Turning 30? Here is What I Learnt in My 29 Years

Are you afraid of ageing?

I’m not sure if I’m afraid of ageing or if I am afraid of the change that comes with it. Family members move away, best friends become distant acquaintances and the person in the mirror seems like a stranger.

People say life starts at 30, but there’s this dread weighing heavy on my heart that seems to think otherwise.
30 feels so final, so definite. The year you’re supposed to officially be an adult. Right?

As I move closer to the big 3-0, I feel increasing pressure to have my life together. There’s this unspoken belief that if you don’t, you’ve failed.
Both yourself and everyone around you. And perhaps they’re right.

I’ve failed to spend time cultivating the skills and knowledge required to achieve the dreams I set for myself when I was a little girl. But, to be fair, I’ve learnt a lot along the way too.

Life’s a mess, no matter how you look at it

I always thought that things could be clearly labelled and defined. You finish college at 21, get married at 25 and have your 2.5 kids before you turn 30. Simple and straight-forward, right?

Maybe in the movies, but not in real life. Nothing sticks to the timeline. Although I finished varsity on time, I was nowhere near ready for marriage by 25. I could barely wake up on time for work, let alone take care of a husband and two little humans.

Seeds are planted in your 20s

Your 20s are not the time for having your life together, they’re about learning. In your 20s, you learn what you love, what you hate and what you wish to cultivate.

The earlier parts of my 20s were spent wresting with whether I wanted to continue studying or drop out and become a freelance writer (that’s how much I believed in my ability).

The later part of my 20s was spent travelling.

I went Greece, Macedonia and Malaysia. I ate foreign food, climbed mountains and visited sacred places. I purposefully forced myself to travel beyond Africa so I could see what was out there.

I learnt to be kind to immigration officials because they can deport you. And I gained a new appreciation for the conventional toilet.

I later taught myself how to build websites and manoeuvre the process of self-hosting. Partly to save money, but mostly to see if I could do it myself. And if this website’s anything to go by, I don’t think I did too bad.

You have a low bullshit tolerance

Growing up, it seemed like lying was compulsory. Not in the sense that you were encouraged to lie, but the fact that being truly honest was frowned upon.

The older I become, the less patient I am. Lying is not only time-consuming, but it also requires a very good memory, something I was not blessed with.

Always remember to live in the moment

Life is delicate, life is short. It sounds cliché, but it’s true.

When was the last time you did something that reminded you to live in the present moment? Do you do it for yourself or for society?

This year, I found myself moving out to live by myself for the first time. As I spent the first night in my flat, I realised I missed some important moments in my past.

I failed to really appreciate the little time I spent in the kitchen with my mom, and I failed by not spending more moments like that with her.
I didn’t get a chance to learn how to make fondant figurines while my sister baked. I missed those moments because I was too busy working towards a future that I wasn’t even sure would ever materialise. I allowed stress to steal moments from me, but not any more.

Today, right now, I’m promising myself this: I will live in the moment. 30s looming or not.