Next week, I will turn 30.
When I was a young girl (a young girl, a young girl), I assumed that 30 was practically dead in terms of age. I assumed 20 was old, when I was 12. 16 was ancient to an 8-year-old.
Back when I was 16, scribbling the hilariously bad first draft of my first book, I made the main character 19, because 19 was so mature.
As I passed 19 in reality, I scoffed at the notion of it being “mature”. I still scoff on occasion when I think about it to this day, the same way I still laugh out loud at those who think people should have their shit together by 25.
Technically speaking, I was a mature person for 19. By the time I was 19 years old, I had already:
- Moved out of the family home;
- Got a car;
- Got a job;
- Got a house (with a mortgage!);
…and I was totally on my way and set to be a cog in the machine of life.
Since I’d already done most of what I thought you needed to do as a grown-up, I kind of coasted through my 20’s, for the most part.
There’s this post that comes to mind: link.
I remember when I thought people in their 20’s were adults. Now all of my friends are in their 20’s and everybody is just kind of fumbling around bumping into each other, trying to figure out where the free food is.
In my 20’s, I met a boy and fell in love, and settled down, and got married. That didn’t end particularly well, but I learned a lot from the experience.
I spent my 20’s working in accounts and software support, although I had no real passion for either. I mean, who really has a passion for finance? It’s one of the most stressful jobs you can have, besides technical support, so I was covered on both bases.
I’m yet to meet anyone doing work in accounts who does it because they feel it’s their true calling.
I suspect most, if not all, of people working in accounts do it for the same, simple reason that I worked in accounts: because we could.
I’m still working in accounts, though at a different company to the one I spent the majority of my 20’s in, because the company I joined aged 18 and spent ~10 years busting my ladyballs for doesn’t exist anymore. Sad story, the recession was a tragedy, and so on…now let’s move on.
I also wrote and published two books in my twenties, which is a pretty damn big deal.
I wrote these two books. Have I mentioned that before?
Writing, as I have recently been reminded and have constantly known, is such a fundamental part of my life, it tends to push everything else out.
I’ve learned to accept that, as has everyone close to me, so when a family member calls to ask, “What are you doing tonight?” and I reply, “The same thing I do every night
, Pinky: trying to take over the world write a book!”, it’s universally understood that I shouldn’t be contacted for the rest of the evening/weekend/month.
Thankfully, I still have no intention of having children, so I’ll have no one to neglect. Hence why cats are great pets of choice for a writer.
And yet, there’s a part of my brain that won’t accept I’m turning 30.
You’re not thirty, it scoffs, throwing popcorn at the back of my head. You can’t even cook. You still eat Pot Noodle butties and live on takeaways. You don’t know how to pop the bonnet on your car to add screenwash. If a lightbulb goes out, it stays out until your Granddad visits. You don’t even know how your thermostat works. Give back your grown-up card; you’ve clearly not earned it yet.
That part of my brain has a point. There’s still a lot of things I should know how to do by now. There’s a lot of things I should’ve already done.
If I’d done things differently in my 20’s, I’d be somewhere else by now. I’d be someone else, maybe.
I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not.
But then that’s the thing about time: it doesn’t wait for you. It doesn’t wait for anyone.
And I have been incredibly lazy in my 20’s, letting a lot of opportunities pass me by.
This isn’t a declaration of a proposed dramatic life change. I’m just going to say that I think I might put a bit more effort into my day-to-day life to acknowledge that time isn’t waiting, and we’re all getting older, and that’s okay.
To start the ball rolling, I’m going to attempt to strip all the colour out of my hair over the weekend, a sort of “cleansing” ritual of sorts (while simultaneously stinking out the house with the smell of the hair dye remover, Colour B4, which really reeks, trust me–like someone cooked a batch of rotten eggs and sprinkled the scrambled mess over a corpse drying in the sun, left it a few days, then worked it into your hair so it permeates the air around you for weeks).
I don’t use many parts of myself to make a statement: I don’t have the ladyballs to pierce anything (other than my ears, which I never use), or tattoo anything (because there’s nothing I know I’ll want in 20-40 years’ time).
But my hair has always been something I’ve used to make a statement about who I am. From blonde to red to black, and there and back, I’ve been all of those, making statements, breaking hearts, being an angel, being a bitch, and everything in-between.
Let’s just hope the colour stripping is a success and doesn’t leave me venturing into a new era of my life looking like Worzel Gummidge.
I want to close by saying: I’m not nervous or anxious or upset about reaching 30. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a new era, a new chapter in the book of Kat.
I like to think I’m ending the chapter on a relative high, so let’s see where the next decade takes me.
In my 20’s, I was riding with the training wheels on.
I think I’m ready to take them off.
Anyway, many people, including friends who are reaching the big three-oh themselves, feel they should’ve done more, that they should be more by the time they reach 30.
I don’t care how small or insignificant my experiences might be when compared to others.
I have done plenty, and I’ll do plenty more.
Now, in real closing, I’ve been trying to find a song that best sums up the last decade, something that articulates how the last ten years have developed me as an individual.
I’m really struggling. I’m browsing through my iTunes and madness threatens. I want to post something uplifting, something inspirational, but Shed Seven’s “Chasing Rainbows” keeps coming in my head.
So I suppose that’s what I’m going to have to go with.
I’ve been chasing rainbows all my life.