“Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
— Pema Chödrön
I don’t regret getting older. I can’t help but feel unbelievably privileged that I get to at all. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy being young… I did, but more so in hindsight. I’m more than happy to say goodbye to my twenties. My twenties where a rollercoaster of unbelievable experience and heartbreaking mistakes and gut-wrenching loss and spectacular beauty – parts of it were really great but for the most part it was just so intense – you know? I think a big part of that was because for the most part of my twenties I had no idea who I was. And when I started figuring it out, I never felt like I was enough. I was terrified of myself. Of my sexuality. Of my experiences. Of being in love and being hurt and being vulnerable. I had no idea how to handle myself in the world. I was so caught up trying to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be (and doing a pretty terrible job of it) that I totally lost myself.
Then slowly all of that fear started to fade away and I started to shed the skins of lives that I had lived because I thought that was what was expected of me… and over time, I discovered more and more of who I am.
On Saturday night I had my 30th birthday party. I invited a whole bunch of our favourite people up to my favourite farm and we had a bonfire and ate a communal meal, and played music and camped on the slab that will one day be the warm home of two of my favourite friends. I have been requesting ‘presence over presents’ at birthdays and christmases and things for a few years now… I’d hate for friends to feel like they had to buy me something. And this year my friends surprised me by filling my tent with little love notes and fresh cut wildflowers and homemade art and goodies from their gardens. For me.
Not because I’m being someone who I hope they will like, not because I’m trying to prove anything to anyone – but just because I’m me – flaws and all. For me, that’s pretty massive.
Good people. Good food. Good work for the greater good and the courage to accept myself for who I am.
If that’s what my 30s are all about then I’m welcoming them with open arms.