Today is the last day of my twenties. Tomorrow, I turn thirty.
When I was fifteen, I decided that thirty would be a magical age – a point in my life where I’d got myself together, was confident and secure, and had finally become the person I wanted to be.
(A brief pause here, while everyone over thirty picks themselves up off the floor)
This too-optimistic fifteen-year-old thought has made me increasingly nervous in the lead-up to this day. I don’t feel like that imaginary person. To tell you the truth, I don’t even feel like an adult at all. The other day, I caught myself thinking “…when I’m grown up” and had to stop and remind myself that, at twenty-nine, there is no situation in which I wouldn’t be considered “grown up”. I’m not even at the youngest end of “grown up” any more.
The thing is, my twenties never felt like adulthood – instead, they were just an extension of my teens. I didn’t even leave school; I just went to a bigger one. And now, suddenly, I seem to have reached this massive next step. I’ve finished my twenties, finished university, and started trying to make my way as a professional writer and lecturer.
Right now, I don’t feel confident or secure. I just feel faintly terrified.
Alongside the terror, though, is something else. My best friend once told me something she learned at roller derby, which can be summed up as ‘nerves and excitement have an identical effect on your body, so you get to choose which of the two you’re feeling’. I’ve been trying to apply this to turning thirty – and it’s starting to work.
Moving into this next part of my life is scary, but it’s exciting too. My twenties have been great in many ways, and I’ve achieved a lot of the things I wanted – but there are also plenty of things I regret. I’ve procrastinated when I could have focused. I’ve believed, said and done some incredibly foolish, hurtful and ignorant things. I can’t change any of that, but I can learn from it, and I can make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again.
For the last few years, I’ve been making my new year’s resolutions on my birthday instead of on the 1st January. I reckon that turning thirty should involve some pretty serious resolutions, so, here are a few:
- Write 1000 words a day
- Send out one piece of writing every week
- Focus more on my lindy dancing
- Volunteer more regularly
- Travel to at least one new place a year
- Be kinder, wherever and whenever I can
I may not be the suave, ultra-confident adult that I imagined when I was fifteen, but I’m pretty happy with where I’ve been headed over the past few years, and I know the way to go from here. And that’s a pretty good feeling to have.
Alice’s books are available on Amazon and Smashwords. Her webcomics, co-created and illustrated by Emily Brady, can be found at the Footloose website. Ally rambles about writing, feminism, and odd questions that cross her mind on Twitter and Facebook.