Ten years ago 30 was a ‘magic number’ milestone by which I definitely wanted to have figured everything out and be settled….. whatever that means! Like there’s an ending to a journey and once you are ‘settled’ you have permission (from the universe?!) to live happily ever after in a mature, routinely manner. Not only with hindsight does this sound 100% non achievable, it also sounds f****** boring!
The closer I became to 30 the further back this ‘magic number’ became pushed …ok 31 will be fine …ok 33 at the latest then….36…37….40?? And when I thought about it the only reason I could find for having to have a number in the first place was because of children!
Although I definitely would like to care for a child one day in the future (preferably my own but not necessarily), and very much look forward to this happening if I am lucky enough,I have never felt like if my life took the other path of no children, it would be without meaning. Nor did I feel like my sole ‘life’s purpose’ was to be a mother.
So at 29, and at a time when lots of my friends are now starting to settle I have decided to relinquish all responsibilities in my life; leave all my students and the room I rented, give away most of my worldly belongings (in one of my annual panicked attempts to be minimalist and stress-free) and travel Asia in what has now been reduced to a 20 litre backpack.
Despite worrying that I would be noticeably older than a lot of my fellow travellers, I have been pleasantly surprised to have met so many people my age and above on this trip. I have been lucky enough to have met some amazing, inspiring people and to have had many interesting life conversations. By comparison to my similar trip I embarked on in my early 20’s, this time around I know the kinds of places I want to go and the type of people I want to meet. I know when I have been travelling for too long and need to settle for a bit, and I know when I have settled for too long and need to push my comfort zone again. How do I know this? Because of my 20’s.
My 20’s consisted of the following:
1 x 2 year relationship, 1 x 3 year relationship 1 x open relationship a handful more wonderful men and women from whom I learnt a great deal about myself and relationships (do’s and don’ts)
A whole lot of therapy: counselling and support groups
5 years studying a degree that I will likely never directly use but which I enjoyed, learnt some valuable skills and met some lovely friends 🙂
A tefl qualification which has changed my life
Learning (with great heart-ache) what kinds of friends are good for me at different stages of my life….. and which are not 😦
30+ different hair styles/ colours
8 x employed jobs, 4 x nannying jobs, a dabble in furniture restoration, my own English-teaching business, fostering of 30 + cats and the invaluable realisation that I don’t have to work full-time
1 x nephew and soon to be sister in law
1 x move to a different city (what took me so long?!)
Finally becoming friends with my mum
Looking at this list makes me so excited about what my 30’s can hold now I have ‘unlocked’ certain life features from level 20’s that how can I possibly be worried about my 30’s. In fact I welcome it with open arms and I invite all my fellow 29’ers to do the same!