Sunday, 18 March 2018

WHY I'M NOT FREAKING OUT ABOUT TURNING 30

Type ‘turning 30’ into google and the first page of results have a common theme.

Result number one, a Psychology Now article ‘If you’re turning 30 and freaking out’, is followed by a succession of depressing opinion pieces from Cosmo, Huffpost and the Metro, of a similar nature. The hysteria peaks at result number 9, a Mumsnet thread titled ‘to be utterly depressed about turning 30...???’ (LOL, oh Mumsnet…)

Then there’s throwaway comments; ‘You’re not turning 30… are you? Oh god you are!’, ‘How do you feel, scared?’…‘Don’t worry, at least you don’t look 30’. 

I wanted to write this blog to present an alternative opinion; a viewpoint from someone turning 30 imminently, freak-out free, genuinely full of excitement for the unwritten decade ahead.
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SHOP THE LOOK:




I’ll admit I did have my pre-thirty wobble last summer. The sands of time suddenly felt palpable and my progress in life (or lack of to be precise), magnified. If I'm entirely honest, I didn’t expect to be living a pay cheque to pay cheque existence in a London at this age, I expected to have a husband, a house & a sausage dog (FFS IS A SAUSAGE DOG TOO MUCH TO ASK??).

Then I did some thinking about aging and started to shape an alternative, positive perspective that I really wanted to share.

My twenties was an exciting decade - it was an anecdote aggregating exercise that gathered momentum the older, more daring and less giving of a shit I became.

But would I do it all again? No I wouldn’t. For all the fun, the festivals, the drinks, the dancing, the ridiculous dates and the 1am McDonalds trips, there were the insecurities, the self-doubts and a general feeling of being a little bit lost.
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On a recent trip to the Lake District, I visited Hill Top Farm – home to the author Beatrix Potter. For those unfamiliar with her life story, Beatrix found success at the age of 36, when her first book Peter Rabbit was published. Opening her biography, I found a quote from Beatrix aged 30 that resonated ‘I feel much younger at 30 than at I did at twenty; firmer and stronger in both mind and body’. 

Likewise, physically I am the fittest I have ever been because my health is no longer something I take for granted. Aged 20 I had never stepped foot in a gym and classed a 4 pack of Stellas as well-rounded meal. I was the archetypal student-slob and had a beer gut to show for it. It was during my late twenties that I learnt to manage life’s stresses through exercise; from breakups to bad jobs, endorphins were my saving grace. Now, I’m addicted to boxing classes, which make me feel both physically fit and empowered in the knowledge I can defend myself.

Similarly I also feel my career is on an upward trajectory, after a decade of schlepping through the fashion industry interning and assisting, I’m grateful to be in a position where I can finally focus on PR, rather than list of miscellaneous list of errands cleverly disguised as ‘work experience’.
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In a culture that values youth and beauty, a culture that idolises Kylie Jenner over the Kardashian powerhouse Kris, it’s stories like Beatrix Potter’s that serve as an important reminder, a reminder that at 30 we are still refining our skills and talents; the best is most likely yet to come.

In fact, Beatrix's 36 years is a drop in the ocean (please excuse the pun) compared to Hokusai; the artist behind the iconic The Great Wave. Visiting the Hokusai exhibition at The British Museum last summer was an eye opener; Hokusai painted his most critically acclaimed work in his eighties. At the age of 60, he reinvented himself under the alias of ‘Litsu’, which translates as ‘one again’. Hokusai believed he had been reborn and the best was yet to come (and the dude was right.)

My advice to anyone turning 30 imminently, freaking the hell out?

Focus on everything you can achieve, rather than what you you’re yet to add to your resume of life. And if that doesn’t motivate you, just remember you’re still alive and kicking, which is fucking brilliant news. Now I kinda hate to quote that douchebag Jonny Depp to close this piece, however I do often return to a great quote he offered up upon turning 50; ‘I mean, I think any day you wake up and you're still around is a good thing. Every time you could take a breath and exhale and inhale again? It's a good thing."

Photos: Barbara P

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