This week I received an email, the subject: Turning 30 Interviews.
I ignored it for a few hours but as ever, when faced with inevitable destiny I couldn't stop thinking about it. Eventually I clicked on the email, opened the attachment, read through the five questions. Somehow from nowhere came river of thoughts and feelings I didn't even know I had, it moved me to write this.
I always thought that by the time I reached this age, I would 'be' an adult, you know really feel like and adult. I look in the mirror and I see this young version of my dad, a future version of me, neither of which really marry up with the me I think I am.
Until now I'd never thought about this, whenever it came to thinking about my age I'd always defaulted to thinking "I am an invincible 20 something year old" There's no one to tell me what I should or shouldn't do, I'm free, I make my own choices, I can eat sweets at midnight whenever I want, drink beer on a Monday and if I haven't tidied my bedroom who cares.
In reality I've spent the whole of my 20's trying to prove myself, to prove that I can do stuff. Like most young adults I had no idea what I was capable of. I was scared of failing, letting people who trusted in me down, looking stupid. I've spent days, weeks, and months of the last 10 years doing things I don't like, things I'm not naturally good at because I wanted to prove something to anyone who was looking. To prove I could 'rise to the challenge' to earn more money, to buy more shit I don't need and keep up with those I thought I wanted to be like.
I spent so long trying to prove I could do everything I forgot to think about doing the things that make me happy, the things that are right for me.
I used to be so blinded by power, so impressed by success and that for many years my vision of me, of who I wanted to be was completely formed by how I could mirror those I thought of as being 'successful'. I looked at those flying high on success and thought that will be me one day.
I'm not sure but I think this is a similar situation for many people and there is nothing wrong with it if it's what you actually want but for me, as I approach 30 I've realised the richness of life isn't made up from the things you can buy or how important you are at work, it's made up of those you can call friends, of how much time you spend doing things that make your heart smile and knowing when to say no.
Of all of the things I've done in the last 30 years, none of them have killed me, in fact they made me better, stronger, more rounded. As I approach this landmark in life, one society rightly deems important I look forward to the rest of my life with childish glee because I've realised it's the little things that make magic in our lives.
I've spent so much time trying to do thing's that I'm just not naturally that good at and it's wonderfully liberating to 'grow up' a bit and realise that all that stuff is just stuff, we can't all do everything. I feel blessed as I approach 30 that I've worked this out.
I'm looking at the future through the eyes of the person I am right now, it's the only me I have. It's made up of all the things I've learnt about myself about others and everyone I've ever met. I guess I'm confident enough to know who I am, to know that if I'm a good person, one that's kind and does right by people I will inspire my friends, people will care for me and when I'm wrong people will forgive me.
I've tried to learn from my mistakes and as I think about being 'a grown up' it doesn't fill me with dread. In fact, as I approach 30 I've got a lot less to worry about. I know who I am, I know all of the bits of my parents I do and don't want to be. I know that if you don't try to hard to be something you're not the inner child will never be far from the surface, just waiting to come out and play.