All right, calm down. I’m sitting on an airplane on my way to Turkey and I’m feeling a little like sharing. There isn’t a moment on an airplane where I don’t feel sentimental because I honestly feel like I’m going to die at any minute. I’ve learned what I can control and what I can’t. I’m beginning to grasp where my story starts with someone and where it ends. These are just a few things I’ve come to grasp on my way to turning 30.
Is it scary turning 30?
Absolutely. To me, at least. Look at my life for a second and tell me you wouldn’t be nervous about growing older. I can only sustain my ‘expat every five minutes’ lifestyle if I have a level of vitality. I’ve reached yet another milestone and that fact almost jeopardizes my way of living. You see there is a thirst to live that I cannot quench. I want to read every book ever written. I was to see every film, musical and artistic offering around the world. I want to live. Growing older fills me with a sense that I might not get to see all the things I want to see. What if my ability to be myself runs short and I can’t fulfill what I crave to do?
I was in Scotland last week and I’ve been traveling around England for the better part of the last month. I’m so tired that my body aches. It’s partly because my diet has been so crap, but it’s also because I’m getting older. I can’t just slap a coffee back and be OK for the next 24 hours. This 30-year-old body of mine needs to rest. That thought is terrifying to me and I don’t know how to deal with it.
My Greatest Lessons Turning 30
People can be horrendous
There is no denying that people on this planet can be gobsmacking and just plain horrendous. You will encounter terrible people and they will hurt you. I have dealt with terrible people and they have hurt me. You’ve heard the saying where it goes something like “you can’t control what people do to you – but you can control how you react to it.” This has subconsciously been my mantra for the last few years and I am only starting to come to grips with it. I kept thinking I had a handle of how much I let someone touch me emotionally but I was fooling myself. It’s continued to happen but with each day I am getting better at how I respond to people and how they treat me.
People can be wonderful
Having just been to Scotland, I can honestly say that I love humanity. I was sitting on the train from England and while crossing into Scotland I was faced with back-to-back kindness. There was a young nurse from Aberdeen who had recently moved to Inverness and wanted to share all that she knew so I could have the best experience. There was the gentleman pushing the trolley that gave me a free coffee cause I said half a cup was fine when he ran out of hot water. I’ve just had a 10-minute chat with the air hostess and a gentleman to my left on my flight about the different colours of credit cards. This world is filled with beautiful people that far outweigh any selfishness you may encounter.
I can be horrendous
We always look outward because it’s easier than looking in. It’s so hard looking in, isn’t it? We don’t want to stare at the worst in ourselves because it’s often what we identify as horrendous in others. It’s a lot harder to buy into your own bullshit, as you grow older. You start to recognize your own patterns of behavior and they can be less than desirable. It’s OK to be terrible at times if you own up to your shit and take responsibility for them. I know I am getting terrible with relationships and I self-sabotage at every turn. There is much to be changed in me and recognizing it is my first step. Getting older means you realize you’ve got to put in the work to better yourself.
I can be wonderful
There are times where I mentally pat myself on the back because action and intention often meet. We see people display acts of kindness all the time but we can never be sure of the intentions of others. However, we know it in ourselves and when the purity of intention matches the actions; it’s a wonderful feeling. As much as we meet our demons, we need to take a pause when there are moments of kindness. Acknowledge that you are a good person and release yourself of the guilt you’re holding onto because you know your demons.
Friends aren’t forever
I’ve seen so many friendships come and go that I’ve lost track. They used to get to me way more than they do now because I’ve learned that things run their course. Friendships simply serve their purpose and then they are no more. It’s enough. Don’t force something that no longer serves you. Move on. Be picky in your choices and only let people into your life that make you feel energized and loved.
Your family isn’t perfect
There will be times when the last people on earth you want to see are your family. That’s OK. We can’t choose them and, like us, they aren’t perfect and make mistakes. Allow for their mistakes but make sure you’re protecting yourself at the same time. We cannot have an unlimited stash of allowances for our family because they are family. You and your happiness matter too.
Success is not measured by a job title
If my twenty-one-year-old self knew that I was teaching and currently studying to be a qualified teacher she would be so upset. Throughout my twenties, I had this urgency for a title. I needed to feel important and to do that I needed a title. The truth is, I’ve always wanted to teach from about the age of twelve. Originally, I wanted to be a History, Drama and English high school teacher. When I would mention this to people they would tell me that I would never be rich and that I would never climb up the corporate ladder. This told me that it was important to have a position of power in order to be successful. I never felt true success until I connected with children and made their day better. All the other shit I’d accomplished faded away and I relished in the fact that I’d gotten a child to accomplish their goals. That made me feel successful, not a title and nothing else has come close.
Your health is your lifeline
Having suffered for the last couple of years with, sometimes, severe digestive issues, I’ve realized that my health is my lifeline. Without it, I can’t do anything that I love. There is joy in treating your body like a waste dump, but it’s temporary and could have lasting effects. Treat your body well and nurture it.
You only have one life
This is just a plate of cheese but it is so true. You have no idea how important it is to realize that your time is limited and there is no point to living someone else’s life. The captain of your life is you and you can steer your ship wherever you feel the grass is greenest. There is no time to waste and to those wasting your time, they need to leave. Thank u, next.