January 2015 marked two things - the start of a new year, and most significantly, the last month of my 20's.
I am by nature a reflective person. I love looking back at the story that unfolded, making lists and plans for where the plot will take me next. But this January was so big, with so much story coming to a close that it momentarily paralysed me. It didn't help that my body colluded with my mind and I got the worst flu in a long time, knocking me out for a good 3 weeks. But now I'm as lucid as the parent of a teething baby can hope to ever be - so it's time. Time for lists and navel gazing a plenty.
Your 20's are the first big chunk of time you can really journey back through, recognising who you were at the start, as the same person you are now. Just maybe you've learnt some stuff and bred some people, and you might have a better sense of who you are. Hell, you might have even learnt to tidy up after yourself. JK, I'm not that grown.
I spent nearly all of January thinking about, well, myself. About these years, these experiences that have shaped me in a way I imagine it hard for my future years to do with such profound meaning. I mean, I birthed people. I married the best man I've ever known. I found Feminism. After all this looking back and reliving it, you know what I realised? I'm proud. It's not the easiest thing sometimes, to be proud of your own stuff without feeling like a bit of a tit. And there are definitely times I've fucked up, which were usually the times I learnt the most, because the universe maybe know's what it's doing. But I like who I am and the choices I made, and as newly 30 year old women, I can own it. Hell yeah. I'm proud.
I packed these 10 years with everything I could. I obviously made a list. It looks small, in volume. I've been succinct, but don't be fooled.
stuff I did in my 20's:
//moved to London on my own//
//lived in some of the shittiest places (the most notable being a youth hostel in Sheperds Bush) and didn't give a damn because I was 20 and LONDON//
//let go of a relationship that wasn't good for me//
//recognized my self worth//
//worked really hard, and also sometimes didn't//
//drank too much tequila on occasion//
//learnt the hard way that not all friends will always be in your life//
//got the best, first grown up job I could have ever imagined//
//fell in love and was loved by a man in the most amazing way I've known//
//learnt about myself through good times and bad//
//made good career choices//
//laughed until it hurt, and cried in the same way//
//saw some of the world including - Barcelona, Dublin, Rome, Paris, Venice, Seville, Barbados, Thailand, Norway, Portugal, Spain //
//appeared on live television as both Little Bo Peep, and later, myself//
//got muddy at Glastonbury//
//cooked and ate many good meals//
//had a career in TV that I loved, and quit when I realised it wasn't for me anymore //
//danced all night//
//lived in the cutest first flat a couple could wish for with the smallest kitchen in the world //
//the man I was in love with asked me to marry him //
//made lasting friendships with people I adore//
//lost a Grandparent, and saw up close the impact of life and death colliding//
//swam in the most beautiful shade of blue I've ever seen //
//bleached my hair//
//learnt that not everyone will like me, and accepted it //
//got married and it was awesome//
//came home from Thailand with a honeymoon baby in my uterus - surprise!//
//experienced motherhood in all it's ground shaking gloriousness//
//moved to Manchester and shed tears for London//
//fell back in love with photography//
//started my own business//
//miscarried a baby//
//made the big brave decision to fulfil a dream and moved to the side of the sea//
//gave birth to our baby girl at home on the kitchen floor//
The weight of these things and people and places have become, well, me.
(related - everyone should write a list. Go write down the things in your life that were hard and fun and made you who you are. It's like a tiny memoir. I hope one of my kids finds it after I'm gone, and thinks 'cool'.)
Now that chapter is done. But all those people and places and experiences that have become me, we're moving on together, into my 30's.
For the first time in my life, I don't have a plan. This is truly a first for me. I have always had somewhat of a plan. I'm ambitious with work stuff and I've always know where I wanted to go and be. Whilst some things happened in my 20's that I hadn't planned, or even imagined (mainly falling in love and getting married), everything else was worked at and plotted on the map. But now? I don't know what's coming. This is... different.
Looking forward, for this year, for the next five, I'm mostly blank. There are no big landmarks I need to make it to, I ticked off a lot. My overiding feeling about this, and if I were to choose a word for the coming year, it would be CURIOUSITY. I'm curious. When you don't know what to plan for and so don't, what happens? It's like embarking on a journey, but not knowing where I'm going. I haven't made a resolutions list this year, but I have been thinking vaguely about what I want for the near future. There is nothing very radical (although I'm sure my husband would say that resolving to be tidier is pretty fucking radical for me) - a lot of looking after myself, which needs to be listed when mothering small children. Professionally there is a lot of work to be done, but I have nothing concrete so that's sort of floating around until I can nail it down. Make enough money to stay living in a place we love. Make new memories. Travel, always. And yes, get better at tidying.
I know I have the best of people with me, my head screwed on pretty right and google (yes, that's going down as an essential when venturing forward into the unknown). But beyond that, everything is pretty 'fly by the seat of my pants'. I could be scared shitless, but weirdly I'm not. Mostly I'm just curious and excited and a teensy bit unsure. I think that last bit is important.
So now we go. Come on 30's, let's do it.