Get Brave: Turning the Big 3-0

“I don’t believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun. ”

Virginia Woolf

In four days I will be turning 30 years old. I have four days left of my twenties. Four. That feels so incredibly strange to say – or type – out loud. I am having a bit of a difficult time with the realisation that I am no longer a twenty-something.

Am I finally going to have to behave like an adult? Is this the year it will finally hit me and all of a sudden – like a light bulb moment – I will suddenly understand all the intricacies of the grown-up world?

Probably not. Deep down, I still feel eighteen. I suppose – and hope – this never changes.

It’s a tough age for us women. We’re no longer entitled to the extended adolescence that is the Terrible Twenties, instead we are urged to move forward, make decisions, join the real world, and – quite frankly – its fucking terrifying sometimes. I’ve lost count of the amount of people who’ve asked me if I have a boyfriend, husband, children, or plans for them in the near future. I can barely decide what I want for dinner, let alone what I want to do with the rest of my life, and I feel like I am on a strict timeline now. I have mixed emotions about this.

On one hand, it’s about time I got serious. It’s time I think about what I want to do and what I want from my life, purely because it will make me happy and a little more stable, not because someone has told me I need to settle down.
However, on the other, I am increasingly frustrated with this need to lump people in age brackets and dictate to them what they should be doing and by when.

I overheard a woman the other day saying it was her 30th birthday soon. A fellow Libran and October baby, I told her I was also facing the impending thirtydom.

“How do you feel about it?” someone else asked her.

“I feel fine,” she replied, fiercely. “I feel better than I did when I was twenty-five because I have more now. I have a house, I’m not quite married but I am engaged, and I have a stable job. I feel ready for it.”
“Define more,” I wanted to ask. I mean, look at my situation. To some people – and occasionally I am one of these – my life at 29 might seem a little scary. Officially I am unemployed, I rent a room from my friend, I am seeing someone but it’s in those very early – and exciting – stages and I don’t know what I want to do next week, let alone during the course of the next five years.

I’m not going to lie. This got to me. I felt like this woman was preparing for war, arming herself with “things” to fight off the milestone. House. Check. Husband to be. Check. Stable career. Check. And I felt a bit sad that, as women (and men, I’m sure you feel this too) this is what we chalk our experiences up to. This is what is important.

I’m not saying that marriage, or having a career, or beautiful babies isn’t an achievement, or a worthwhile one – they’re all fan-fucking-tastic (well done the lot of you) rather, we don’t have to have them all at once, in a certain order, or by a certain time. Or at all, if we don’t want.

Married but your job sucks? Oh well.

Got the career but no sign of a baby? It’s OK.

What’s for you won’t go by you.

If you’re meant to have it, you will. It just takes some of us a little bit longer – and a good dose of hard work – to get there. I have always, always wanted to be a writer. I have talked about being a writer for a long time, and how I want to write a novel, but its only now – on the cusp of the big 3-0 – that I feel ready, brave and able enough to go for it. I am almost finished with the first draft of my young adult novel and have made promises to my loved ones that I will at least send it off into the world when its complete.

So yeah, my biological clock may be ticking away like the crocodile in Peter Pan, but I have zero interest in babies right now.

“Oh you’ll have one,” a friend said to me. “You will change your mind in a few years. You’ll see.”

Maybe I will but I don’t like that assumption. Maybe I won’t change my mind. Or perhaps one day something will just trigger that switch. What I am trying to say, I suppose – in a rather roundabout fashion – is that it’s OK to be afraid of turning thirty, or twenty one, or fifty or sixteen.

It’s OK to question your achievements, and want to push yourself further or strive for something else, but make sure you base this assumption on your own values, not those of other people. I can assure you,though, that just by being yourself you have achieved something brilliant

I’ve had a rollercoaster decade. I’ve had great times, I’ve had awful times, I’ve lost people I love, made wonderful friends and lost others. I have experienced interesting things, travelled solo and seen the world, fallen in love, had my heart broken and broken my own in the process. But I am stronger, tougher, wiser, kinder, smarter, sillier and braver as a result.

Yes, I am nervous of what’s to come. I chose to shed my skin and begin again in every aspect of my life. It’s tough especially when you’re compelled to compare yourself to others and judge your lot a little too harshly.

It’s time to shake off the shackles of what you think you should have, and think about what it is that you want to achieve.

Here’s to entering a new decade, you lovely lot, and being happy, healthy and fearless. Because really, that’s all that counts.

Along with my #itsnotgrimupnorth series where I wax lyrical about all things Manchester, I’ve decided to start another new series on the blog! (Hurah, I hear you all cry) called #getbrave where I’m hoping I can get you lovely lot involved with sharing words of wisdom, tales of inspirations and ways to keep each other motivated.

Sometimes all people need is a little support, a chance to shine, or just someone to listen. Lets help each other out!

Like the sound of this? Visit me over at Twitter @EmmaYatesBadley or leave a message below with your pearls of wisdom.  



8 Replies to “Get Brave: Turning the Big 3-0”

  1. I love this post- I’m 35 and have had so many of these same thoughts. Have you heard of the book “Spinster”, by Kate Bolick? It’s a really excellent read and addresses so much of this. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I enjoyed writing it. I think its about time we were a little more positive and took the time to support each other rather than impose impossible deadlines on one another. I haven’t heard of the book, but I will certainly check it out. Sounds like my cup of tea!

  2. Ah the big 3-0
    I passed that milestone almost two years ago – as you know, you organised my party!
    I had always promised myself I would achieve as much as possible by the age of 30 so I could duck out and become a stay-at-home Mum in my 30s and write a book. Only problem is I have pushed so hard to achieve the goal of success that it has precluded me finding a nice, normal man!
    If you are still up for the women’s commune with the wonderful female consultant surgeon who is our best friend then I am in. It turns out that being a 21st century high-flying woman is the equivalent of being kryptonite to the opposite sex!
    Am I miserable that I am yet to find ‘the one’ ? Only on the basis that when one works 100 hour weeks it would be nice to have someone make you dinner or run you a bath!
    They used to say ‘behind every great man is a great woman’ and you know what – 99% of the time this was, and I suspect still is, certainly true. So who is behind every great woman? Sadly very rarely a great man. Not only can we stand on our own two feet, succeed in the workplace, but we can also keep our ship in order and rely on nobody to iron our shirts or hoover the house.
    So what does the 30s woman have to look forward to today? Leading the way in the ongoing fight against sexual inequality, where rather than feel daunted, emasculated or intimidated by a strong and successful woman, men can learn to want to help us, support us and encourage us, the way we have been taught we should be doing for them since the dawn of time.
    Sadly I don’t think this social change will ever happen in my lifetime

    1. Hello, Love the name!!
      But that’s my point, isn’t it! Why 30? Why do we push so hard to achieve so much by this age? Why is it a milestone? Aren’t we being kinder to ourselves if we just get rid of this ‘by the time I am 30’ mentality. Or is that impossible? Who knows!
      I am certainly not suggesting that men aren’t behind their women, or that they don’t support women in their endeavors. I believe changes need to be made to the attitudes of both sexes regarding age, achievements and lifestyle choices. My point is that people (men and women) are too hard on themselves when it comes to ‘wanting it all.’ I’m not saying you can’t have it all. You can have it all and then some if you want it enough. Rather, I am suggesting we give ourselves a break.

      I am not a high flyer. I am barely a flyer. That’s OK with me because I know what my ambitions are and I realise it might take some time to get there. But I am not going to beat myself about this and certainly it doesn’t matter that I haven’t done it before I am 30.

      You are doing wonderfully as you are. I am glad you are as proud of your achievements. Everything will slot into place as it should. Positive thoughts xx

  3. I’m 32 and still don’t know what I’m doing with my life! Ha!
    When I was turning 30 it was the ‘things to do before you turn 30’ lists that got me freaking out…FYI you can do everything on them after 30!
    The best part about turning 30….it’s acceptable to drag the celebrating out for at least a month!!! Have a great birthday 🙂

    1. Love your response, Angela! It’s funny how we all start freaking out when we are approaching the day (three to go, and counting) and then realise, once we’re there, that nothing has changed. Here’s to changing attitudes to hitting that thirty ‘milestone’ and giving each other – and ourselves – impossible deadlines.

      Thanks very much, I fully attend to celebrate the day to its full partying potential xx

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