I celebrated turning thirty in a grass skirt with a never ending cup of rum punch in my hand, doing my best to pretend I was as spritely as I have ever been.
You see, thirty is a rather big and scary number when it is a birthday. I always looked at thirty from a distance, like some great precipice from which one could fall (presumably into an endless pit). Thirty is a landmark in life where I thought I would have several things ‘figured out’. But I don’t. I have lived my life as a series of isolated occurrences and, for the most part, I have enjoyed it one hell of a lot. If I could go back and live the seven years since I left school (university) in a different way, I don’t think I would take that opportunity. I have undertaken many adventures that have made my life richer, building memories that will stay with me always, as I tried my best to live a life that is free from regret (an impossibility, of course).
At thirty I don’t feel older, other than people telling me that I am entering a new decade and rum seems not to mix as well with wine and beer inside my body as well as it once might have. I still see the world as an exciting place, full of opportunity, and I still seek to see more of it – just not in quite the same way as before. After spending four (non consecutive years) free camping, CouchSurfing, volunteering, and being given a free house for other reasons, I now have a base from which I hope to find stability.
I came back to Europe for multiple reasons, one of which was to be closer to my family, and I was lucky enough to have my mum and brother visit me for a volleyball tournament (Slam Tilt Volleyball Festival 2017) on my birthday. Ironically my brother had flown back from New Zealand only two days before, so he wasn’t that close and it was the first time I had seen him in seven months. Last time we went away together was to walk across Iceland and I had promised that the next place we went would be warm – in Malta, it was certainly warm. It was a day of sun, music, and swimming as we leapt around in the sand. I enjoyed it greatly.
I am now thirty years old: older than I have ever been, but younger than I will ever be. And that is important to remember. Every moment is simultaneously the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will ever be, so now is the time to make the most of every opportunity.
I have pets (rabbits), a boat (a little one), and a place to live with no end date. It is the very first time in my life I have had any of those things. It is the first time in a long time I have had more than I can carry in a backpack.
We each define life in different ways. At thirty, I like to reflect on the last period of my life as a list of positive experiences, some large and exciting, others small but equally as important. There have been less positive experiences, but I think it is best to not focus upon them. As I move forward to the next decade, I will try to make it as positive as possible, finding little adventures in whatever life brings my way.
The last decade was filled with one way adventures – hitchhiking Europe for six months in a tent, cycling across Europe, building a raft and floating down a river…. but the immediate future involves something more static. I am a big fan of Microadventures, a concept proposed by Alastair Humphreys, and for the immediate future I will try to incorporate these into my life. The very first one might involve my new boat.
In this moment I am older than I have ever been, yet younger than I will ever be. So too are you. Make it count.