Thirty, that age I thought I’d have all my ducks in a row, boxes ticked and be ready to start a family with my perfect husband in our home with a white picket fence following our dreamy wedding that was everything and more than what I had been planning since I was nine years old.
Turns out, even for the planners, life does not go according to the plan we made at nine, or even the one we made at twenty one, well it hasn’t done for me anyway. At twenty-eight I was all set on my perfectly timed path, not sure if it was the Saturn Return shenanigans that supposedly hits every 27-29 years or if I just completely lost the plot either way, just in time for Thirty, I have found myself back at square one. It has taken me a hot minute (read, the better part of two years) but I am finding my strength again, rekindling my own fire, rediscovering myself, what I love, what I need and what I want, and now I am putting all my energy and thoughts towards how I can create that world for myself, so that everyday I wake up driven and ready to in some way cultivate my own happiness.
Funnily enough, turning Thirty has felt a little like this photoshoot. I planned it in my head, bought balloons on a Sunday afternoon prior to the only scheduled day with perfect weather for the week prior to my leaving for India, asked my best friend and favourite photographer to also wake up before the sun so we could catch the golden hour before work on Monday morning, had my tutu and sparkly shoes all ready (ducks in neat row). As hoped, the sky was perfect, but as we walked out onto Princes Pier, I just had to laugh, the wind was taking full control of my fancy balloons, and suddenly I was turning everything other than Thirty.
I think we took about three hundred photos, of which about thirteen had the balloons facing the right way. But you know what, it did not matter one bit. I had the loveliest morning, in one of my favourite Melbourne spots, in a tutu and sparkly shoes (wardrobe essentials might I add) and an elaborate bunch of balloons watching the sunrise with one of the best humans I have ever met.
Some things I have come to decide and learned leading up to Thirty
1. I am not too old to wear a tutu.
2. Balloons put me in a childlike state of joy.
3. Sparkly shoes should be worn, not just preserved in a box. Burn the good candles too.
4. I love beautiful things, but I would rather have less and experience more.
5. Life is not a competition, stop comparing your everyday with someone else’s highlight reel, live in your moment, not chasing someone else’s.
6. Say NO. Protect yourself, your time, your body, your money. If something isn’t for you, say so and don’t be sorry for that.
7. Say YES. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone every so often, try new things, its liberating. (Remember if you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always gotten)
8. Drink more water. I cannot believe the difference this one makes, it helps with skin, appetite, energy, even sleep.
9. Allow yourself the space to be sad some days – it is actually ok.
10. Find five things (min) that calm your soul and make you happy. Write them down. Next time you are down, anxious or just not coping, step away and work through the activities on your list until your anxiety melts away. They should be simple things that don’t require other parties, mine for example; running, hot yoga, looking at large bodies of water, baking, reorganising/tidying my surrounds.
Today I am Thirty, I am in no way where I planned to be, but I am exactly where I am meant to be. I am in India, traveling all on my lonesome, ticking something pretty special off my bucket list, crying, laughing, eating, resting, doing yoga and taking an obscene amount of photos. I have a job that I quietly love even when it drives me nuts, I have a tiny and somewhat dysfunctional (aren’t they all) but loving family, and both new and old friends that have stood by my side through some very questionable decisions and difficult moments and have not judged me but simply loved me. For these things I am grateful and feel incredibly blessed.
Shoes: Sergio Rossi (Puzzle Shoes)