In ten days I turn a whole year older, yet I find myself just 30 years young. Normally I dislike my birthdays, I feel nothing changed and dismiss any achievements as just ‘what everyone does’. Yet the past couple of weeks I’ve felt this unsettling contentment, unsettling insofar a I am unused to it, yet I’m not feeling unsure of it. I suddenly feel I am in the right place in my life, that I’m not a fraud or a fluke and recognise that where I am is due to half chance and half choice. It’s a nice feeling, and I’m in a nice place in my life.
My twenties were fun and frenzied, troubled and tricky, yet adventurous and ardent. They began a couple of months after attempting to end my life. I started two undergraduate degrees, and finished one. Many misspent drunken nights of mischief making, deep meaningful chats and kissing unsuitable boys. I bungee jumped off a bridge over a late in Argentina, and walked the shanty towns in Brazil. I rode horses, did yoga at sunrise and spent the night watching shooting stars with strangers in Spain. I skinny dipped in Cuba, and learned how to be alone, alone. I lived in a mouse infested house in Toronto, and learned I could be loved and liked for who I am, as I am. I made some great, great friends, here, there and everywhere, yet lost people on the way too. Passed my driving test, and was a passenger on a bus to Boston that went up in flames. I walked the streets in New York during a massive downpour and lightning storm, and experienced a landslide on the Death Road in Bolivia. I’ve moved out, moved back home and back out again and found myself stony broke in Stoneybatter, Dublin. Became an Auntie, and a Fairy Godmother. I’ve had terrible fights, and the most loving cuddles. Cried over boys whose names I can’t remember, and over men that don’t know how much they hurt me. Put up with too much crap, yet cut others off way too quickly. Three general anaesthetics, and a grand total of nine adult teeth removed yet somehow still have a full set of gnashers. I’ve seen two incredible therapists, and found a career that I am passionate about, and good at too. Started a poetry blog which I’ve somehow kept going over a year. Got over my fear of public speaking after my biggest fear happened on a stage. Got a crowd of strangers to sing along to Hey Jude. Lost weight and gained weight, and noticed not much difference between the two. Happy and sad, lost and found and every little last thing in between.
I learned first to how to harm myself greatly, then how to help myself out of my darkest moments. I learned to gain the strength to ask for help, and the courage to accept it. I learned the pain of heartbreak, the loneliness of growing apart, and the lightness of self-confidence. I felt the terror of suicidal thoughts, and never thought I could get to 25, never mind what came afterwards. And what came next was often more of the same, same shit different day, yet different and more manageable as finally I learned to be my own friend again. What I know now that I didn’t know then is that trying to create timelines for my own life are simply a boring and wasted effort. Sometimes my biggest mistakes were the best goddamned decisions I could have made. Failing is not the end of the world, and that I should always go with my gut. Doesn’t mean I always do it though, let’s be honest as it is more fun to rebel. I know that I can love someone, and still love them when they don’t love me back. I know that I can tolerate lots of physical and emotional pain, yet find the fight deep inside me to get up, get out and get on. Where that comes from I don’t know but I no longer need to know either. Sometimes I feel I know absolutely nothing at all, and that’s ok with me too. That can be the best place to be as there is everything to gain.
I begin my thirties with an attitude of gratitude for my health, my family, my friends, my foes, and my future, whatever becomes of it. Bring it on, bitch.