– Contributed by Wee C
The explanation of the 30 Things project is easily explained under the 30 Things tab (in other words, read that first). What’s not so easily explained is why this project is so darned important to me personally, and how it took me 29 years to come to one simple realization. Here’s what you really need to know.
Turning 30 is a milestone I’ve looked forward to since I was 16. A self-professed adorer of khakis, crisp white blouses, pearls, and snuggling (seriously, I belonged on the cover of a university prospectus – oh wait, I was), I was destined to be good at being 30. Most importantly, with 30 came the ability to stop apologizing. I could stop apologizing for going to bed at 10 pm. For only having one drink at the party. For politely insulting people: “I don’t like that girl’s shoes. Oh, but don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she’s a really nice girl!” For me, at 30, the stars would bring my age and my behaviour in line and I could finally be set free from all the restrictions I had placed on myself, all the rules I refused to break, all the fun I politely declined to have. And I believed that with 30 would come two glorious years to become all that I was meant to be. After all, at 33, it was off to the inevitable destination of motherhood.
So, when my 29th birthday came, you would think that I would have marked the occasion with a new, lined notebook that I would use for the next year to carefully plan out my 30th birthday party and the 730 days that followed. I almost did. But one (rare) visit to the gym and a small window of solitude brought the always dangerous situation of self-reflection. Running on the treadmill, it hit me. Ohmygodimturning30nextyearwhatthehell?! Simmer. So what, you’re turning 30? Celebrate damn it, you’re about to hit your prime – leave behind the silliness, say good-bye to the drunken foolishness that your friends have been subjecting you to (my it’s nice to be high and mighty), become a vice-president and fulfill your glorious destiny. Insert starbursts and sparkles here.
But the feeling was nagging. Something wasn’t right. I was gearing up to leave a decade that, in many ways, I had never been present for to begin with. I had been biding my time, accepting my 20s as a necessary hurdle to get to my 30s – like the climb on a roller coaster, you simply have to wait for the chains to slowly bite onto every cog until you got to the very top and finally, your patience has been rewarded with the thrill of the drop.
Now that I was on the brink of plunging to the bottom, I wanted off the ride. I wanted to get back into the lineup. I wanted to stand on the ground and eat the cotton candy that I had previously passed up because it would probably make my teeth blue. And then it hit me. You can’t get down, you can’t stop the inevitable, you will indeed barf all over the cute guy in front of you. But before you do that, enjoy the feeling of anticipation of being at the top; of looking out at the theme park with a perspective that no one else in the park has. The moment before the drop, that’s the best part of the ride and at 29, I’m sitting there, tettering back and forth between the climb and the fall.
So that day at the gym, with sweaty hair plastered to my forehead, the red face of a bad drunk, and my spandex pants causing me a colossal wedgie, I began my 20s all over again. Good-bye university prospectus, hello Play Girl. Well, Redbook, at least…
And today? Well today, I’ve checked number 20 off my list of 30 Things to do. I’ve written a blog post that the whole world may theoretically see (yes, I do think I’m that interesting). I’ve been talking about doing this since I started the 30 Things project, but it’s taken me this long to get up the nerve. That’s because, frankly, this is plenty scary for me. The idea that you all may think I’m a terrible writer, given that my career revolves around communicating, is frightening. Or that you think I’m self-indulgent and trite…also reasonably unsettling. But much of what my 30 Things represents is letting go of what other people think about me. So, the hell with you…