In January, I turned 30. Three-zero. XXX. Three decades. From now on, I will raise my hands along with other 30-somethings. I’m that much closer to being referred to as ‘of a certain age’. Weird things started coming to mind: The series, called 30something, that flighted when I was young. Those people would be my peers now, whereas back then, they were my mom’s age or somewhere around there—I didn’t really care, they were OLD!
Carrie Bradshaw and the Sex and the City gang are now only a few years older than me – well, in the series anyway (I’ve just watched season four, where Carrie turns 34 – EEEK!). And their issues, well, even though I’ve watched the series many times over, I suddenly feel I really need to pay attention in case I have something to learn this time around. For instance, the question of whether or not I want to have kids, I have to seriously consider now – even if for a couple of years’ time. And a husband/life partner/ father of said kids? Err…?
But, I digress.
Back to turning 30. I think it happened a bit too early for me. After all, I’d just come back from a fabulous holiday – staving off the holiday hangover, while preparing myself for a forthcoming work week (read, sleeping A LOT), and simply adjusting to it being a new year. Then – BAM! – I woke up and suddenly I was 30.
Context being that, I’ve never really felt my age – even last year I had the odd encounter where I was mistaken for being a lot younger. Testament to my youthful looks? That’s a laugh. But I do think I carry myself as someone younger would, from the casual dress sense, to my demeanour, I would guess. I don’t care to investigate the latter too far right now (it is 3.30am, and I’ve done a lot of Oprah magazine reading as it is).
So basically, in my heart, I’ve never really grown beyond age 27/28… A nice number, comfortably in the late-20s zone without veering too close to the danger-zone, 30.
Sounds like I don’t want to age – a fear of getting old before it even happens. Yes, but not for the reasons you’d assume. It has nothing to do with vanity.
I think my fear comes from not knowing what it means to be old. To get older. I’ve watched, with awe, those people who simply take the next required step in their lives – with ease – going through all the required moves: babies, cars, marriage, long-term plans, buying houses. Me? Well, I do some of these, mostly when practicality dictates, and I comply while silent kicking and screaming
Which leads me to the next big decision in need to make. What the hell do I want to do with my life? The personal questions are fairly easy to answer, cos really, I’m the only person who can get to judge me if I fail there. Whereas when it comes to the big C – career. I’ve got big dreams – HUGE DREAMS AND GOALS. Except here, there is a fear of failure, in front of an audience, no matter how small. But I clearly need to redefine the criteria that decides whether or not I succeed. I need to play by my own rules, not someone else’s, and decide for myself my intentions, and how I plan to achieve these intentions. And WHO I’m doing this for.
I fear making the wrong move. And deep down, it feels like, moves made as an adult are, well, permanent. Big. Scary. Have far-reaching consequences, where now I think about my legacy, and what I’m leaving in this world, how I want to be remembered, what difference I want to make in the world.
There’s no ‘oops, sorry, I did that wrong! Can I get a do-over?’ The permanence of mistakes. Failure. It’s practically disabling, this fear.
I know exactly how I would react if someone was saying just this to me. But before I go there, before I rush to fix this, I need to truly think about this fear. What it means. And how I got to be here. I need to work through it properly so that when I move on from it, I truly move on from it and aren’t looking back.
So for now. Tonight, I think about it. I dwell a little bit. But only for tonight.
And turning 30, I think, just this year, I can pretend it wasn’t on 8 January. I think this year, I’m re-doing turning 30 – making it right now, this moment. My second (more real) birthday.
When I decide, in fact, all this time I wasn’t calm, I was just in denial, and (albeit calmly) running away from the fact that life can no longer continue as it has been. It has been tough, but changes need to be made. Changes that show I am in control, I have a clear direction, I am deciding (all over again) what my passion is, and how I will go about getting to live the life that I deserve.