston and Washington and so many other places
14.Travel to India. I want the challenge of India. I want the noise and the temples and the crazy. I also want the peace and the wisdom and to learn exactly who I am and how to chill the hell out.
15.Travel to New Zealand. Lord of the Rings. Glo worm caves. Nuff said.
16.Travel to Nepal. A Himalayan Trek is about as far removed from my daily UK life as you can get. I want to push myself to do things I never thought I would be able to do. There’s also Yaks. Gotta love Yaks.
17.Travel and work in Kenya. My auntie has friends who own some amazing camping thing in Kenya. Why I’ve never taken advantage of this, I have no idea. I don’t want to stay in luxury though. I want to pay my way and meet new people. I also want elephants and lions and giraffes (oh my).
18.Join a gym and stick with it. I’m getting softer as the years go on. And if I’m going to Himalayan trek it, I best get on that treadmill. I need an anonymous gym though, where no-one can see my red, sweaty face and weak attempts at fitness. I also need a pool. Love a good swim.
19.Find out what it is that I want to do career wise. I want to be a writer but what if I can’t be? There has to be something else I want to do: teach, work for a charity, become a nun (hmm…perhaps not). I think time away will give me perspective as to who I am and what I want from my life. I cant keep bouncing from job to job to job like some directionless rubber ball.
20.Learn another language. I hate the fact that I can’t speak another language. It makes me feel a bit silly in certain social situations, and I am completely jealous of other people’s linguistic ability. I want to make sure I learn phrases from every country I spend time in, but I’d also love to learn basic, conversational French. There’s only so far you can get when you ask what the time is or where’s the swimming pool again and again.
21.Learn to play one song on any instrument. I do not care what this. It can be anything from the piano to a didgeridoo to a recorder. Even the spoons.
22. Get Another Tattoo. I’ve been saying this for years but have never come across that one design that really means something to me. Perhaps I’ll go the whole hog and get this done while I’m travelling.
23. Go to the Harry Potter Studios in the UK. This may sound lame to all you non-potter heads but I love a bit of the chosen one and all his adventures. I’ve been to ‘Hogwarts’ in Florida but never on the studio tour. I will also drag my equally Hazza P crazy bezzie along for the journey.
24.Read as many books about as many things as I possibly can. I have always been a bookworm and I read quite a lot but I find that when I am really busy with work I tend to read less and turn the tellybox on instead. Although I see nothing wrong with my love of box sets and Emmerdale, I would like to feed the bookworm because he’s getting hungry and bit pissed off.
25.Volunteer I used to volunteer all the time – literary festivals, community centres, all sorts – but this was when I worked part-time and had good access to transport links. I’d love to get back into volunteering somewhere, even if its just an afternoon or evening a week.
26.Go to a music festival. I sort of have this one covered, although I wouldn’t class Castlefield Bowl to see James a music festival. I’ve got higher plans for a music festival in America during my travels. I’d like to go to something completely bonkers like Burning Man Festival or cool like Coachella, or something I would never really go for, like the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Or perhaps a wild African musical festival, that would be amazing!
27.Learn to Cook. When I say this I don’t mean I cant actually cook. I make a mean shepherd’s pie, a yummy roast dinner and pretty amaze fajitas and tacos. I’m just not very adventurous. I cant make things from scratch.
28. Throw a fab party and invite everyone I love. Christmas/NYE/Going away party anyone? Get the prezzies, mulled wine and winter tunes on the go.
29. Raise more money for my parent’s charity. I probably won’t do another sky dive. But what about a bungee jump in New Zealand? I’ve always wanted to do that. I’m sure loads of people would pay to see me jump off something high!
30. Wash an elephant. This one’s a bit strange but I’ve seen it on the tellybox loads. Those beautiful beasts lolling around in water with lucky, loving people washing their giant skulls, ears twitching majestically about. I love elephants!
I want to end by spending my 30th somewhere inspiring. I haven’t actually calculated this yet. I’m not sure what country I will be in but I think it may be India. Perhaps I’ll see the Taj Mahal. That’s something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see.
So that’s my 30 before 30 list. Looks like it’ll be a busy year. Need a quick nap now.