20 years old, flash at 2 in the morning.
29 years old and 51 weeks, soothing lights, 1.30 am.
I turn 30 next Sunday.
This is what I could tell you: It’s exciting, and I can’t wait to see what the new decade has in store for me. (off-topic, this is weird to think of what us, eighties babies, have seen during the last 30 years: the birth of the Euro; the fall of the Berlin wall; 9/11; terror everywhere; the rise and fall of boys bands; social media; Britney Spears.)
Except that it’s not true. Yes I want to see the other side. But the truth is, I am absolutely terrified.
In my head, turning 30 means that I should have accomplished a lot of things in my twenties, things that I won’t be able to do after kissing my twenties goodbye. Thanks to the general message in the media and in collective minds that if you’re over 25 and haven’t been published/youtuber/entrepreneur/top of the promotion at some point between age 12 and 20, you’re nothing and it won’t get any better once you reach another decade.
But let’s face it, my fears have a lot to do with the way I have been raised: traditional values mixed with the silent pressure of doing greater things than my family. Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids; a path dictated by people who have fled from abusive families, who married too young, for the wrong reasons, who didn’t finish school, who still struggle to get a job. People who suddenly got this kid from nowhere, a weird child who grew up reading entire books in a day and saw herself as a writer; a kid who learnt to speak languages; an awkward, scared girl who didn’t date anyone until her early twenties.
This part of me, the part who wants to make the aforementioned people proud, this part thinks that her life right now is not enough, that she wasted her twenties seeking things she couldn’t get, instead of working on a career that could have saved her a lot of worries and hurtful comments. And I think this part is still loud enough for me not to see the other side of the story: that I am more at peace now than I have ever been in my entire life. That, during these ten years, I have written a lot of words; a lot of articles have been published, short stories have been created; one of them won a contest. Works have been completed. I went on tours, sometimes as a merch-girl, most of the time as a passionate fan; I went to Sweden on an impulse trip when I found out I was made redundant. I went on music video sets and helped with casting calls. I went to see some of the best gigs of my life. I met amazing talents through interviews and random after shows. I have made friends for life. I dreamt of moving to the UK and I did it. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but I’ve made it. I went from self-medicated rape victim to proud survivor. I am in love, and loved – something I could have never thought possible until it happened.
This is for the part of me that always screams about all this being not enough:
Shut up, because you never understood that we have lived far more than the rest of our blood combined. (And that’s a lot of people, trust me.)
There will be more. There will be travels, there will be more words. There will be teaching abroad later in life if I want to, or food related ventures if I’m up for it, as well as adventures, right here, right now. There will be songs, because I still have time for it. Who cares if I record them in the bedroom. There will be more love to give and be surrounded with; there will be new things to try even if it doesn’t work (looking at you, crochet).
But no more trying to please the far away crowd of unsatisfied dreams.
I’m glad I wrote this. I’m less terrified now. And I have an excellent birthday surprise to look forward to.
Let’s raise a fucking glass. Onwards.