What I’ve learnt in my first year as a 30-year-old

We’re in the process of renewing our mortgage at the moment and we had to decide whether or not to go for a five year fixed rate. Although it’s occasionally to my detriment, I’m a planner. Decisions like this pre-Covid would’ve been no problem for somebody who has a Pinterest vision board spanning far beyond five years. 

But, when James read out our options to me, I was paralysed by indecision. It was the first time in my 30 years that I realised that this organised planner has become somebody who doesn’t really look too far into the future anymore. 

Now, I’m assuming this new development has happened for one of three reasons:

  1. I’ve spent the last year trudging through days without looking forward too much. Has Covid finally rid me of my obsessive need to have my whole year organised by January 2nd, purely by default, because I actually can’t plan anything right now?
  2. My life feels whole at the moment – despite Covid. Was I looking forward to what I now have, meaning I have less of a need to look ahead?
  3. I just can’t be arsed anymore. 

Let’s talk about how little I care about things right now

Again, this might be a Covid thing. I mean, I’ve been wearing the same tired old pair of black Vans since the beginning of lockdown. I don’t even remember the other shoes I own. I don’t remember the last time I put mascara on (maybe Christmas Day?) and my loungewear has been promoted to out of the house wear.

But over the past year the distinct shift in the amount I care is notable. I’ve seen it bubbling away under the surface for the past couple of years. I spend less time analysing a tweet before sending it, I don’t feel such a need to update the world on the mundanity of my everyday life on Instagram, if I don’t want to do something – work wise or otherwise – I just say it. These are quite trivial individual points but they represent a seismic shift in my everyday life. 

People often say the older you get, the less you care – which is a privilege afforded to you with each year. This has certainly been true for me and it makes me look forward to being older rather than think about it with an air of fear like I did in my early 20s. 

The friends I’ve got now are here for the long haul

Who remembers friendship dramas? I’m not suggesting they don’t still happen when you’re 30. I know some people who love a good drama and that’ll never change whatever age they are. But, for the most part, tumultuous relationships are behind us. The gossip has also largely died down. I love a good bit of gossip as much as the next person, but nowadays it’s all good humoured and petty and that’s what I’m here for. Done are the days of explosive arguments over absolutely bloody nothing. 

That’s another thing — I’m sure I still get pissed off by pettiness from time to time, but I’ve got so much more going on in my life now that I can’t sit in my university bedroom and pour over a text for hours trying to decipher whether it was, in fact, seeping with bitchy undertones. That’s mainly because the person who actually lives in that bedroom now would more than likely wonder why there’s a random 30 year old sitting in their bedroom. 

I’m much more adaptable to change than I thought

Aren’t we all? This pandemic has taught me a lot about myself but perhaps the most important message of all has been around change. 2019 BC (before Covid) I would’ve described myself as somebody who didn’t like change. I’d actively avoid it. What happens when it’s thrust upon you, though? When my everyday was overhauled and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, I realised I’m actually quite an adaptable person. 

For me, it’s always been about the build up. If I’m given a week before I have to do a big presentation in front of 100 people, I’ll spend that week in absolute turmoil. If somebody said I had a minute before I had to do it, I’d just get on with it. The build up is always worse than the reality in my experience. Perhaps if somebody had told me six months before lockdown that I’d be confined to my home for a year, unable to see my family, I would’ve panicked a bit more. 

I need to get better at being in my own company 

This is something that hasn’t changed as I approach my 31st birthday. I thought having a baby would help with this but it absolutely hasn’t. 

I wrote about having separation anxiety when lockdown is over recently. I think the mixture of lockdown and having a baby has made it even harder for me to be alone. Francesca Specter, a wonderful woman I used to work with at Yahoo, has just brought out a book called Alonement, all about how to enjoy your own company. It’s such a perfectly timed launch because I think we all need to learn to adjust slowly back into everyday life. For the most part, that’s going to mean spending more time alone again. 

IN OTHER NEWS

If you’re wondering what this portion of the article is, it’s a new thing I’m trying out. Each week I’ll do a quick opinion paragraph on a couple of big news stories of the week as well as sharing with you my best buy of the week and my wishlist pick – something I’d love to buy. Here goes…

See ya, Piers

Interestingly, I came to marginally (and I really do mean marginally) tolerate Piers Morgan recently. I thought the way he held MPs accountable over Covid promises was quite good, despite him talking over every guest and co-presenter he has ever worked with. But, this fixation on Meghan Markle was on another level. I’m glad GMB finally decided to put human decency before ratings.

The more we call out people like him, the more we destroy the toxic construct so many industries are built upon. It’s simply not ok to behave like that anymore (it baffles me it ever was…) and we need to call out anybody who fails to adapt. The way ITV so quickly dropped him – let’s face it, nobody believes he quit – shows that the tides are turning and it makes me excited for the future of journalism. 

Conversely, Ashley James just wrote a fantastic thread on Twitter which opened my eyes to an alternate view on the Piers situation. If we remove all controversial figures from broadcasting, how will we have debate? How will all those who also agree with Piers realise that there are other ways to think?

The Sarah Everard investigation

This has hit me really hard this week, and I’m not alone It’s every woman’s worst nightmare realised and, as `Rebecca Reid put it, “It’s proof that we’re not afraid for no reason.” I’ve spent many nights scrolling through stories about Sarah’s disappearance. Why aren’t we safe walking along main roads in busy cities? 

Selfishly, it makes me take a look at my own behaviour. My running routes, my dog walks, the alleyways I cut through. I don’t know why – in 2021 – I have to once again feel unsafe and unsettled. 

I do so much to avoid becoming a newspaper headline – as I’m sure Sarah Everard does too. I don’t walk in quiet areas at night, I turn my earphones off when I’m going down quiet roads, I check behind me when I’m walking my dog in a field. This has become so ingrained in a woman’s psyche that we don’t even think twice about doing it. We’re making such huge strides with sexism, and yet I still have to mark out a clear plan in my head when I’m out walking incase somebody attacks me. This is not ok.

Best buy of the week

These handmade mugs available from The Good Edit are everything. Yes, they’re expensive, so I’ve been buying one each month.

Top of the wishlist

There is something very cool about these retro Mango jeans – they’re giving me huge Firefly Lane vibes – so I’ve put them on my birthday list.

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