Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Musings As I Turn 30

A woman walking down a country road holding multicoloured balloons

Today is my 30th Birthday, and to be honest, I don't really know how I feel about it. On the one hand, I am not living the life I expected - wanted -  to have. I didn't want to reach 30 without being a mum. I didn't want there to be such a huge span of years between me and my child; I didn't - don't - want to be an older mum, I want to be a young mum. If I was to have a baby this year (even though that's unlikely), when my child reaches 30, I would be 60, and that just doesn't sit well with me. Not that 60 is very old, but 30 years is just a huge gap. But my goal was to have a good job and have saved a fair amount of money, be married and have a child - my biggest dream - by the time I was 25, and as that didn't happen, I'm kind of over the disappointment and sadness now. I'm not so much sad today as resigned; the last nail on the coffin of the dream of being a young mum has now been hammered in. The dream of being a mum hasn't changed, it just doesn't have a deadline.

But on the other hand, I've completed thirty years, I'm now moving into my fourth decade, and that feels like a new beginning, a fresh start, one that's bigger than the start of a new year. And, without, putting deadlines on anything, I kind of feel like the possibilities of the future are endless. I don't generally like looking back over my life, because I kind of feel like I haven't lived, that my life hasn't been all that exciting and I haven't achieved much. But that's down to comparison; comparing my life to others', or to some made up idea I have of what I should be doing - emphasis on "should". But having an exciting life isn't what's important, it's having a good life, and I've definitely had that. I have an incredible family, wonderful friends, and there are things in my life and past that I'm proud of. I've not done too badly. And I'm a hell of a lot more fortunate than a lot of people. Focusing on the good in my life and what I have is so much more important than focusing on what I lack.

I also feel, though, that turning 30 has given me an opportunity to do and experience more - whatever "more" may be. I want to learn British Sign Language. I want to start going swimming. I want to go to the theatre more. I want see more, maybe travel a bit around the UK? I want to learn more about feminism, but also be a more active feminist, and actually try to bring about change. I want to learn new things, maybe go to a couple of evening classes, and just do things simply because they bring me joy.

I want to not worry about turning 40 in ten years, or be so aware of my body clock. But this is difficult. It's hard, because 1) Becoming a mother and having my own family is massively important to me, and I really don't feel I have that long left to achieve this, and 2) Women are taught by society to fear ageing and getting older. Why is it rude to ask a woman her age? I think it's because women fear admitting their real age will lead to judgement as to whether they're past it or not. You only have to look at the movies and the roles available to older female actors as opposed to those available to older male actors to see the disparity, to see how women over a certain age are considered no longer attractive, and if you're a woman who isn't attractive, why do you even exist?

I've never really worried about ageing in regards to how my body and my face will change as I get older - partly because I look so young, even now people still think I'm a teenager (apparently I should be embracing this? But it actually winds me up. Maybe as I get older now, I'll like it more? But that will only be because looking my age isn't as acceptable to society as looking more youthful. Ugh.) - but getting older, becoming a certain age, is scary to me. Again, because I feel like I'm running out of time, but not just in the sense of becoming a mother, but in regards to my maturity. I know most people say it, but I do feel part of me stopped maturing at 16, and another part at 8, because I still love the idea of rolling down hills, I recently saw an advert for an easter egg hunt and got all excited before realising I'm too old for that kind of thing (another reason to have children, ha!), and I would love to go to Disney World. I get excited at things that a much younger girl would get excited about, while everyone else around me is talking about more important, maturer things. I'm just definitely not a grown up, and although I enjoy being excited and silly and "embracing my inner child", I also feel like I'm always trying to play catch up. But also that time is moving so fast, and how am I 30 already?!

I am going to try to stop worrying about all of this, though. Because it's down to society's expectations, and comparing myself again. I'm going to try to embrace being 30, and just enjoy being me, living my life, and exploring all it has to offer.

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