That was the year I was thirty

Sorry in advance if my writing’s a bit clunky in this blog. I’ve been finding it hard to write recently. I think this is because I’m a little stressed at the moment and my mind reacts to stress by abruptly switching off, like an overheated laptop.

Regardless, it’s a birthday tradition to celebrate my continued survival on planet Earth with a blog post, so here we are again.

It’s hard to believe that thirty is just about wrapped up for me. Thirty. There’s this song I love called ‘Thirty’ by The Weather Station. It’s about a person in the songwriter’s life: someone she’s known for a while, who makes her feel something. A light in the gloom. And there’s a sense that – for whatever reason, this relationship is never going to develop into anything more than what it is. She knows this, and the other person knows this, and they never acknowledge it but it lingers between them. The song deals with this situation of impossible love so elegantly, without the drama or hyberbole that often comes with love stories. It makes me think of the little sadnesses we all carry with us through our lives – perhaps never telling another soul about them, just keeping them in little metaphorical pockets in our little metaphorical jeans while we plod onwards through time.

It’s ok to have these sadnesses, I think. Life isn’t always Instagram-perfect. Here are the lyrics, if you’re interested:

“There was a time
When you put your hand on the small of my back
I was surprised that you touched me like that
But there in your hand was a current of life I could hardly stand.
I stayed still
And I didn’t mention it.
If I did, I made some joke of it.
It was strange how I could feel so sane
So plain when you’re around.

And unbidden to me
There it rose, the fantasy
Colored rose and easy
Yeah, I could see it so simple, unsubtle
Impossible, clearly
And strange
Far and as close as a mountain range
On the horizon driving all day
There I was, so sane
So plain after everything.

Gas came down
From a buck-twenty.
The joke was how
It broke the economy anyhow
The dollar was down
But my friends opened businesses
There were new children
And again, I didn’t get married,
I wasn’t close to my family
And my dad was raising a child in Nairobi
She was three now, he told me.

Gas stations I laughed in
I noticed fucking everything
The light, the reflections
Different languages, your expressions.
We would fall down laughing,
Effervescent
And all over nothing, all over nothing.

Just as though
It was a joke: my whole life through,
All of the pain and sorrow I knew.
All of the tears that had fallen from my eyes.
I can’t say why
When I walked in the park
Under the shade
I avoided your eyes
I was ashamed of my own mind
No SSRIs
My day is dark as your night

Oh, you got
The kindest of eyes
I cannot help but notice sometimes
But you know, as do I
I cannot look twice without falling right
Into the sweet and the tender line between
Something that can and can never be
And just then an ambulance
Passed on the street
And you took my arm reflexively

That was the year I was thirty.
That was the year you were thirty-one
That was the year that we lost, or we won.

That was the year I was thirty
That was the year you were thirty-one
That was that year, now here
Now here is another one.”

Is thirty scary?

I was afraid of turning thirty. It always seemed so…distant. It was alarming to watch it hurtle towards me so quickly. Everyone says time only goes faster as you get older, and I believe them.

When I was younger and I thought of ‘thirty’, I saw a different woman to the one I am now. I saw a grown up. Self-possessed and unaffected; no longer self-conscious or unsure of herself. I didn’t know that my mind would be just as chaotic, just as full of dreams, wishes, stories and questions as it was when I was a child. The truth is, I like it this way.

Now that I’m happier in life, I’m not afraid anymore.

Thirty isn’t a cast. It isn’t a mold we all slip into, suddenly acquiring standard-issue qualities and characteristics deemed suitable for a thirty-year-old.

Thirty isn’t a universal experience. It isn’t a threshold, it isn’t even really a milestone.

If you’re approaching thirty, don’t be afraid. Nothing is going to suddenly change unless you want it to. It’s just your life continuing. It’s your twenties part two. Your teens part three.

I highly recommend taking a day to yourself. Soak up life for a moment. Go for a long walk. Say hi to the birds. Buy yourself a cake. Congratulate yourself on making it this far through life. Reflect on all the good things you have.

As you can tell from my short sentences, I’m almost out of writing steam.

Time passing will always be a little unsettling, because of course we all know what’s at the end of it. But there’s always more to come. Right up to the last breath, there must be something to experience and learn.

I’m so grateful for my life; for the people in it and their kindness and generosity, for Sims – my amazing boyfriend who I firmly believe is a gift from the universe (I often wonder if he actually exists), for my health, interests and abilities, for the sun, the animals, music, stories, and of course pasta.

And thank you to you, my readers, for another wonderful year of reading and blogging. 😚❤️ Oscars speech over.