I sit and write to you aged 29 and facing 30 head on whether I like it or not. When you are growing up you seem to have so many milestones which naturally lie ahead of you, turning into double numbers, then a teenager, and then being able to legally have sex, get married, to drive, to drink, to be classed as an adult. So much changes around you just because your birthday comes and goes and you get another year older. All the while it’s great that you are becoming more independent and world wisely, how could getting older not be a good thing.
At 16 I left school, got my first full time job and got engaged, it was all just so brilliant, I bought my first house at 19, got a well-paid job I really wanted and was married at 21. Getting older had been nothing but kind to me, I was in control of my life, was living as an adult and was content with where I thought my life was going.
I thought that getting older was something that was measured by what you achieve, so is there any wonder I was happy and never actually gave getting older a second thought. Then everything changed for me. As I write this I feel that this is when getting older was something I was going to dread. I was 24 when I got divorced, it was my decision, I’d been in a relationship eight years since I was at school and, needless to say, the woman I had become was a far cry from the girl I once was. Hey I was only 24, had my whole life ahead of me, I figured it was a good time to start over before children made an appearance and I only had myself to look after.
After a few months of adjusting to being single, living alone for the first time, paying bills independently and living it up with my friends, I then came to realize that all those years and achievements I thought my life might be measured by had been wiped away, deleted and suddenly replaced with the feeling of failure. I was no longer married, I was divorced, living alone and struggling to pay my mortgage. The only thing I had going for me was my job, which I did appreciate, well sometimes.
Talking to friends one day about meeting someone new I came up with a checklist of things I was looking for in a potential boyfriend. Now the list itself isn’t important, just know that I am a little fussy, however one thing I was adamant about was that I didn’t want to date a guy over 30. OK, at the time I was only 24 so this seems reasonable, right? Wrong, I couldn’t have been clearer with my friends that 30 was just too old, I didn’t want to date someone who had got to 30 and not settled down, thinking surely there was something wrong with them, I know, narrow minded and naïve but that was how I felt.
I got in relationship which went on to last nearly four years, these years were again full of achievements, a measure of how life was going well, nice holidays, getting a dog, getting a new job, moving into a new house. Then it ended, this time not by my choice. Once again feeling like all my achievements had been deleted from record, apart from my job again at least. Except this time I was 28 and heartbroken.
Getting older was suddenly the last thing I wanted to do. It was nearly ten years since I’d left home but all I wanted to do was go back and have my Mum take care of me. This wasn’t even an option as I worked away and needed to be near my job, after all it is the one constant that has remained, aside from family and friends.
So now, here I am trying to let go of the stigma I myself have attached to 30 and how life is measured by the achievements we make. I am not pining for things I don’t have nor am I wishing things I did have were different. The only measure I want in my life is that I am alive and living, anything else will come and go as time goes on. I don’t believe things happen because of the age you are just because of who we are.
I am truly hoping that by the time I reach my 30th birthday I won’t feel old even though I think it’s old. I am getting there; after all at least I’m only going to be 30 and not 40!
Born and raised in England, Rachel is perhaps the clumsiest person you will ever meet. Love a laugh and try not to take anything too seriously although has the bad habit of being ‘the sensible one’ which saves her from too many embarrassing photos or memories if nothing else. She never says “I love you” unless she means it and anything she does say she means. Check out her blog: http://racheve.wordpress.com.