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