08/06/2016 06:31 BST | Updated 08/06/2017 06:12 BST

Life and Learning: Turning 30


I woke up the morning after my 30th birthday hungover to shit,

still in my dress with a full body rash. If that's not a movie style opening to the rest of my life, I don't know what is.

Despite the itching, turning 30 was legitimately the best thing that ever happened to me. I had a very cliché mini meltdown when it happened. "What am I doing with my life? Who am I? Am I going to die alone? With cats? Can I even afford cats?" But I very quickly got over that when I realised 2 things. The first was that I quite like my life. The second was that there were things I could change to like it even more. Here are some things I've learned in the last year.

1. There's worse things to do in life than travel: I've never been big on going places. I'm a homebody. Those ridiculous instagram quotes that say things like "if you were meant to stay in one place you'd have roots, not legs" make my eyes roll so hard they almost detach. Wherever I am, I'm almost always trying to figure out the quickest route back to my tiny east London flat. However, it's 3 days before my 31st birthday and I'm sweating to death in an apartment in Brooklyn. Before I turned 30 if you told me I'd have made it to the other side of the Atlantic twice in 4 months I'd have told you to shut your stupid mouth. That's not Jade. I know Jade and Jade does not travel. But actually I've found out that as long as I do it on my own terms, I can make any place my home away from home.

2. There is life after alcohol: I've always been a strong believer in 'in vino veritas' but not drinking has allowed me to know my true self sober. I haven't had a drink since 2015. Spoiler alert: it's not the alcohol making the poor choices. It's you.

3. I can cut myself some slack sometimes: between 2014 and 2015 I lost around 100lbs in body weight. To do this I had to be very strict on myself because I'm no good at moderation. Now, as I try to maintain this body I made, I'm starting to realise that my world isn't going to fall apart if I eat an Oreo.

4. I need to own my insecurities: I remember the first time someone accused me of being insecure. I was insulted. Everyone knows me as this bold, intelligent, ridiculous human. Why would I be insecure? Since then I've been learning which of my actions or feelings are borne of insecurity. Hint: it's all of them. All of them. But at least now I know that. And when I make poor choices and people ask me why I can proudly say "Because I'm an idiot and I have self esteem issues". It might not sound like the best progress. But it's a start.

5. I actually really like myself: Both inside AND out, because being insecure doesn't mean you can't know your own worth. Appreciating yourself doesn't make you an egotist. I'm a damn good person. I work hard. I'm a great friend. I don't litter. My eyebrows are on fleek. It's okay to know and like these things.

6. It's worth pursuing my passions: I was sick of seeing the terrible bullshit awful people get published on the internet. I knew I could do better. I said I could do better. What did I do? Nothing. I just complained, whilst my brain and my MA Creative Writing gathered dust. After I turned 30 I figured, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So here I am, screaming out into the universe. Enjoy.

7. It's okay to want what I want, or not know what I want at all: I'm at the age where people start committing to all sorts of shit. Mortgages. Dogs. Other people. Making more tiny people. I've realised that no matter how many people hint at the fact my life is ahead of me, actually it's not. It's right now. And it's okay that I have never for a second wanted children. It's okay if I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. It's okay to not have a 5 year plan. It's okay to live in the moment sometimes instead of planning for a future that society wants for you. I've got time.

So who knows what 31 holds for me? On my birthday I'll be on a plane to Canada, to spend the weekend doing things that 29 year old Jade wouldn't have dreamt of. And it didn't take any tangible changes for me to get there. I don't have more money or more time. I only have one thing now that she didn't have. Confidence. The confidence to trust myself, to do right by myself. Most importantly, the confidence give myself what I want. Spoiler alert: it's poutine.