When I was about 22, I wrote a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I was 30. Some were big things, involving lots of time and hard work (see ‘write a play’), others were small and very achievable (see ‘watch It’s a Wonderful Life‘).
My priorities have changed over time, and some of the things on the list aren’t really of interest to me any more. For instance I have absolutely no idea why I felt ‘Go to Blackpool Pleasure Beach’ warranted a spot on list. Not losing any sleep over that one.
I’m pleased that I’ve managed about 10 of them, but there are a few that I’m sad to have not done (yet!)- sleep under the stars, learn an instrument to a good standard, run a marathon.
Why am I thinking about this now? Because I turn 30 tomorrow. And I’ve inevitably been thinking about my life so far, and where I want it to go.
I haven’t reached any of the traditional milestones of adulthood – I’m unmarried, childless (how hideous both of those terms are) and haven’t even had the decency to get myself on the property ladder. None of that stuff particularly bothers me though, as they haven’t been goals of mine in my 20s, and some of them may not ever be. I’m much more concerned about not having learnt to do a walkover, or spent a winter holiday in a snowy cabin somewhere.
So there’s definitely many, many things left on my ‘bucket list’. But one of the joys of being 30 and not 22 is having gained some perspective- I’m sure I thought the list was just a fun way to focus on things I wanted to do, but I don’t doubt that a part of 22 year old me wrote some of those things on the list because she assumed that life, or age, or maturity (what even is that?!) would mean that I wouldn’t be able to do some of these things after the age of 30. And I’m so happy to know that she was wrong. Yes, time is short, but it’s never too late. I can start now!
Yes I’ve got a few grey hairs (which I pluck out because I’m not that okay with ageing just yet) and barely get ID’d anymore, but I’ve also got a life I enjoy, disposable income and couldn’t give a shit if you care that I haven’t shaved my legs.
I’m also aware that I’ll read this in 10 years time and think ‘Shut up 30 year old Penny, you know nothing! Just you wait until you’re 40..’ That’s okay though. Life would be pretty dull if I’d already hit peak wisdom.
So for now I’ll reflect on the last 30 years, grateful for the adventures so far, even the bad ones, and look excitedly forward to the next chapter. I only hope that 30-something me doesn’t run out of clean pants quite as often.
And to play us out, the not-so-little orphan Annie: