So many of my friends seem to have had, or are having, some sort of meltdown about being 30. Well, as of Monday I’ll be 31, so I’m even older than them. To celebrate I thought I’d pass on some well earned wisdom, and some photos of beaches I’ve been to while I’m 30 – didn’t need a walking stick or anything.
My actual 30th birthday
I know where I was the exact moment I turned 30 and I didn’t even realise it’d happened. My skin didn’t shrivel, my uterus didn’t suddenly dry up and I didn’t just resign myself to the fact I’d never do anything interesting with my life or career again. I didn’t even feel the need to be married.
I was in Mexico, in San Pancho, and I was sat outside a shop in the car having just done a day of surfing. I was chatting to Luis while waiting for my host Bianca to come out with the goodies for breakfast the next day. I looked at the clock, 7pm. And carried on. It wasn’t until I went on Facebook when I got in about 30 minutes later that I realised from the birthday messages that I was now 30, in England anyway.
I went down to the beach and have a cocktail to watch the sun set. Very poetic I thought, watching the final sun set on my 30s, and one of the guys I’d met at the hostel I’d been staying in before the surf course I was on came over. The night went a bit like this…
Beach bonfire > beer pong > party in a surf shop > gig at Darjeeling > me driving a tuk tuk > more beach bonfire > karaoke with the campest man I ever met (Total Eclipse of the Heart) > hostel party > me passing out at the hostel because I was too tired to walk home to my surf school. And it was only at the gig I told them it was my birthday.
Big breakfast > meet the guys on the beach for a few beers > surf > nice meal with Bianca and Luis and cake > Naked and Afraid on TV > bed by 10pm.
I mean, could it be any more perfect?
My 30th year has been absolutely incredible. Now that I’m 31, which one friend tells me is waayyy older than 30, I thought I’d give a few words of advice on how to avoid a fuck-I’m-30-meltdown.
How to survive your ‘flip-I’m-30-meltdown’
1. Nobody has it all
No matter how much Facebook tells you so. STOP comparing yourself to friends who’ve bought houses, who travel, who have awesome jobs, who have beautiful husbands, or who have excellent partners. They’re probably comparing themselves to you. Nobody has it all and as long as you’d rather live your life than anyone else’s, which deep down I think you would, then you’re alright.
If you feel like you don’t, ask your friend who travels about hostels or trying to find said hostel with no Wi-Fi. Ask your friend with a baby about the birth, or maybe the last time she slept. Or ask your mate with the cool job how hard they have to work. There’s a shit side to everything, if you want a bit of schadenfraude to make yourself feel better about life.
2. You’re not that old
When I see articles on the web about turning 25 etc I’m like fuuuck you are so young dude, you have your life ahead of you. And that’s what all the people above 31 are thinking about you. Approximately 50% of the world is older than you. You’re still young – life willing you’ve still got years left, so make the most of them and stay young.
“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”
– Benjamin Franklin
That’s one of my favourite quotes, and so true. I have friends who are 30 who are 30, and some who are 30. You get me? Same goes for my friends who are 60-65, compared to the 65 year olds I met on that cruise in Russia you wouldn’t think they were even within a decade of each other. It’s up to you how you want to play your 30s, enjoy them, because if you’re lucky soon it’ll be your 40s you’re fretting about.
3. Make an action plan
Instead of sitting around wittering about how little you’ve achieved, or how you need to meet someone, or that all your friends are buying houses, make an action plan of how you’ll get to do that thing that’s niggling at you. Put your time and energy into making sure you don’t feel the way you do now at 31, if you’re stressing out.
Whether it’s debt, weight, loneliness, love, work, or your routine, use any negative feelings to fuel your need and desire to be different in the future. Moaning about it is stupid: ain’t nobody got time for that.
4. Look how far you’ve come
Look at yourself and where you were and what you were doing this time two years ago. Give yourself a pat on the back. If you haven’t come for enough for that, refer back to number 3 and try harder next year.
5. You made this life, you’re the one to change it
I really liked this article recently about the money machine that is Johnny Ward, travel blogger from OneStep4Ward. He says:
“If we are fortunate enough to win the birth lottery and be born in the Western world, and we’re not happy with our lives, generally speaking, we only have ourselves to blame.”
So stop stressing out about something you have no control over, when the only other option is grim, and enjoy yo’ self!