Have you ever forgotten how old you are? Even for a slight moment?
I experience that quite often, but have even more so in this past year. Someone will ask me how old I am and my first reaction is to say 27. Not to trick people into thinking I’m younger, but because I really don’t feel 29. So I forget! And then it dawns on me that I am 29 and there has got to be some weird time warp thing happening because it can’t possibly be accurate that soon I will no longer be a 20-something. I feel more awesome than I have through most of my 20-somethings, so what’s going on?! I’m Benjamin Button-ing my way into the next life?
Tomorrow, I join the 30 Club. And I have so much to celebrate! Starting with the fact that I even made it to 30. There was a time when I said I’ll be lucky to see 30…but that was mostly because I was tearing around MRU residence, bouncing my head off speed-bumps, riding down stairs on pieces of cardboard, lighting myself on fire, zooming down highways at 2 am in the box of a pickup truck, tearing my ACL in mosh pits…you get the idea.
In a slightly more dignified sense though (and one my parents are less likely to shake their heads at), I like to think I’ve accomplished quite a bit so far and have become a pretty good adult (while maintaining my youth and vigor with girlish glee!). I’ve earned my degree in Technical Communications and climbed my way up the job ladder (and what a climb! You should have seen the salary I settled for immediately out of college. My sister is working part-time retail while she goes to school right now and she’s making a higher hourly wage than I did back then!). I’ve traveled to Mexico a few times and done road trips throughout the States (I even found myself in Alaska!). I’ve visited New Zealand and Australia and Iceland and then back to Australia and New Zealand again. I’ve ran several half-marathons (and finished second place in my age group in my first ever “halfer”!). I became an Auntie and was completely overwhelmed to find out how much love I have for my niece and nephew. I’ve played ringette against the Calgary Stampeders (a football team, for you non-Canadians). And won the gold at Provincials. I’ve climbed up a volcano. I’ve learned how to look more graceful while being bucked off a horse (this is a matter of personal opinion. But at least I’m not using my face anymore to break my fall). I’ve had the honor of being a part of three friends’ lovely weddings. I’ve eaten a Subway sandwich that consisted of just pickles (that was a lofty goal I wanted to do for my 26th birthday. I love pickles!). I’ve ridden an elephant. I’ve volunteered and fund-raised for causes that mean a lot to me. I’ve learned to drive a stick-shift. I’ve been skydiving and bungee jumping and surfing with a shark. I’ve learned to ride a motorcycle (and subsequently laid down a motorcycle). I’ve partied like a rock star (and partied with rock stars). I adopted a rescue dog. I’ve spent an entire winter doing nothing but snowboarding on the weekends. I’ve had a huntsman spider on my face and eaten exotic things like kangaroo, crocodile, rattlesnake, whale, shark and puffin. I’ve learned to play guitar and I’ve taken drum lessons. I’ve created a vast amount of memories with the most interesting, inspiring, supportive and fun people. I’ve been (and still am!) a part of an amazing relationship that manages to thrive, despite a crazy long distance. I’ve come to realize just how much I lucked out when it came to the family I was born into.
And the list goes on. But one of the things I’m most proud of at this very moment is living abroad. And getting my dog over here too! Especially because I thought that window of opportunity had closed and it was something I had been dreaming of for ages.
I think the urge to experience another country was instilled in me from a very young age. I remember digging through my mum’s boxes of slides and film reels she had stored from her time spent abroad. She lived in Scotland, teaching English riding lessons at a stable and then traveled throughout Europe. I was so little and unaware of the size of the world. I thought the pictures she had taken were from somewhere in another dimension. I wanted to go to another dimension!
When I was 17, I had dreams of going to university in Australia (there were not enough monies in my pockets for me to be an international student at that time. I thought maybe I could just run away there and be the official didgeridoo player for rugby games or something). When I was 22, I was thisclose to moving to England but the job fell through. At 27, I sort of accepted that it wasn’t going to happen, so I figured I’d try to just settle into Calgary and accept it as my home (no matter how much I didn’t really want to be there). I got my own apartment and I got Leila-dog. Then, after a series of events over a span of two years, the opportunity to move to New Zealand presented itself, so I did it. It was a lot of work to get here (and to get settled ), but I made it happen.
And there are so many more exciting things to look forward to. Moving to New Zealand has made me more aware of what else I want to do and what I want to become. I feel more focused and motivated and content and confident. I also credit that to age and the fact that I’ve experienced healthy doses of both the good and the bad. I’ve figured out my priorities. I’ve been a participant instead of a spectator.
So, 30 doesn’t seem so tragic. I’m embracing it! I think I’ve earned it.