I woke up today to a cold, quiet flat; it’s a rare occasion when the first thing I do in the morning is not kiss my son and stick on breakfast for the two of us. He’s probably lounging on my dad’s sofa right now, driving him mad with various YouTube clips that involve pretending to be a goat or smashing up a tech item that cost more than what I make in a month. Instead, I switch on the kettle to make a cup of tea and flick through the various social media apps while I wait. Like a few photos on Instagram, smile at some funny Tweets.
Then Facebook, and there it is. Someone is turning thirty today.
It hit me like a tonne of bricks: this is the year that, every few weeks, it’ll be happening to someone else. Someone I barely spoke to while we were classmates, and never speak to now but for some reason feel obligated to follow their life online, will be having a birthday and it will be their 30th, and come December, it’ll be my turn.
When I turned 25, I remember saying that I was looking forward to turning 30, as long as I was happy. Back then, this meant three things: a happy child, a job I was content in, and being in a successful relationship – by that, I meant married, or at least engaged. As the big three-oh looms over me, I know that short yet daunting list certainly isn’t the key to happiness. I have an incredible child and we love each other very much, but every day throws a new obstacle at us and it certainly isn’t easy, and there are days he certainly isn’t happy, much to my dismay. I love my job but that doesn’t mean there aren’t days where I want to scream at everyone and pack it all in, especially over these past few months. And my relationship? Sure, we’re engaged, but does our ‘status’ define how successful we are? And, although I’m glad I have my other half, I am angry at myself for considering turning 30 without a partner a failure.
I have a new list of things I want to achieve in the last year of my twenties (shit, it really is the last year of my twenties), and I’ll admit that this time, it’s a rather selfish list: no happy partners or happy children to be seen here. I want to better myself. I’m very, very tired of talking about what I want to do but not actually doing it, which I’ve been doing for the majority of my twenties. There have been so many wasted opportunities because I didn’t think I was good enough, or I didn’t want people to laugh at me, or I simply didn’t want to put in the effort.
Time to be brave, and start my thirties knowing I finally grew up*.
*not too much, I’ll still play video games and shit.