Perhaps it is the onset of spring (at least for us lucky souls in the Southern Hemisphere). Perhaps it is the halo effect of my (now distant) sojourn in Scandinavia, the Land of Everlasting Happiness. I’m staring down the barrel of my fourth decade on Earth, and yet instead of fear, or distress, or a sense of foreboding commonly attributed to a female leaving her roaring twenties behind, I am in a state that can only be described as brimming with expectancy.
Saying that now is the time of my life is perhaps a tinge rich and premature, but with the benefit of hindsight in a few decades’ time I’m sure the bold statement won’t be too far off the mark. I have seen too many before me reaching this stage in life and feeling out of sorts; and to those I wish only to express my condolences. By focusing on the “haves” (and properly putting the “have nots” to rest), I have somehow managed to survive my quarter-life crisis in better shape than I have ever anticipated. So, as a courtesy to the past thirty years of ebbs and flows, here’s to taking stock of what I have, and all that makes me happy.
1. The power of independent coupling
I’ve partnered young. Or as the doomsayers would say, too young.
Partnering young (and with a good man), however, can have its perks and quirks. A decade spent in the companionship of a loved one has allowed us to iron out the gnarly edges of a relationship formed since adolescence. Where those embarking on a new relationship in their late twenties can still expect to tiptoe around their partners in the hope of presenting the best of themselves, we are well on our way to “independent coupling”. This may sound avant-garde, but it is simply short-form for mutual respect and flexibility to pursue our passions and it suits us just fine.
2. The value of lifelong friendships
Happiness at 30 would be unattainable if not for the friendships forged over many rounds of high tea, karaoke dates and retail therapy. Whilst some have made a pit stop appearance in my life, others have wandered by, pitched a tent and decided to set up camp.
I have also become impatient and uncompromising with affectations in friendships. Happiness is a choice and I choose to surround myself with nurturing, adventurous and thoroughly tested friends who have shared in my history, live up to the present and offer unconditional support for the future.
3. Modicum of financial independence
Whilst I will not be rushing to any LV / Versace / Prada fashion launches soon, I am glad to be no longer counting the pennies. The currency of money is not a universal elixir, but it solves an awful lot of life’s teething necessities (like that next soul-searching expedition, or a shiny new gadget, or designer furnishings, or even a career sabbatical). The freedom that comes with financial independence – the golden period which predates financial interdependence (either upstream or downstream) – is arguably the best part of life at 30.
4. Knowing and pursuing
I was precocious growing up, and as the years wore on, I have become acutely self-aware. Almost for the first time, I know what I want in life (and certainly what I do not want).
If the first thirty years have been squandered on dreaming, I hope the next ten will be focused on pursuing such dreams. Where previously I saw insurmountable perils, now I see infinite possibilities. So stop waiting for things to happen; make them happen!
5. Moving forward…and moving on
30 signals the time to bid adieu to life’s pesky insecurities and desist crying over spilt milk. The self-consciousness that haunted me in my teenage years are a bygone memory. Similarly, others’ preconceptions of me and the often slanderous he said / she said mind games have limited capacity to drive daggers through my heart. It is comforting to know that the little girl who would have once run away and cried would now take setbacks in her stride and roll with the punches.
I am also able to graciously accept that the only constant in life is change. There is inordinate wisdom in JFK’s words that “those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”.
6. Appreciate others, and love thyself
I am finally comfortable in my own skin, and consider myself fortunate to continue to harbour the curiosities of a child and not yet the jadedness of an old maid.
At 30, I can appreciate that life is not a bed of roses. I have made peace with the knowledge that sometimes what has the ability to render the greatest love can also inflict the greatest hurt. And yet throughout it all, we must learn to love thyself and embrace life for what it is, and can be. Thorns and all.
* What is the most positive aspect of life at 20/30/40/50…80? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to share in the Comments below! 🎉🎈🍾*