I’m 30 soon. All my late twenties, 30 has loomed like a cloaked figure on a misty street, one gnarled finger beckoning me to some dark and terrible fate involving wrinkles, grey hairs, dead eggs, big bills, bigger hangovers, new fat deposits and a keener sense of my own mortality.
Interestingly, the closer I creep to 30, the less scary it seems. The mist is clearing. I’m starting to realise that the cloaked figure isn’t a cloaked figure at all. It’s actually something completely ordinary that you’d expect to find on any old street, like a lamp-post, or a tree, or a fibre optic broadband box.
Like every other birthday in our lives, 30 is an important milestone. It is acknowledgement of the fact that we have survived yet another 940 million kilometre orbit of the sun without accidentally snuffing the life out of our squishy, goo-filled bodies. That’s worth chugging a few tequilas for, don’t you think?
Despite all of the strangeness in the world right now, I am actually happy to be turning 30. Happy to be alive, to be here to write, to breathe and enjoy my eternal love affair with Mother Earth.
Originally I was going to come up with 30 reasons why I’m happy to be turning 30, but I lost enthusiasm at 10. This may or may not be related to my age.
1. It means I’m not dead yet.
2. The Roman numerals for my age is XXX, which sounds excitingly raunchy and I’m definitely writing this on all important documents from now on.
3. I’m still younger than Jesus when he died.
4. I no longer have to fear 30. I’m here. To be honest there are bigger and more interesting things to think about, like what we are going to do when we run out of Netflix and why we never see baby pigeons.
5. I have 10 whole years before the next scary age.
6. I’m still younger than Carrie & co when Sex and the City started.
7. I’d definitely beat 20-year-old me in a running race, or a weight lifting competition, or a flexibility face-off. I’d probably beat her at spelling too.
8. I feel healthier and more excited about my life than I ever have before.
9. I may not have a ready-to-publish novel yet, but version 400,933,923.59 is shaping up nicely and do you know what? I still love writing it, 11 years down the line.
10. I’m not a perfect human being by any stretch of the imagination but – and I’m sorry if this sounds conceited, I really enjoy being me.
I share my life with good, intelligent, funny, loving people. I live in a part of the world that is rich with natural beauty. Vitally, I have the capacity to notice the beauty around me, to absorb it, feel it and appreciate it. I know that nothing lasts, no feeling is final, life can change in an instant, but nothing can change the fact that my life so far – even with all of its lessons, falls and losses, has been quite frankly pretty flipping amazing. As the wise old Kahlil Gibran said:
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.The Prophet
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
So I will celebrate my thirtieth year on this planet not with fear, regret, or self-doubt, but with optimism, gratitude, love…and tequila. Salut amigos.