Turning 30

reflections on being 30 | Life After Elizabeth

In July this year, I turned 30 years old.

As a kid, I thought 30 would be the most exciting age. It was when youth and maturity met in the most perfect harmony. 30 year old’s used exciting words like “lease” and “fiancé” and “career.”

I couldn’t wait to become an adult and use words like that. I remember one night my mum was tucking me in, I looked at her with envy and said “I can’t wait to be an adult like you, mum! You get to go to bed whenever you want!” She smiled softly, “honey, it’s really not that great.” Sure mum, I thought, before closing my eyes and imagining the joys of being a fully grown adult. I could go to bed at any hour, never have anyone telling me ‘that’s enough chocolate for you’ and never again would I be forced to eat disgusting things like broccoli or brussel sprouts ever again.

I’m now a vegetarian and going to bed 9pm every night is my idea of heaven. Other than that, I was pretty spot on in thinking that 30 would be a great age. It certainly is the best mix of youth and maturity. I’m far more confident in myself and know what I want (ish). I find it quite funny to observe 20-year-olds stumbling down the night street in their uncomfortably high heels and tight dresses, remembering how I was when I was that age. When the feeling of fitting in was so much more important than being me. Getting older feels like being shoved out of a party, sometimes you’re banging on the door trying to get back in, other times you just think “Thank God… I can finally leave and go to bed!” Which is exactly how it felt leaving my twenties behind. I was quite happy to segue into the good stuff.

It’s an interesting feeling to reflect on the accumulated experiences I’ve had in my life so far. All of them feel self-contained and distinctive. Each country lived represents a new chapter, the death of my sister, a whole new book. It’s like I’ve finally crossed enough territory, that I can look back and see my footsteps with enough distance to understand it, to make sense of it.

I can reflect on my childhood growing up as the “daughter of a diplomat” – living around the world. Where I turned into a pro at pulling out my roots and planting them again somewhere new, every few years. Where the pyramids of Egypt became our playground and sun-soaked boat trips to an isolated island in Jamaica lit up my imagination.

I can reflect on my young adult years when I silently rebelled against my nomadic upbringing and decided I would forever remain true to my Canadian roots. I stood firmly in my belief that I would live in Ottawa for the rest of my life, staying close to friends and my dog, building a life that felt a little more predictable. One that I was in control of. But eventually, an instinct would emerge whispering it’s time to move on. After pushing it down for a few years, I finally surrendered to the energizing feeling of pressing reset on my life and moving somewhere new.

I can reflect on those 3 intense years in Beijing, where I lived with my father in his in the diplomatic apartment in heart of the city. When my life post-university life finally began and I was trying to find out what I was doing, who I wanted to be, and what I was made of. The path to get there was paved with jobs I was most definitely unqualified for, insane parties, and of course, heavy drinking.

I can reflect on the morning of October 13th, 2013, when I found out my sister died. When life felt as if it snapped in two. I can remember that painful plane ride home, when both my dad and I sat there like zombies, unable to comprehend what this meant. I can remember the rush of love from family and friends; the tears in their eyes and the aches in their hearts.

I can reflect on the year I picked myself up and made way for the biggest adventure of my life, moving to Australia. I can remember this unbelievable surge of adrenaline when the plane finally landed and the pilot said, “Welcome to Australia.” I remember the fierceness that propelled in those first few months to find a job; I spent my nights sleeping in a hostel and days marching across the city to job interviews, listening to Waking on a Dream and reveling in the outrageous thought that not one person on this entire continent knew who I was.

I can reflect on those months living alternatively on a yoga center in Byron Bay; finding my place in a loving community of yogis and green thumbs. Where we lived in a trailer, did yoga, sang kirtan’s together, and danced to drum circles on the sun-setting beach.

I can reflect on my solo adventure climbing volcanoes in Indonesia and taking a 4-day boat ride to the land of venomous Komodo dragons. And then making my way to India, for a brain-bending experience in yoga’s birthplace, Rishikesh, India.

To sitting here now, in my corporate job in Sydney. Feeling swarmed by memories of all the lives I’ve lived and all the experiences I’ve collected. All of them adding up to this moment to where I am now; wondering to myself, what will be next?

One day, this too, will all be another chapter.

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