Yesterday I was 29 years old.
Today, I started my 30th year. The Big 3.0 – an occasion which I thought would have me running for the nearest cupboard to hide away in darkness and pretend it wasn’t happening.
Turning 30 had been playing on my mind for some time
As I rested my 29 year old eyes for the last time, I thought, it’s OK, in the morning I’ll be 30. I thought I would awake a ‘grown up’ and finally know where I was heading. I thought perhaps for such a momentous occasion that my life would have somehow changed overnight and I would now be a real adult. One of those people that you see, with the ‘real’ job and a new car, those ones that own houses and a have small humans clutching at the heels. The people who have dinner parties and drink wine for enjoyment.
I thought maybe I would wake up on this day and all the answers to my questions would be filled in. When I hear things like capital gains, high yield and dividends come out of other people’s mouths, I wouldn’t have to pretend I knew what they were talking about, because I’m 30 now, you know. Shouldn’t I know these things?
I would be growing a nose as big as Pinocchio’s if I said I had rolled into this number with ease and a self- secured confidence. I haven’t. I would be lying again if I said I hadn’t thought about the next step in life. The big stuff. I am a married female, well into child bearing age and yes, that annoying drone that you may be able to hear, is indeed the incessant drumming of my biological clock. (??!?!! Arghhhh) As my mum likes to tell me on occasion and in keeping with every cliché on the subject, I am indeed, not getting any younger. Seeing as I’m still working on my age reversal serum, Patent Pending, This is something I know I shouldn’t ignore and be naive to.
Surrounded by Sea Gypsy Children in Burma
I have had my moments leading up to this age where I freak out at the smallest of things, which in turn have a habit of snowballing pretty damn fast. I can go from life’s great to ’oh my god, I’m a failure at everything and my life is ruined because I don’t have an immediate plan for the future, set in stone and written in the blood of small baby goats’ We are pretty much living day to day, week to week, and for now, that is fine and we love having that kind of freedom. But I do think of what is next. And god help you if you are around me when this happens!
Can we have children in Thailand? Are we going to go back to the UK or Europe? How long should we live in Asia? When are we going to get to go and see here there and everywhere if we have that other dog we really want, or a child. If we go here, where are we going to live, maybe we should buy a house, ect ect
I’m sure you get the picture.
These moments of utter incomprehensible panic that seeps out of me, rare though they are I have to say, started to happen more frequently in my 29th year, the year leading up to this very day.
Turning 30 isn’t so bad 😉
Today though, as I sip a glass of my favorite sparkling beverage (found in a 7-11 in Hong Kong!) in my jacuzzi, in my private pool villa in Chiang Mai, the crickets complimenting the Buddha Bar soundtrack playing softly from the ipod dock as I gaze out into the dusky air at the fields and mountains surrounding me in my luxury hotel room for the night. I wonder, if this is what turning 30 is going to bring me, I’m all for it, heck bring on the 40s while we’re at it!
Turning 30 doesn’t seem so bad when you’re in a private pool
Drinking Martini Asti, our favourite wine that we found in Hong Kong
Waking up in a room like this = WOW
I have come to realize, life isn’t as simple as making a plan and voila, it has all happened magically. The way I tended to think in my earlier years.
The path you think you may want isn’t always as freshly mown and gaping hole free as what you first imagine it to be, and it is OK to turn around and try out that other path, the one you can’t see down properly because of all the brambles and overgrown hedges. That’s my path.
Even on this prickly and sometimes perilous path, I finally feel like I have a somewhat Vikings grasp on life that had evaded me rebelliously for most of my twenties. Because I am now in control. Everything that we do now is for us.
Decisions that WE made led us to places & moments like this
My 20’s were a mixed bag of years. I had some very good times that were blended and swirled up with some very bad times. I am fortunate enough to say that the good times outweighed the bad by a clear mile.
I began my 20th year on a Round the World trip with Jmayel and celebrated my 21st by going Whale watching in New Zealand. My twenties took me to some amazing places, eating Gelato in Rome, goulash in Prague, Crepes in Paris, Pizza in Tuscany & waffles in Bruge. I visited the USA and embarked on an epic road trip with 4 friends, trekked in the Grand Canyon and partied in Vegas. I sand boarded and shopped in Dubai & sunbathed in Bermuda.
I got engaged. Jmayel proposed to me on a cliff-top in the south of France and the following year, aged 27, we were married in a sunset desert ceremony in Morocco, followed by a Honeymoon in Greece.
Though my twenties also bought me some of my darkest moments, having several break downs at 25 years old and being at the point where I never entirely knew if I would ever be able to see the light again.
At 25 I could never have imagined what my life would be like now
I made some good friends and I lost an old one along the way. The bitter-sweetness that stays with me today as a reminder that you may not always know someone, no matter how close you may think you are.
My twenties made me an Auntie, twice, to my gorgeous nephew and niece, and I am soon to be Auntie Sach again for a 3rd time 😀
And of course, we found Eden. A very important part of the last decade as she has become our treasured possession, and the first catalyst in making our own plans, rather than sticking to what we thought we should do. (we can’t have a dog in a 1 bedroom top floor flat, or can we?!)
Edens gift to me on my birthday, a custom made Eden toy 🙂
I quit my corporate city job and started out on the scary road of self-employment and making my own way, by setting up a wedding photography business which kept us busy for 2.5 years. Before deciding to try out new lands and ventured off to live in Thailand, a move we made 2 months after my 28th birthday. And where we are still happily living today.
So, I am now 30. There is no denying or changing the fact and I am excited about what there is to come. In my twenties I came face to face with my demons and won. In my twenties I would often look in the mirror and hate the person reflected back, both emotionally and physically and sometimes not believing that it was even me.
Turning 30 has made me a much better version of myself
This morning when I look in the mirror, I smiled…
I look back over my shoulder and wave goodbye to the last 10 years as a twenty something, not with sadness but with pride at who I have become and more importantly, who I am becoming. I think back to my late teens when I thought I would have had it all sorted out by now and I laugh at how ridiculous that was. If I had have had it ‘all sorted’ by now, what else would there be left for me to do?!
30 things I wish I could have told my 20 year old self:
1. Love yourself & Look after yourself wholly.
2. Exercise is enjoyable, not a chore.
3. Always aim to be the best person you can be.
4. Set yourself goals and achieve them, never wander blindly.
5. Don’t be scared to do something different.
6. No one can help you unless you are ready to help yourself.
7. Allow others to see you at your worst.
8. Stay true to yourself, Don’t be ashamed to be who you are.
9. Cry and cry a lot, never hold back emotions and lock things inside.
10. Laugh and laugh a lot. Wrinkles caused by laughing do not count as wrinkles. Fact.
Silliness has no age limit 😉
11. Be silly, silliness has no age limit.
12. Tell your family you love them
13. Tell your friends you love them, they will become your family too.
Sometimes literally…one of my best friends is becoming my sister-in-law
14. It’s ok for your dreams to change…as long as you still have them.
15. Never compare yourself to others and want what you don’t have. Be thankful for what you do have.
16. Jealousy is an ugly emotion & doesn’t look good on anyone.
17. Learn to forgive, even without receiving an apology.
18. Don’t harbor negative feelings, they will only make you negative.
19. See things for what they are and don’t try to change the unchangeable.
20. Your generosity is precious, even if it goes unnoticed.
21. Not everything is black and white, always look at the bigger picture.
22. Put good out there and you will be rewarded.
23. Don’t dwell on the little things, while you’re doing that the big things are passing you by.
24. Learn to appreciate the small things in life. They usually last longer.
25. Don’t neglect your friendships.
My friends & I from a childhood photo
26. Nothing is impossible, but it may seem that way until you begin to try.
27. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
28. There is no excuse for excuses. Just do it.
29. Make an effort. If you’re going to do something halfheartedly, then don’t bother.
I really do believe the best is yet to come for us, and I really do believe that it will be our thirties that delivers’ the sweetest of gifts.
Sacha El-Haj – 8 Miles from Home