What's that coming over the hill?

I managed to turn 30 without a midlife crisis… so far.

I must say my life is not how I imagined it would be back in the days of yore. Most kids imagine 30 to be over the hill.

Being 30 meant responsibility and admin and mature things like Rooibos and mortgages and fear and babies. So far I don’t have any of those except the fear, although I have strangely started adapting to Rooibos.

I also assumed that by the time I was 30 I would have done something. Something special, some big career move, or some kind of achievement. I just assumed that my life would be all kinds of awesome, a hell of a lot better than it was then.

Ja, well.  I can’t say that the last 10 years were anything like how I vaguely imagined. No one ever told me how bloody difficult it would be just to stay alive this long. Frik. It was hard enough just surviving, never mind doing something special.

I would like to say that I always tried my best. But I didn’t always try my best. Sometimes I took the easy way out, and made excuses, and pretended not to notice, or looked away, and did what was convenient, or best for me, and sometimes I lied.

Sometimes I was an emotional coward and said terrible things about people, and hurt people, and cried in a bathroom stall til I couldn’t breath. Sometimes I wished someone else would die. Sometimes I treated the people who loved me the most the worst,and put myself first.

Ok make that often.

I could say that I have had the guts to admit it and face my weaknesses head on. But there have been times when I haven’t had the guts for that, too.

Other times I was brave or kind, or at least swallowed my words, and sometimes I laughed til my ears throbbed. Sometimes, I was ok.

I didn’t achieve anything at all that my youthful self would be impressed by. She would be disappointed. But then she had no idea what it took to get here.

All I can really say is,

I’m still here.

I’m quite proud of that.


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tiah
    Aug 12, 2010 @ 08:59:39

    What a thoughtful blog post. Enjoyed this. When I turned 30 two years ago I, too, started feeling down. Not that I was 30. But at what I had to show for at 30. My life, too, did not look anything like I imagined it would.

    So I wrote a birthday email, partly to answer all the teasing of making it to the big 3!0!. I started to look what I had done, and for one day to be able to look at myself and say, “Well done.”

    I think we all deserve a day to say that, from time to time. So Po, “Well done!”


  2. Damaria Senne
    Aug 12, 2010 @ 09:44:11

    Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you lived and loved and hated and lived, just like we all do. And confronting your life takes more bravery than parts of your post give you credit for.


  3. Tamara
    Aug 12, 2010 @ 14:51:30

    Happy 30th, Po. The blogosphere would certainly be poorer without you. Your post was a great description of the humanity in most of us, although I doubt most of us could ever put it that well.


  4. Dora
    Aug 12, 2010 @ 16:30:14

    Woah. Very beautifully written. Sounds like that’ll be me in the not too distant future – and really, just sounds like everyone of us.

    Happy Birthday, and to many more on the other side of the hill. (Gees, what are you gonna say when you turn 50?!) ;)


  5. Shannon
    Aug 12, 2010 @ 18:47:18

    Still being here is no small thing, and I am glad you are.

    Also, don’t you find your ideas of what greatness is have changed? I thought by 30 I’d be my generation’s Dorothy Parker, minus the depression and suicidal tendencies, dropping witty bon mots to the adoring crowd at a swanky bar. In a little black dress. Drinking cosmos. I kind of had it planned out.

    Instead I did things that sound way less impressive but of which I’m far prouder. And a lot of stuff I’m not at all proud of but that hopefully made me wiser and more compassionate.

    Happy birthday, kiddo (which I can say because I have 3 years up on you; it’s great to find you will always be a youngster to someone!)


  6. Po
    Aug 13, 2010 @ 11:32:19

    Thanks so much everyone, am glad I am still here just so I can hang out with you all online!


  7. Paula
    Aug 16, 2010 @ 08:45:28

    Aw 30 is not SO bad. I mean my only hope by then is that I am married or engaged. (I’m obsessed- sue me)
    Plus Rooibos is the shizam. I drink it all the time. To be honest I think I like the sound of 30 – it sounds like an age where you should be something of what you are… know what I mean? I just think that maybe we place such importance on the number when our focus should be on who we are at any age and reflect on the good and the bad of everything.
    Really any age over 20 is old to the youngin’s… till they get there.
    I’m glad you made it XD


  8. DT
    Aug 16, 2010 @ 13:31:34

    Happy Birthday Po. Beautifully written. We are hard on what we have and haven’t achieved, thats the downside of these numbers which define us so much. I think your blog, beautiful words and ability to express yourself with such honestly is a great achievement in its self! I wish you an abundance of peace and contentment and excitement in your thirties.x


  9. dash
    Aug 16, 2010 @ 23:54:08

    You’re sounding weary and hard on yourself. And as easy as it is to say “stop being so hard on yourself”, you really need to. As everyone has mentioned, this is a beautiful description of the failing of everyone. I’m sure even the ‘greatest’ of people have those faults (I say greatest that way because really ‘greatness’ is something we measure through our perception of the world and really what is it?)

    I love reading your posts Po, I hate it when you take breaks..as Tam pointed out, I think your contribution to the blogosphere is something to be proud of!


  10. Po
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 14:58:48

    Thank you Paula, DT, Dash. Maybe I am hard on myself sometimes, but I hate it when people excuse terrible things with “well, he meant well…” I reckon you could say that about Hitler! I prefer to be bluntly honest with myself, possibly to a fault.


  11. cybersass
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 16:20:38

    today i feel like *i* could have written this post when i was 30. maybe even now, at 46, but i would like to differ with you on one point,
    “I didn’t achieve anything at all that my youthful self would be impressed by. She would be disappointed.” – i doubt that very much. this blog would have made her proud. amongst i’m sure a lot else.
    though kids really have *no* fricken idea anyway!


  12. Po
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 17:01:52

    Oh sass I can’t even begin to see how this could be written by you, now or ever. You have acheived so much more than I even dreamed, and you have been trhough things that I probably wouldn’t have survived. I think of people like you when I want to feel motivated. You are a survivor in more ways than one ;)

    But it is true that as kids we had no freaking idea what it would take to crawl to 30, 40 and beyond. IT’s better that way or maybe we would never get out of bed :)


    Aug 19, 2010 @ 10:35:58

    You’ve gotten to live outside the country of your birth, i think that’s something you should be proud of.

    Congratulations on reaching 30 ;)


  14. Trackback: Two thousand and hen/pen/men/other lame rhyme.

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