Hurtling Towards Middle Age
It recently occurred to me that one of the reasons why I’m so freaked out about turning 30 is that I have suddenly realised that all the things that I had filed in the ‘I-know-realistically-I-will-never-do-but-you-never-know-I-might’ category of my brain has suddenly been relabelled ‘I-will-never-be-able-to-do…’. I now know that I will never win an Olympic Gold medal, nor will I ever be a popstar: Wembley will never see this face. It never seemed to matter that I have always been fairly useless at sport, nor did it matter that my, ‘well, I can hold a tune’ voice, two left feet and tendency to put on weight could hinder my aspirations of becoming a star.
The thing was that I could carve these carefully thought out scenarios in my mind, always aware that they would never happen, but still safe in the knowledge that they could happen. Now that I’m turning 30, it’s suddenly not possible and that’s why I think getting older scares so many people. Suddenly the possibilities are less inviting and the realities more biting. Words and phrases such as ‘might’, ‘could be’ and ‘you can do whatever,’ have been taken away and replaced with sensible suggestions such as ‘pension’, ‘career progression’ and dare I say it, ‘Maternity Leave’.
Priorities change as you get older and you suddenly realise what you will never be able to do. That’s why my mantra for my ‘30th year’ is to make the last year of my twenties so full that I don’t want to escape into the little part of my brain where I’ve been harbouring these fantasies. ‘I could’ needs to be replaced with ‘I have’ and the fantasies replaced with realities. There is so much ‘life’ to grab hold of and so many memories to create I just need to start doing it. So here goes…just don’t ask me to give up my popstar fantasy yet, I may be more Bridget Jones than Britney Spears, but you never know when the market might be right for a hairbrush wielding 30 year old.
Fuck, fuck, fuckity, FUCK! How the hell did this happen?! I’m currently hibernating beneath my duvet as I begin to comprehend exactly what this means. I’m not a pretty sight. My face has been welded to the pillow for the past 7 hours so appears to have folded in on itself. Someone said you get more wrinkles as you get older but I was not prepared for this. I look like an Orc. But it’s not my Orc-like state that I’m profaning about. It is something far, far more shocking. Rewind ten minutes:
My alarm goes off.
Snooze goes on.
My alarm goes off, again
Snooze goes on, again.
My alarm goes off…
It’s a familiar pattern.
I have learnt in my years that setting my snooze button to go off at intervals of 10 minutes inevitably leads to an inordinate amount of stress when trying to leave the house. This is why sensible people set it to go off at five or even, if they’re being daring, seven minute intervals. I am not sensible. I like my sleep. So, before I know it, I’ve scrabbled around the bedroom floor, thrown some clothes on (only later realising that a strapless top, skirt and flip flops really don’t make for appropriate office attire) charged out the flat while running through a checklist of the essentials ‘keys, purse, oyster card, makeup’ (vital for any Orc) stumbled down the stairs (I make staying upright seem like an art form) and power-walked my way to the tube (with or without the umbrella that is languishing by the front door of my flat. Many a time have I turned up to work giving the proverbial drowned rat a bad name)
Although today is different. I sit bolt upright. In a state of sleep induced panic, that feeling you get when you suddenly realise that you have snoozed for 40 minutes, leaving you precisely five minutes before you absolutely have to leave the house, I realise what today means. And it’s not that I’m late for work, I just forgot to turn off my alarm last night. For today, is my birthday and I’m turning 29. This means two things: One, I have racked up 29 of your earthly light years and today I start the first day of my 30th year (Please refer to the opening line of this blog for exactly how that made me feel) and two, I have an exceptionally bad hangover (I spent last night getting hideously dunk on white wine, before trying to drag my friend to ‘some bar I went to once’. It was not the work of a responsible adult entering into their third decade on this earth).
The sudden movement has made my head feel as if it’s trying to wrench itself from my body. I actually wish it would. So I crawl back under the duvet to work out what I want to do. Not just today, but what I want to do with this year. I want to do something and everything. I want this to be the best year it can be. I want to turn 30 and feel happy and satisfied with my life. Because at the moment, I really don’t.
Problem is, I’m not sure what feeling ‘satisfied’ means for me. I just know that right now, turning 30 fills me with such stomach-punching dread (and that’s not down to the bottle of vino swimming round my body) that I need to do something to change that. I need to be able to wake up in a year’s time and feel, not only hungover, but satisfied. I want my hangover (because let’s face it, it’s going to happen) to be celebratory, not to have been induced by a need to drown my sorrows. I want this to be a year of firsts. A year where I get out of the mundane and make something happen.
So, in my hangover fuzz, I decide that’s exactly what I’m going to do, I’m going to spend time thinking, feeling, travelling and most importantly of all, experiencing all I possibly can in one year. By writing it all down here, I become accountable to myself, because when I do look back in 12 months time, I’ll be able to judge myself on the content of this blog.
So, to start… just let me find the ibuprofen first.