Friday, 30 September 2016

Life: Nineteen And Ten

I turn 30 in 351 days. There's nothing like an impending "big birthday" to make you realise that your life is happening now, even if you chose to spend it darting across the road while attempting to catch a Pok√©mon, Instagraming your lunch or willing Friday to roll around again. The exact moment when I realised that my life was actually happening hit mid yoga class (how basic I know) when my teacher made a casual comment that "this isn't a practice run for something else - this is it" while trying to coax us into a particularly challenging asana rather than flopping into the floor.  I flopped onto the floor, physically and mentally having no other option.

This is it and there's no instruction manual, no spoiler alerts, no this-is-how-you-do-this-but-this-is-how-you-do-that. There's no right way to tell someone you like them and no wrong way to tell someone that you don't feel the same. There are no checklists or tick boxes. No age by which you have to get things done by, no age when you should feel like you're finally doing it right.

All we have is now but that's ok because we also haven gin and cake.
29 year old me may not have it all figured out but 29 year old me has experiences and memories and that mix of insanely good times mixed with slightly less good times which makes me feel like an adult, finally, years after my driving licence told the supermarket cashier that I was one. I didn't feel like a grown-up when I graduated, when I started my job or even when I got the keys to my flat - those supposed markers of "adulthood: you have reached your destination".  

It's impossible to pin-point when you grow-up but one day you realise you're there without quite being able to explain how you got there. Maybe it's the realisation hat I no longer drift off to sleep worrying whether I've said something wrong or done something wrong and whether this person likes me or that person doesn't. Or maybe it's wondering how how I've gone from from picking up my skincare in the teenage aisle in Boots to buying $80 anti-aging serums? Where was that sweet spot between being a fresh-faced youngster and being a near 30 year old woman? When do people stop pointing out your youth and inexperience and start asking you if you're married rather than if you merely have a boyfriend?

The next 351 days aren't going to involve a "30 before 30" because my goals are less quantifiable and I don't want to swim with dolphins anyway. Worrying about not being where I "should" be isn't going to serve me, it's going to help me live in the here and now. I cut myself some slack this summer and let some of my silly self-imposed rules slip was fun. Lots of fun. Letting go and not over-thinking seem to be the key to y'know, actually enjoying this being alive lark - why didn't someone tell me that sooner? The next 351 days are going to be about living each little moment, making memories and spending time with the people who I can't imagine having been without for some or all of the last 29 years.

As Elena Waldorf said to Blair in the first episode of Gossip Girl "you will never be more beautiful or happy when than you are right now. I just want you to make the most of it". Elena, I will, minus Chuck Bass and a Hermes Birken on my arm and I'll ditch the headache-inducing hair band while I'm at it. Life's too short.



  1. Aw Lily I loved this post. I'm a couple of months behind you but the same realisations are beginning to slot into place for me too, especially the observation your yoga teacher made - I think sometimes we feel our twenties are preparing us for ~something - for real life, for adulthood, the life we think we should be living. And of course life doesn't care whether we're mentally prepared or not!
    I'm still guilty of having the odd "when I grow up" thought these days but noticing more and more how I'm heading towards a more peaceful mindset; not a less anxious or stressful mindset per se, but in terms of accepting where I am and what I'm doing with my life. It sounds like you're already there! xx

  2. This made me nod with so much agreement, cackle and also have a mild panic attack. I'm so trying to get to the 'I don't give a shit' point, especially as I feel like I used to be like that but the last year or so it's hit me again. Maybe it's an age thing, I dunno. Some of the 'adult' goals I am totally missing. I'm not engaged (my long term relationship has been in the most incredible flux over the last few months so that's a firm NO right now), I'm nowhere near being able to afford to buy a property, and the thought of having a child makes me want to throw up at this point. But, there is so much to enjoy and so many things I have achieved. I never thought I'd take life advice from Eleanor Waldorf but it's a damn good way of looking at things. Let's just hope I don't marry a closet homosexual like she did...
    Charlie, Distracted

  3. My mum always says 'life isn't a practice run' and it's such great advice. I think setting yourself 'adult' goals is such BS, the most important thing is to be happy and people achieve happiness via various means. Enjoy your life as you mean to go on because at the end of the day 30 is just a number and nothing is actually going to change when you reach it.

  4. This is such a lovely post! And happy belated birthday! xx

  5. I really try my hardest not to think too far ahead. After my world sort of crumbled not so long ago I just live each day in the moment. I'm thoroughly happy and enjoying life but if I think too deeply and let my thoughts wander too far ahead of me I start to feel a little anxious and sad. I think I only have myself, society and my mother to blame for this way of thinking...


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