In early April, I celebrated my 30th birthday.
There was a time this particular milestone seemed to be an abstraction. I remember thinking in my teens and very early 20s that 30 was ‘old’, as do most young people at that particular stage in life. During my 20s, as I went through college, worked and travelled, it was still a somewhat obscure number. I’d had thoughts that “By the time I’m 30, I’ll be doing [insert life goal here].”
Next thing I know – BANG! There it is!
The birthday weekend itself was fine – I had some quiet celebrations. I indulged myself with a massage on the Friday, followed by dinner with some friends on the Saturday night. On Sunday, after living in Vancouver for the better part of three years, I finally made it up to Grouse Mountain! As I wasn’t up for skiing or snowboarding, I just spent a couple of hours up there enjoying the view and taking photos.
To say the week that followed was not a good one would be an understatement. For about six days, I went into a deep, dark depression. As in, feeling VERY down, not wanting to do anything and other elements which I will not elaborate upon here. A couple of my Facebook status updates during this period had a number of my friends contacting me to say “Are you OK?” I am beyond grateful to those who touched base and a couple of people in particular who took the time to chat with me during this period. They know who they are 🙂
To this day, I can’t quite put my finger on a specific trigger. I suspect it was a multitude of factors: the stress of everything that’s happened in the last few months, college studies, a mild fight with the boyfriend (now resolved, thankfully) and subconscious matters regarding the thought of “Oh crap, I’m 30 years old.”
The major part of it is an awareness of time passing and one’s mortality. Granted, compared to a number of my friends, I’m still relatively young. Yet, I’m acutely aware that the clock is ticking.
During that week, I spent a good portion of time contemplating my life to date – what I have and haven’t done, the experiences I went through, all that jazz. There are times I’d wish I’d taken a different course of action. One example: in the early 2000s, I’d started on a Graphic Design & Multimedia course at TAFE in Western Australia. If I’d completed that course – rather than dropping out – I could be a well-established graphic designer (or other related media) by now. Instead, I’m a student again and scrambling for some form of employment.
What would have happened if I had followed the career/corporate lifestyle early on? It’s highly likely that I would be in a far better position professionally. On a personal level, I’ve had two opportunities to be married with kids by now. I knocked both of them back. In one of those two cases, it was the bullet I dodged.
If my life hadn’t taken the major fork it did around 2003/2004, I would have missed out on all the travelling I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had as a result of those journeys. What of the people I’ve met? What of the deviations in the path of life that has brought me to here and now?
Sure, I might not be a high-flying success (yet! ;)), but I’ve lived a life to date that has caused some people to envy me (why, I don’t know – trust me on this one!). I’ve moved halfway around the world under my own steam, seen and done some amazing things. Sure, there have been difficult patches and setbacks – that’s life. A dear friend said to me recently that the 20’s are the time where one is finding oneself, figuring out the world and one’s place in it. By the time the 30’s roll around, a person has a better handle on who they are, is less concerned with bullshit and generally has a better time enjoying life. I’m inclined to believe her. 🙂
Would I change the way I lived through my 20’s, and my life to date?
Hell no! 😀