No age has held ever much significance for me. Not twenty one or twenty five.
Not since I was ten, when my Dad took me to buy a book of my choice – something about dinosaurs – have I held any age to be more special than any other age.
So it seems all the more unusual to even dedicate some writing to turning thirty.
On contemplation, it is not so much the passage of thirty years that bears significance though it may be slightly noteworthy (seeing as I’ve not been thirty before. I have been twenty nine before, so that holds no allure for me now!). What seems so inexplicably significant to me is what I feel those thirty years have included in terms of my successes and failures. Simply defined as things I’m proud of and things I’m not!.
My successes and failures are self evident (seeing as I’m writing this for myself – they are evident to me!). But for completeness I shall list what I think major examples of each are.
Successes (not in any particular order):
- Making it through high school with no special effort – although it got a little hairy in the last year!
- Struggling to work, be married and study for my professional qualifications (degree etc).
- Learning to fly aeroplanes.
- Being a Muslim, a Buddhist and born again Christian all within 8 months.
- Having Brianna (baby girl number one).
- Having Erin (baby girl number two).
- Opening my eyes to the injustice of the world and realising we are all humans, equal and of one consciousness AND refusing to shut them!.
- Being a dad – its the best thing that has ever happened to me (its focused my mind and soul and reminded me to feel) and simultaneously the worst thing (it makes me eternally vulnerable!).
- Tending my ill Dad for 2 months – insignificant at the time, but now he’s not here, I realise how priceless that time was.
- Realising that we are all given this one life – so I resolve to live it to the maximum whilst not hurting anyone (intentionally) and enhancing humanity in my time here.
- Appreciating that there are far worse things in the world than the minor inconveniences that I endure, cushioned in the security of modern Britain!!
- Being mean to my Dad as a precocious 16 year old and not righting my ways before he died. (ok , even in an unordered list, this is #1)
- Failing to be the picture perfect father in a traditional family structure. Well this is technically a failure – but an unavoidable one. I could not stay married because the love, respect and commitment was pretty much extinguished.
- Not getting a PhD before 30. This bugged me for a long time – but not anymore – I resolved that I was living life and doing equally meaningful things instead of pursuing this.
Now I’m thirty there is no trepidation, no fear of anything . I feel neither confronted by my own mortality nor mournful of my youth. I feel alive and purged of the mistakes of the past. So many things that I was incapable of doing – mentally, emotionally and physically – seem possible now. The aspects of my personality that have seemed distinctly confusing now seem more distinct (though no less confusing) , identifiable and thus controllable.
Being able to face one’s fears and challenges unencumbered and with courage seemed to have eluded me until now.
At thirty, I finally feel adequately equipped to face anything. As if the framework for facing any challenge is finally complete or at the very least, as good as it can be. But within this framework are the seeds for future enhancement – humility and respect for everyone else (with a few notable exceptions – hey, I’m working on them!).
Of all the challenges that I can guess at, the most significant are listed below:
- Losing my Mum – there’s life in the old bird yet – but she has less of the future than she has of the past.
- Watching my children grow into young people and having less of an impact on their reasoning.
- Having the courage to let my children go when they are ready – and knowing when they are ready!
- Changing careers and delivering my dream of arming myself to fight injustice and inhumanity.
- Discovering love.
- Becoming even less stressed, calmer and more open to the wisdom within others and myself – that is my quiet counsel.
All in all, I am happy. The happiest I have been in all my adult life. The air smells fresher and the future seems brighter (perhaps divorce will do that to you!). The realisation that no one has the answers to the lingering questions of love , life and death is such a liberating state. It goes along with the feeling of rebirth – that I can do what I feel I need to do (within the boundaries of my morality) and the world is there for the exploring.
Without trying to sound morbid (heavens forbid!) , if Death were to come now, my regret would be limited to regretting the future pleasure of seeing my children be all I know they will.
PS. We do not have all the time in the world. There are only so many hours in the day, and even less of them are productive.