Turning 30: Am I a grown up yet?
So on the 31st July I will turn 30 years old. It’s one of those ‘landmarks’ like New Years eve, graduation ETC that is doomed to be an anti-climax. I don’t expect to wake up on a Thursday morning and suddenly have become Yoda or Mr Myagi, nor do I expect to suddenly have it altogether and be ready for whatever adulthood has to throw at me.
When I was fifteen and at school we had these records of achievement to fill in and mine still haunts me. I had stated that I expected to be an artist and freelance writer by the time I was 25 and would have paid off all my student loans. Now I’ll be honest, when you’re fifteen you don’t really know what or who you’re going to be. Most of that form was dictated by my father, who I assumed knew what he was talking about and mostly for that reason I always worry that I’ve failed in his expectations. That of course is ridiculous, my dad couldn’t be more proud of me even if I’m struggling along, however still that early expectation of myself irks me. I suppose if I met my fifteen year old self now she would probably think a) I got a bit fat b) I get to be a photographer, that is beyond cool and c) why don’t you have a cat?
‘Way back when’ I would not have been able to have predicted the 2008 financial crisis, the digital revolution, the impact of the internet and my lack of self-esteem. It does no good though to grumble about what-might-have-been while wearing Tailspin pyjamas and cradling a cup of lady grey tea as if it was a precious kitten. I can only dedicate a sigh or two towards it every now and then and press forward. It might be that on my facebook feed everyone is flashing their brilliant lives filled with wealth and family and I feel a bit left behind but I know that (without even a trace of irony) everyone has a different story and all the extra pressure I put on myself or that I perceive from others does no good.
So for all my whinging (hey give me a break turning 30 is a big deal) I have things to be proud of and memories to cherish. I have amazing stories and have seen some amazing things. Throughout all the time I was a teacher I always knew that any difference I made to a child’s life, whether it was giving them praise, supporting them or giving a bit extra of my free time to listen to what they had to say, was worth my existence. I may not be a rich woman or still be able to do a handstand press up but what I have given and what I have yet to give is worth more than any bullion.
In my 30 years I have: Got a degree, got a post grad qualification, been a model, been an artist, been a teacher, taught myself gymnastics, guitar, painting, learnt ancient Greek, moved around the UK, been a good Aunt to my niece, nephew and god-children, helped old ladies across the road, volunteered at animal shelters and bought cups of tea for homeless people. Now I am a freelance photographer with friends all over the world, I’m in a wonderful relationship and I can fry eggs with frightening accuracy. What’s not to be thankful for.
What we don’t credit in people, which we should, is how we cope with break ups, losing jobs, depression, illness, relocation, bad hair days, loss and grief. I like to think that if any one of my friends or family, no matter how long it’s been since last we spoke, I will be there to support and cheer them. Unless the Vampire diaries is on. Then you’re on your own guys soz.
So I leave you with my favorite images from that last 30 years and if you feel a bit generous feel free to peruse my Wishlist
My brother and I
My first art exhibition aged 15
Halloween 2008/9 (image by Owain Richards)
A level results day with Beth and Katie
Mum, Brother and me
On the catwalk at London Alternative Fashion week and my photo in the guardian newspaper
My beautiful perfect goddaughter
About to go on a road trip with my band probably in 2006
My friend Jordan and I graduation at Aberystwyth in 2005
Me in Budapest. Wearing pyjamas apparently
Backpacking in Romania (Brasov) with Angie
Left: Headstand in the Gower 2008 Right: Lake Ontario beach 2014
Photo by Dan Pearson 2009
Photo by Michael Wilce 2007
Left: Kingston lock, ontario 2014 Right: My nephew and I at Bellsay hall 2012
My mum and I 2014
Gregg and I Amsterdam 2013
My brother and I 2014
My nephew, myself, my niece 2014
Gregg and I Amsterdam 2013 the second time
Sorry for the poor quality and for some of my fashion/eyeshadow choices.