First up in Emma Jones - a girl I've known for a number of years who is married with the most loveliest family, a woman who has always seen to be completely control in her life and loving it:
"I remember when I turned 30 I was in Malta on holiday, I felt sad that morning and I kind of felt like I had to grow up now life in my 20s was over, I layed by the pool and looked back at what I achieved over the years marriage children etc and thought I wasn't ready to grow up yet and so decided I may possibly grow up when I'm 40 if I feel like it, It's safe to say I celebrated in style and in the end didn't feel so bad about being 30"
Next is a very close friend of mine Emma Keen - I've known Emma since our school days together, and I have the up most respect and love for this girl. A woman who I look up to in many way of career and attitude, her views on 30 made me smile:
" I have to admit I have always quite looked forward to turning 30. My 20's were amazing fun, not without the odd down but I am thankful to say mostly ups, but I know I started my 30s as a much more confident person. I have a great career that I hope is only going to get better, people no longer disregard me because they think I am too young. I actually spent a lot of my first few years in work wishing i was older and actually being happy when people thought I was older than I was!
I have an amazing husband who I was lucky enough to marry in my 20s. Our 30s are just another opportunity to have even bigger and better adventures together!
Friends are getting married and popping out kids at a rapid pace of knots, each one a new little person to get to know, and a great excuse to buy lots of cute impractical stuff! But wonderful to see and to share with their amazing times too!
So, I love being 30, just as I will also love being 40 and 50... And by 90 I hope to be the same as my nana arguing with taxi drivers and putting the world to rights.
Bring on life I say!"
Next up is the very lovely and talented writer Sophie Eggleton. A talented presenter, music/fashion editor of Culture Compass. Sophie has a really interesting take on the prospect of turning 30, one that I still do agree with:
"I won’t divulge how far away I am from 30, which I think alone says a lot about how I feel about landmark birthday, aka DOOM. Till now, where possible, I have been vague about my age, saying I’m in my twenties, or when pushed to be specific, my late twenties. When I enter the next decade I will have to say I’m in my thirties. THIRTIES!! Even typing it makes my heart sink. When I was a teenager I remember looking at people in their thirties as ‘other’. They were a different species - un-relatable, grown up, past it, boring etc.
My mum would always say how fast the years fly by and how she has always felt the same age inside. She would talk of the horrible shock when she saw the ageing face frowning back at her in the mirror. I’d make some sort of dismissive sound whenever she said it, naively thinking it would be different for me or that it was too far in the distance for me worry about. But, she was right (aren’t they always?). I still feel like a scared, vulnerable kid inside, but see a face etched with years of stress and sun damage, with sad eyes and a body with less tight/high lady shapes.
So first lets concentrate on the aesthetics of ageing. I now curse my ‘I’ll worry about it later’ attitude. I have worshipped the sun. In fact, I have striped down to my scanties and dashed to the garden to bask at the mere hint of access to Vitamin D. In my defence, it wasn’t in pursuit of achieving the perfect orange hue, but hoping that the heat of the rays might have the affect of lasers in clearing my acne ridden skin. The reason is irrelevant. The reality is that my skin is now uneven and discoloured and destined to have the texture of leather. It currently exists with a slightly softer pleather feel, but I acknowledge my eventual fate. For years I have also ignored advice to use heat protection on my hair, so my formerly thick mane is now brittle - think Worzel Gummidge. I have a deep indent in-between my brows formed from years of confusion over boys and general grumpiness. I had always been able to eat what I like and not put on weight (thanks in part to aggressive IBS), but now I have a stubborn doughnut of chub that surrounds my belly button, a bottom that now resembles the Blancmange pudding from my first school dinners - all accessorised by what look like road maps drawn on by a child using an old biro thanks to my array of thread veins.
Before I digress into an essay about all the things I loathe about myself, let me get the point. In my twenties have always been a bit of a prude in terms of my dress. I would always wear tights over bare legs, I’d never show much boobage and wouldn’t dye my hair. I’m not saying I should have dressed like Aguilera during her ‘Dirty’ era, but maybe been a bit more confident about showing off my body, during what will probably turn out to be its prime. I have started to let go a bit in the last year. Thanks to BLEACH LONDON my hair has been pink, orange, and peach, which for me is proof of letting go a bit.
For me though I don’t think my issue with getting older is to do with the superficial. I think my negative obsession is because I am not where I wanted to be at my age. We all set life goals or at least like to picture where we will be, what we will have, and what we will have achieved by a certain point. I am currently living at home, trying to save money to eventually buy a house with the fella. Of course I am grateful that I am able to do this and on the whole it is pretty nice actually. The problem is it is impossible not to revert back to being a child in some ways, and you have to sacrifice a certain amount of independence - something that is meant to be a given during adulthood. I also think I have developed a certain amount of bitterness because my lack of progress in terms of life steps because it has been hindered by events out of my control (ill health).
Friendships are challenged during this age bracket too. Most of my close group of girlfriends didn’t go to university, instead grafting in their jobs and settling down with their partners.This has meant that many of them have houses, husbands, and children. We are at different life stages - with different priorities, passions and anxieties. This has had an obvious impact on our relationships. Our schedules no longer coincide, making it hard to all get together for cathartic gossip sessions like we used to. We like to spend our down time in different ways - some live for weekend clubbing, for others that is a past-life activity and couldn’t be less appealing. Some are ‘enjoying’ the single life and the freedom and sauciness it offers, others are dealing with mortgages, getting their boilers fixed and sharing how many times they’ve been sick-ed up on that day. What I am trying to say is some of your closest friends drift away, become less regular fixtures in your life, or simply can’t relate to your life anymore. Luckily, on the most part I’ve found your mutual care and love for each other wins out and you find each other again.
Of course I have had some wonderful and positive l experiences in my twenties, but unfortunately by overview of the decade is clouded with stress, tragedy, heartbreak and regrets. So I am trying hard to use the gloomy mist as a reason to embrace my thirties. I will try and look at it as a fresh start, a new era, and an opportunity for growth. I will try and look at my twenties as the trial and error decade - the years where the mistakes happened - an invaluable education if you will.
I am not saying I won’t slip up some more in the next decade, in fact I know I will. That said, I will be able to make some more informed decisions by drawing on wisdom gained from the last ten years, and perhaps I may be able to become that ‘old’ person that offers useful advice to twenty somethings going through their inevitable wobbles. I see some early twenty friends tweet things that they think people want to hear. They exclaim that they have musical preferences or opinions that they think will appeal to the group they want to be accepted into, or that will make them ‘cool’. I am past that stage - I am happy to admit to so called ‘guilty pleasures’ and embarrassing loves, habits or views. That said, I still have that need to be liked, and probably care too much what people think. I will work to rectify this in my thirties. Perhaps this will happen naturally as my priorities change. Well anyway…here’s hoping this will be THE decade. Wish me luck!!
P.S I advise doing something that makes you feel alive. I have a bungee booked for !"
I think for me, what surprised me was how positive people were about turning 30 and how surprised I am in myself how much I WAS excited to the feelings I felt nearer the time - my excitement had passed and I was left with was dread. Have things improved SINCE turning 30? massively... More on that tomorrow.
Whats your views on turning 30?