When people ask “what did you think you’d be doing with your life by X age?”, I always find it hard to answer. I never really looked ahead and set milestone. Never did I say, “I want to be married by the time I’m thirty” or “by age fifty I want to retire”. I couldn’t understand my friends who set time-specific goals. I suppose the rare times I did try and look forward into the future, at who I would become, I could only imagine a vague picture of myself - surrounded by friends, laughing over glasses of wine, telling a funny story and with, incidentally, fantastic hair. That was the person I was going to be: witty, well-travelled, cosmopolitan, confident.
This week I turned 32, and at dinner with friends last night, I felt I was close to that picture of myself; surrounded by people that I loved, in a fantastic city, drinking wine and laughing. And yes, my hair did look pretty good.
I adore getting older. I’ve never understood people that fear ageing; it seems the most futile of all life’s concerns. I love getting older because each year that passes teaches me something. I am slowly building up a collection of life experiences, an archive that I can revisit when I am old, and look back as one would a cherished photo album, and say “this I did, and this, and this” while turning the pages.
Of course I feel angst too. Since turning thirty I have felt with each birthday a new note of urgency, a feeling of hurry up! Do something! Decide what your thing is! I am aware of the limited time I have to do or be anything significant. It has been a source of frustration in adulthood that I feel I am mediocre at a lot of things. I don’t have the drive that leads people to pursue a passion, to dedicate their life to doing something above all else. I feel this keenly around my birthday each year. Ordinarily this would lead me to fall into self-despair; but this year I want to fully realise this feeling of discontent, and use it to harness action. If I am feeling envious of other people pursuing their passions, it can only mean that my soul is telling me to follow mine. I just need to figure out what it is.