Tomorrow I turn 31 and will officially become a 'thirty-something'. So far the 'dirty thirties' have seen me move to Indonesia for a year, navigate the rough waters of a career change, put on a good 5-10kg (no...NOT good) and still be no closer to figuring it all out.
31 feels different to turning 30. Almost like the real line between being young and being old. When you turn 30 you're still so close to your 20s that you can blame mistakes on being new to the decade. But 31 means that I should know a little bit better.
The increased aches and pains that have come with my 30th decade tell me I probably shouldn't go too wild or indulge in endless quantities of birthday cake that I'll never be able to work off. I feel more settled in this decade, having finally let go of a few things that were weighing me down, accepted that hangovers now last for a couple of days (at least!) and that the effects of junk food are much harder to get rid of.
But with all that in mind, I no longer feel the need to cling to my 20s. The party isn't over, it's just changed direction (more subdued dinner-party chat than wild rager) and I've turned down the music a little bit so as not to disturb the neighbours. They say the thirties are the best decade of your life, so I'm excited to see what's in store.
Because with age comes forgetfulness and memory loss, the thought of having a list of '31 things to learn before you turn 31' sends me into panic mode. So here are my top 5.
5 Things You Should Have Learned By 31*
1. You are the most important person in your life and the only one guaranteed to stick around for the credits. Learn to enjoy your own company. If you haven't gone on a solo adventure by now, pack your bags. Even if it's just around your own city (but preferably further afield)!
2. Watching The Biggest Loser is not the same as going to the gym, especially if you watch while eating apple pie and ice cream like I do. Take a walk. Go to an aqua aerobics class (don't knock it 'til you've tried it!). Easier said than done, I know, but you won't regret it and the extra 30 minutes a day spent without your head in your phone, laptop or tablet will make a world of difference.
3. You should floss your teeth. Often. Or else face the embarrassment of your dentist (who you have known since you were 5) asking you to show him how you brush your teeth aged 30 because he doesn't believe that you can still require fillings at this age. Surely you should have this down by now!
4. Know your limits. Don't try to keep up with everyone around you. Learn to say no and learn when to stop or you will exhaust, frustrate or injure yourself. Life isn't a performance. You're living it for you and no one else. If you need 8 hours of sleep a night to function like a normal human being, try to get it. If 'popping out for a run' leaves you gasping for breath in the fetal position just around the corner from your house, you should probably start out with walking. Don't drink so much that you throw up. It's really not cool.
5. Never, EVER press 'send' without proofreading, that includes subject lines and recipients. We've all been there. Usually after days or weeks of embarrassment, face-palming and occasionally tears, we bounce back from calling that person an asshat to their face and not to your friend. Sometimes these mistakes can even open the doors for a much-needed conversation you were avoiding having with someone. But make sure you're ready for the consequences. Or else get that paper bag ready to put over your head and hide from the world!
Alright, I think you're ready! Bring it on, 31!
* Things I do already know (but that I often need reminding of!)