I feel I should write something about turning 30, as I am about to do so in July. I don’t dread it but it is a bit of a mile stone, so here is a ramble on my thoughts.
For me turning 30 is the next big step after turning 18 and becoming an adult (21 didn’t mean much in all honesty). I feel I am now a proper grown up, an adult, responsible and I do grown up things. Don’t get me wrong I still do immature things and have my silly moments, but I do own a house, I have a career and I have debt. They are grown up things, right?
I know it is incredibly cliché but I do think I now know myself better, I have “grown as a person” (I actually shuddered as I wrote that). What I mean by this is that at the age of 18 you think you know it all and the world is your oyster, at 30 you are more realistic (well I am anyway). I have cemented some beliefs and opinions, and on some of those opinions I even think I have enough knowledge to argue my point. The thing is, that I don’t think it is necessarily the fact I am almost 30, it could have taken me until I was 31 to feel like this, or I could have felt it earlier. A lot has happened in the last few months to make me feel more comfortable with my sense of self, but I know that my life experiences also had a lot to do with it, the ended relationships, the times at university, jobs, and the choices I have made. The only way in which this is linked to me turning 30 is that at this point in my life I have chosen to reflect on the last few years, as I believe may be a bit of a tradition.
In all honesty when reflecting there is a tiny sense of fear. Have I done enough by this age? But then I am rational now. I used to have a list of things I wanted to achieve by the time I was 30. I will embarrass myself and tell you what they were and then explain how I feel about them now (I’m hoping I will get them straight in my own head and feel ok).
- Goal 1 – Be married by the time I am 30 (it was actually by my late 20s). This was one of those dreams I had when I was 18, when life was simple. Of course it would be easy to meet a man, fall in love and be married by the time I was 30. In reality it is not, don’t get me wrong I have thought I have been close, I have been in committed relationships, they did of course end for various reasons. I now realise (as I have blogged about before) that not only is love not that simple, but that I’m not even sure I feel the need to get married anymore. I would like to meet someone and be in love, who wouldn’t? But I have enjoyed my recent spell of being single. I no longer feel the need to do what is expected of me by society (not all of you I know), I just want to be happy, and right now I am.
- Goal 2 – Have my first child at the age of 30. Yet again another dream from when I was younger. I thought having a child at the age of 30 was the ideal age. I could have established a career and had some fun, and have a child before I am too old for it to be a more difficult process and I had the energy. Again as I have got older I have realised that I am not even sure that I want children. I’m not sure I don’t either. I think it will depend on if/when I meet the right person and how our life grows together. I like the idea of the freedom of not having children, in that I can be selfish and live my life how I want to, without the added responsibilities. But I also know the great rewards from having children. For now I am happy with my 14 nieces and nephews and 4 god children (yes my friend does know I am an atheist, but we have agreed it is about moral guardianship and being close to the children). I get the benefits without the responsibilities. Some of my family and friends do seem to judge me, asking “When are you going to have kids? You need to find a man.”. To me this is just wrong, to rush into having children or a relationship is dangerous, I know for some people it does work, good for them. But for many it is the beginning of the end, without the right foundations these things can go wrong and be a struggle (I know they can go wrong even with the right foundations). So for this particular goal, what will be, will be, I’m in no rush. And if it doesn’t happen, I can live with that.
- Goal 3 – Have a career. Not an unrealistic goal I feel. I was always determined to go to university and I did. I was the first person in my extended family to do so. After university I was lost for a while. I chose to do psychology and then found I could not access an assistant psychology post as I got a 2:1 and didn’t have a wealth of voluntary experience as I had to work my way through university, so had little spare time. So I drifted unsure what to do, working in retail (the careers advice at university really should have been better). Until I stumbled upon an advert in the local paper for mental health nursing training. The rest is history. I have a career. I have progressed within it gained promotions and I am really looking forward to the way my career is going to change in the next few months as our services are developed. Job done. (I did also want to earn my age, as a pipe dream, which would mean I should earn 30k now. I don’t, I guess I shouldn’t have chosen nursing if it was about the money. I am happy with my choice).
- Goal 4 – Own a house. I do. I would say job done on that score except it is not that simple. I have a huge financial commitment hanging over my head. Times have changed, this may not be such a good thing. With the economy the way it is I actually probably owe more on my house than it is worth. I hope that as the economy improves (and I hope it does) things will change. This does put me in a difficult position. I have itchy feet, I want to move to London or even Manchester (where I went to university). I crave the independence and adventure. To find a job there wouldn’t be too hard as I have 6 and half years of experience and a lot of extra training, but I have a house here. Perhaps my rush and desire to own a house was flawed. It is too late now. I will have to wait it out or look at other options if I do ever seriously decide to move.
They were my goals. I don’t think I have done too bad, or at least I have reassessed my goals and what is important to me. So turning 30 is not so scary, it is not too old to do anything. I now try not to have such fixed goals, but to be happy. I have realised more recently that I have been more happy as I have had more fun experiences. It has not been about possessions, money or having things, or even babies. Experiences have given me memories, but before that they have given me excitement in the build up and the opportunity to meet new people. I have just started reading Prof Richard Wiseman’s 59 Seconds: Think a Little Change A Lot and my suspicions have been confirmed in the research cited within the first couple of chapters. People are more happy if they have more fun experiences rather than if they have material needs met. It is also about connections with people and giving to others where you can (not necessarily money/gifts but time and compliments). This is how I plan to continue.
So in summary, I haven’t achieved my goals I wanted to by the time I was 30, but I don’t care. My goals have changed, I have changed. I look forward to the adventure of the coming years and try my best to not see it as a ticking clock where the time is running out. I aim to make the most of all the time I have, after all none of us know how long we have (yes, you may be a little bit sick in your mouth thanks to that mushy outburst). Thanks for reading my ramble. I do feel better now. See it worked.
Oh and it may be worth pointing out that I have avoided the traditional 30th birthday party with my twin sister (yes she is annoyed so I have to go to Alton Towers with her the week before). I am spending the weekend in London having some comedy adventures with some lovely people I have met over the last few months. Then on my actual birthday I am going to the #PreciousLittle live podcast party, where I hope to meet more new people and I am pretty much guaranteed laughs and beer. Perfect.