Last year I turned thirty. It was a big fat birthday. One I'd been looking forward to, genuinely, since I turned 26.
26 is the end of your mid-twenties. All you have ahead is your late-twenties, your thirties (apparently "The New Twenties"), middle age and then a slide in to retirement while you save for a bio-degradable coffin and a sandwich buffet. Smashing.
My late twenties were a time I spent arguing with Mother Nature, Mr G, and myself. It was a "nothing" era. Well, ok, not nothing, beautiful babies were born (not to me), weddings were had (one by me), mortgages were issued (kind of to me), life plans were made (ish), amazing trips were booked and travelled (LOTS) and careers were defined (sort of), but still, I was itching to get to thirty. I couldn't wait for the cool stuff to start happening, you know – all that really cool stuff that happens to you after thirty... hmmm?
For me, with the exception of a few killer highlights (that would be the weddings, trips of a life time, the arrival of some amazing kids, of course), I felt like I was living the second book in a trilogy:
- First book/first 25 years: scene setting, intros and back story.
- Middle book (or in the case of the Harry Potter series: Order of the Phoenix)/25 – 30 years: filler stuff and a time to get impatient before the good shizzle gets started.
- Last book/30+: the climax and the happily ever after.
**Let me remind you here, I've always been massively impatient (I want it all and I want it NOW), have always believed that "something amazing" is on its way (it's not – what it is, is amazing now and I should learn to appreciate the now a bit more) and I never learn that the grass really isn't greener (my grass is pretty green)**
Looking back it was all pretty good actually. I do love a bit of hindsight. I should have paid more attention.
But anyway, turning thirty was ACE! So ace it's ok to use the word "ace". I'm so cool. It's because I'm over thirty. Cool doesn't just happen to you, after thirty, you become it. Fact.
So I did a little "life review", it got mushy. I did a lot of celebrating, it got messy. I did a lot of planning for growing up, it got, uh, waylaid.
But from that point on, basically everything felt ok. Everything was going to be ok. Everything was a-ok. I chilled out a bit more about stuff, stopped being so stress-heady and got a bit more settled. Felt more comfortable about who I was, what I did and with whom I did it. We sold our flat and bought a grown up house, I started saying "no" a bit more, I stopped whinging about everything I didn't have/own/look like and realised it's not really that important anyway (Chanel handbag, anyone?), started appreciating what I do have and my FOMO started to dissipate. It's like my birthday and new year all merged in to one and I made life resolutions, not just new year resolutions.
|Group phone chat with our buddies in Oz|
30 was the new 21 in my mind. There's so much build up to 21 but really, like new year's eve, there's no big deal after all the fuss. 30 was where it was at. Apart from the car insurance reduction (nowadays not so much though - sorry younguns), 21 was merely symbolic. 18 contains the only actual life defining moment - legal adulthood. Drinking without lies. That's what 18 is, really.
So if 30 was the new 21 - symbolic - it was all about the party, the life story, the thank yous and the "Oscar" speech. The “So far…” list, and the future plans. Excellent.
What does that make 31?
31 is the realisation that you're a proper adult now.
A grooooown up.
But it was actually pretty good.
A grooooown up.
But it was actually pretty good.
It’s been ten years since my 21st birthday. What was I doing ten years ago? I was working on my internship year and trying not to think about returning to university for my final year (I hated uni). I was avoiding responsibility at all costs. My biggest, most stressful decisions involved Miss Sixty jeans or Guess jeans with my birthday money, I was celebrating my 21st birthday in Paris (in a way more civilised manner than I celebrated my 31st let me tell you!), and drinking Apple Sourz at least four nights a week. I was planning holidays, parties and experiences with my friends and family. I was having fun being single having come out of a rather unpleasant five year relationship...
Although my birth and wedding certificates say that I’m a proper grown up now, you can forgive me for not really feeling it. When you describe my life ten years ago it like that, it's really not that different!
So, back to the present, what did I get up to on my 31st birthday weekend? Well, with a busy year full of big expenditure ahead, I planned very little. Unlike the last ten years. I didn't feel the need or the want. I just wanted to go with the flow.
Oh good lord – did you hear that? "Go. With. The. Flow"
You see... I really did change. I like it.
Anyway, I purchased cocktail ingredients, reserved a table, planned the top half of an outfit (with the bottom half rushed together in the hours before going out) and booked a taxi. That was it. It felt good.
Pre-birthday celebrations on Friday included cake for breakfast at my desk, some birthday bellinis and bresaola salad with one of my besties (all the Bs) and then back at the office: champagne, chocolates and a cheese buffet with my colleagues (all the Cs). Followed by haggis, neeps and tatties, cranachan (made by moi - check me out all grown up and making stuff for guests!) and whisky-based cocktails with some friends to celebrate Burns Night and a long distance group catch up with some buddies Down Under, oh, and lots of cocktails!
All very grown up and (mostly) civilised.
Then, B-day hit on Saturday which involved presents and cards in bed, a mild-hangover brunch, a full body and scalp massage, my girls coming over for some pre-party bubbly then in to town for drinks and dancing… and ended the day crashing in to bed in full make up. Not grown up, nor civilised.
|Presents in bed!|
Sunday we spent the morning recovering, sending apology texts, laughing at some utterly disgusting and hideous, but equally hilarious photos, wallowing on the sofa and eating left over cold sausages straight from the fridge. We then made ourselves look presentable (ish) and headed to my parents' for tea and lemon drizzle cake, more pressies, a game of Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It (a birthday gift) jammy lamb and sticky toffee pud (my Birthday Dinner 2013 choice) and mini birthday cakes, before chilling on the sofa and watching Call the Midwife.