Turning 30 in lockdown

I haven’t posted for a while as I’m working on a book, and I’ve acquired a small animal sanctuary in my home, so all my free time is spent on feeding, cleaning and cuddling animals, and typing and proof reading my book. It’s all fun and games but not where I expected to be at 30 years old.

I turned 30 in January, like most I had plans for this important milestone; I had planned to throw myself a big party, I love having my family and friends all together and so this was a great excuse. I had not considered that Covid would affect my birthday party; I had believed it would all be over by the time my birthday came around. Even with the announcement at the beginning of January that we would be going back into lock down, I was still hopeful right up to the week of my birthday that some miracle would happen and I would have my dream party, but no miracle happened. I can still feel the resentment in the pit of my stomach as I type this, as if I’m the only person who has had their dreams squashed by Covid-19. I had many goals I had hoped to achieve by the time I was 30, I have achieved few of them, and my 30th birthday party was supposed to be a distraction.. despite all my failings, this was something I had believed was achievable! I had woken up on the morning before my 30th birthday with a sore head, my thought processes something like this; ‘this is not fair; why is this happening to me; the one year that my boyfriend had to pull out all the stops and he’s got away with it for another 10 years; I bet my best friend gets a big surprise party for her 30th birthday in July..’. Fortunately, my higher-self stepped in before these childlike thought processes spiralled out of control and risked ruining what I did have of my 30th birthday. As I mature, I have learnt to acknowledge such negative thought processes quickly before I become completely unconscious, and act on them from a place of total disregard, consequently hurting the people I love. I have learnt to flip the coin and turn these thoughts into a learning process; what is the circumstance trying to teach me? One of, if not THE most important life lesson I’ve learnt in my 30 years is that life is about growth, and in order to grow we need to learn, and in order to learn we need to be challenged, so when circumstances arise that I do not like, I am learning to look for what I can take from them to improve myself, and better my life. Much of where I am now, at 30 years old, is not where I would have liked to be. If a Fortune reader had told me 4 years ago that I would still be living at my mother’s house with 4 birds, a rabbit and a dog, I would have laughed in her face, and asked for my money back.

When I was 19 I had wrote a list of the things that I wanted to do by the time I was 30 and at 26 years old, I still aspired to much of what was on that list; one of which was to run a marathon. At 29 I almost signed up to run a marathon, however I reflected that I didn’t really want to do this anymore. I love running but I didn’t feel I had much to gain from running a marathon, I’m not a competitive person and I considered that i wouldn’t be doing this for myself, so who would I be doing it for? I also aspired to the other bog standard materialisms; successful job, nice car, nice house, fit husband and bright children.. I got the job and fit boyfriend.

As I was lay in bed the morning before my birthday, and focusing on re-evaluating my thought processes, I reflected on where I am today, and considered how I could change this resentful pit in my stomach to a feeling of love and gratitude. I thought of how far I’ve come in terms of addressing my inner demons and past traumas, owning these and beginning the healing process; I thought of the animals I have rescued in the past 12 months, some rehabilitated back into the wild and some at home with me. I reflected on my self-absorbed, materialistic 26 year old self and that she would have never imagined 30 year old me sacrificing my early morning runs to feed the animals, spending my left over wages on bedding, food and toys for the animals instead of fake tan and new outfits; and most importantly, accepting myself without the makeup, fake tan and skimpy outfits. I considered that of all those things I wrote on that list 11 years ago, I did not aspire to becoming a more compassionate, authentic and self-loving person. We tend to aspire to materialism, wealth and physical beauty which is great but I have learnt that without the internal progress we become unfulfilled and all the external stuff starts to fall apart. When we focus on getting the internal stuff right, we can have the external stuff and keep it. We should never feel ashamed for changing direction and not accomplishing past goals; our priorities and values change and that’s not a weakness, it’s a really good thing because it demonstrates personal growth. Sometimes what we committed to years ago, months ago or even weeks ago doesn’t feel right anymore and it’s a real strength to acknowledge that and to embrace the change; sometimes the goal stays the same, but the journey changes and that’s ok too.

So, I pushed aside my self-pity and enjoyed a quiet 30th birthday, contented that at 30 years old, I’m everything I’m supposed to be and I’m exactly where I need to be.

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