Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Turning thirty

So I mentioned that I have a birthday coming up. A big one. 
Tomorrow I turn thirty.
Yay me!

And then I thought no, not yay me, but oh my I turn thirty in a matter of hours and I have so much left to do before then
And I’m not talking about party admin or outfit planning, I’m talking about life!
I have so much more to do with my life before I turn thirty… I started to panic about the fact that I don’t have a bucket list.
I never learned Japanese – is there time? Can I do that overnight with one of those audio CDs?
I haven’t bungee jumped – and now never will, after that unfortunate incident with the crocs.
I haven’t run the marathon – thank god – it sounds and looks like hell!
I haven’t started my own business – I just haven’t had the time… but who does?
I haven’t seen the Northern Lights – if I spend a fortune flying there, who can guarantee I’ll see them?
I haven’t… erm…
Well, I thought about it and there aren’t really any proper goals I set out to achieve before turning 30, just two pretty standard ones.
The first was to visit every inhabited continent. I achieved that in March. Go me.
The second, was to earn a six figure salary. Well, I set that goal in my first year of sixth form. I then interned in the marketing department at an automotive OEM in my third year of university and realised that it was an entirely unrealistic goal with my chosen career path, and one that would leave me sorely disappointed. I revised that goal to read “I shall double my starting salary (i.e. the salary from my first full time job after leaving uni) by the time I reach 30”. And again, I scraped in by the skin of my teeth this year. Also, go me!
I cut it fine with both of them. But so what. I set a goal and a time limit and I did it.
If I’m honest, I could have achieved them long ago had I made different choices over the past ten years. Had I taken a year out to go travelling, had I stayed in financial services, or been a bit more ambitious cut-throat about my career decisions.
But I didn’t and I wasn’t.
I made those decisions and I look back and I’m comfortable with everything I did. In hindsight would I have changed anything? Errrrrrrrrrrm….
And do you know why?
Because I wasn’t living my life on the basis of a list of things I wrote down and ticking them off. I’m normally a list maker – party planning, holiday packing, outfit construction, new year resolutions. But I made those two goals as a loose life plan (i.e. see the world and earn enough money, to do so in some level of comfort) and until a few months ago I hadn’t really given them much thought – they kind of just happened.
Now I’m questioning myself. Why didn’t I bother with a bucket list? Should I have been a bit more organised about my life plan?
I suppose I don’t have a bucket list because, despite planning everything else IN my life to the letter, I left the direction of my life in general, to take its own course. I think I’ve just always been satisfied, no, actually, I think the word is happy, with who I am, where I’m going, why I’m going there and with whom I am travelling! If I want to do/buy/have/experience something, I just get on with it and do it, or at least attempt to. If I don’t want to do it, there’s usually some reason why and I move on.  If I can’t do it, I may have a little tantrum and then get over it and on with something else. I didn’t say “I want to be married before I’m thirty” I said “I feel like we’re ready to get married – let’s get the hell on with it”. Yes I set him a deadline, yes I planned that wedding. To. The. Letter.  But it wasn’t because it was on a list. It was because I just wanted to do it. I haven’t ticked a load of items off a list because I don’t feel like I’ve needed to. Obviously I have down days where I covet someone else’s life/belongings/bank balance (you know, like a Chanel handbag or something), but essentially, I’m happy floating (and sometimes plodding) along in Victoria World!
I’ve seen a lot of the (actual) world, and I will spend the rest of my life exploring more of it.
I own a lovely home and we’re about to buy a new one.
I have a good job in a great company.
I am surrounded by wonderful people – my husband, my family, my friends
I drive a nice car, I have a pretty cool wardrobe, I had an amazeballs wedding, I have a great collection of shoes, we own more DVDs that your average Blockbuster. I’ve eaten high quality caviar and drunk f**k off expensive champagne. I’ve watched the sun set over seven continents and stayed up to watch it rise more times than I can count (in the usual places like an Ibizan beach and the more unusual like a hill in Sheffield). I’ve had a “lock in” with the Beefeaters at the Tower of London, partied with celebrities and been “papped” leaving a London club (they wanted the celeb – not me!). I’ve danced my heart out under the open sky in the rain and the sun. I’ve been proposed to in a snow-drifted Central Park. I’ve spoken to my friends as they felt their contractions and held a baby that’s only hours old. I’ve saved an almost-drowning child (when I was only a child myself) and I’ve stepped in to fights I’ve seen on the streets (and on a train) to protect those less able to protect themselves. I’ve been swimming with dolphins, hyperventilated whilst scuba diving and discovered a talent for windsurfing. I’ve eaten an oyster and hated it. I’ve eaten foie gras and (sorry) I liked it. I’ve donated blood and been very close to donating my bone marrow. I’ve been a bridesmaid three times, and still managed to be a bride. I’ve had my heart broken and I’ve had it fixed. I’ve been to the biggest party on Earth, and survived! I’ve been disappointed, I’ve been proud and I’ve been humbled. I’ve chosen not to dabble with Ouija boards, but have tried my luck with tarot. I’ve always been honest, and it’s often gotten me in to trouble. I learned to dance professionally, just for fun. I’ve swum a mile for the sake of a badge. I’ve turned up to the wrong exam, having done no prep, and managed to ace it, with a borrowed book and an hour of cramming on the floor in the corridor. I’ve bunked off school, I got a tattoo and (whilst plucking up the courage) got my belly button and ears pierced an unnecessary number of times! I’ve embarrassed myself more times than I care to remember.  I got drunk when I was far too young to understand what my hangover was from stolen dregs as a grown up party. I’ve learned a new language, and I’ve never used it. I’ve flunked a subject at uni (bringing my average down so I didn’t get the First I was predicted) so I could see Girls Aloud mime on a stage in Great Yarmouth. I’ve been in very serious trouble and learned from my mistake. I’ve fallen asleep under the stars, and in a toilet cubicle. I’ve partied all night, showered and gone straight to work. I’ve partied all night and I’ve slept so long that I’ve missed almost a whole weekend. I’ve never touched a cigarette nor an illegal drug, but I have broken in to the medicine cabinet, worked out the child lock and eaten a while bottle of Hariborange. I’ve fallen off a (very big) horse, and gotten straight back on. I’ve worked for some of the most well-known companies in the world, and I’ve worked as a shot girl in the grottiest clubs you’ll ever see. I have seen a dead body and I was strong. I have thrown a coin in the Trevi fountain and I will one day return.
What haven’t I done?
What do I want to do?
But I don’t need a list.
So I'll see you on the other side… It’s all downhill  still uphill to 40, or so I’ve heard!


  1. Goosebumps! Amazing writing. Happy birthday to you! X

  2. Good blog!!!!!! makes me want to list what I did in my years before becoming 30!! Makes you realise you have lived a lot!x

  3. This is such a great post! We are starting a turning 30 series on our blog - and we are trying to collect as many excellently written blogs on the matter to feature. Would you be happy for us to feature your '30' blog on ours? Here is our site:

    1. Of course and thank you for the invuite! What do you need me to do?

  4. Just came across this post Victoria and your blog and it is FAB! I love the way your write xx

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed. Reading it back, 8 months on, I still get a bit tingly about that big birthday. It was such a milestone for me! :-)