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16.10.2019- 29 Up

With little over a month to go until I turn 30, it’s natural to feel reflective and look back on the last twelve months. If I’m being totally honest with you (and with myself!), at the start of the year I was terrified at the prospect of hitting such a milestone birthday, and the inevitability of comparison made me feel keenly aware of the life milestones which I’m yet to reach- those things which others have been sharing (and over sharing!) on social media for what feels like forever. In an age of feeling constantly under pressure to keep up with what your peers are doing, whether that be buying a house, getting engaged or having children, if you’re not doing any of these (let alone all three!), it’s easy to feel left behind by the crowd and quite lonely to boot. This sensation of not keeping up with #lifegoals definitely played a part in the sense of anxiety which I had about hitting 30. 

Back in January, December seemed a long long way off, and with the prospect of a whole year to get my life in a more orderly shape, I wasn’t too worried about weaving all of the disparate elements of my life together. The minute we hit March, however, I had a minor meltdown, which, looking back is totally ridiculous (how much can realistically change in two months...?!), and I realised the best, and most adult thing I could do is to stop putting pressure on myself to emulate what everyone else is doing- what works for other people doesn’t always work for you. Ultimately, we all know that comparison is a road to nowhere, but having a word with myself about it (co-incidentally around the same time that I did some filming for the wonderful The Insecure Girl’s Club alongside some truly remarkable ladies) was all it took to help me recalibrate and reevaluate my priorities. 

I think part of the initial anxiety I felt around such a big birthday was because I still don’t really feel like an adult. I still live at home in suburban south London (so far, so millennial), haven’t even taken my provisional driving test and I’m not sure that I’ll ever find that burning ambition which I see in so many of my inspiring peers. However, with that most 21st century ‘slay in your lane’ mantra ringing in my ears, over recent months I’ve been steadily focusing on what I have achieved in life so far- a first class degree, an amazing group of friends and the ability to recite all of Lord of the Rings off by heart. Seriously though, after the year I had last year, every day that I’m able to get out of bed on my own and not need help using the loo feels like an added bonus. I might be more at home watching a period drama marathon than on a pub crawl, but the important thing which I have to remind myself of is that I’m doing what works for me, and what I want to be doing- not what everyone else is or what some pre-determined notion of conformity thinks I should be doing at this point in my life. 

I’ve also spent the last six months or so looking for the best in life, and focusing on the positive elements at play in my world. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by the most wonderful, solid group of friends, all of whom come from disparate circles of my life but who all mesh together to create this magical invisible support network which is there whenever I need it to be, and for whatever I need it to be there for. This year I’ve also been lucky enough to get away on some amazing trips, adventures which I mightn’t have been able to enjoy if my financial commitments had looked different. I’ve also embraced being able to take part in some physical challenges, including Trekstock’s Big Urban Trek and the Miles for Refugees challenge which I completed last month for the British Red Cross. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some days where getting out of bed and out of the house are a real challenge, but every time I start to feel bogged down or anxious, I focus on what good things I’ve got going on- very often something as simple as what I’ve got planned for the weekend- and how much of a good thing it is to be able, for the most part, to please myself and not have to worry about being answerable to anyone. In my mid twenties, when I had a fully blown quarter-life crisis, I would regularly tell myself that my 30s would be the best years of my life, so bring it on December- let’s see what you’ve got in store! 

Have you hit any landmark birthdays recently? 

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)


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