I turned 30 earlier this month. Rather a relief, in a way. People have been celebrating their 30th birthday on Facebook for months, so in a way I feel as though I’ve been turning 30 for ages – in some respects it’s a relief to get it over with.
I had a little birthday party in the Brewdog pub at Shepherd’s Bush. I got ID’d on the door so I can’t look that old – I suppose? I spent my actual birthday eating ice cream and making my housemates watch Clangers followed by Jerry Springer: The Opera. I might be growing up, but I don’t plan on growing old.
When I was little, I could never imagine myself reaching this age. I visualised myself going to sixth form, then university, but after that… nothing. Except that I knew I wanted to move to London, ever since I first visited, aged nine. Seven hours on a coach from Durham bus station, and I fell in love with this city, full of history and theatre and people, so many people. Whatever else I do or fail to do in my life, at least I know I’ve managed to fulfil one of my childhood dreams. Yesterday I left the office at lunchtime and popped into the British Museum. The British Museum. How many people get to say that? I work within walking distance of Oxford Street, King’s Cross, the South Bank, Leicester Square, all those places I used to visit as a tourist. Now I’m the one getting mad at the tourists for standing on the wrong side of the escalator.
Getting older isn’t all bad. Ten, even five, years ago I wasted far too much time and energy worrying what people thought of me. I was embarrassed about the music I liked (I was never into indie like the “cool kids”), the things I am interested in, the amount of time I like to spend by myself. Now, it doesn’t bother me, and I just don’t care what other people think about how I choose to live my life, unless they’re coming from a place of genuine concern for me or the people around me. I’m a bit more confident, a little more assertive, less apologetic.
When my mam was my age, she had a house, a husband, and a baby on the way. I don’t have any of those things, but I have others: a huge collection of books, boxes full of theatre tickets, and lots of memories.