Being 29 vs Turning 30
I think it's customary that blogger's share what turning 30 means to them, and while I don't identify primarily as a blogger - and my posting habits don't align with the title either, I do think it would be selfish to carry my thoughts and learnings into the next decade for myself.
I turned 29 last year and I spent the whole year chasing 30. I was so focused on being prepared for 30, to step into my thirties - that I ignored what 29 had to offer. In all fairness, I didn't feel that this year had much to offer, but hindsight, retrospect and introspect (a deadly self-reflective trio might I add), forced me to see how 29 was really a year of 'restructuring'. Things I had spent years building were being torn down. There was ruble, there was debris, there was mess, there were ruins and my gosh did it all hurt. I was forced to restructure so much.
Dealing with hurt wasn't something I was used to because well, I'd just never done it. However, being unemployed and unable to create forced me to face my hurt. I'll admit, I did try escapism - I literally ran away to Nigeria for 7 weeks and very shortly after I was in Manchester for circa 4 weeks, and in those times I refused to acknowledge that I'd been hurt. But the pain piled up. You can ignore pain, but pain won't ignore you. It most definitely did not ignore me.
The thing about a wound is if it's left untreated - it only gets worse. Putting a plaster on it might hide it from the naked eye, but the wound is real. The pain is there and you're only forcing yourself through. I'd been HURT this year. In a way that I didn't think would ever happen to me. Initially, I chose to ignore it, but things only got worse. I went from being hurt to developing social anxiety, to repression, to poor communication (not that I was any great at that ANYWAY!) but it all came tumbling down. I was flopping so bad and in all honesty, I had no inclination to do any better, because, what was the point?
It was just a domino effect of relationships sinking. I'm not sure what the cause and effect is here because although some relationship failures weren't directly related, I do think my response to one might've affected another. However, I can't tell if I was just off from the get go or not. There's always a behavioural shift in how we respond to things and as a result (without proper relationship management) you can transfer your pain, aggression and annoyance to the next relationship. For me, the problem wasn't just people, it was the way I related with them. So I chose to stop relating with them. I 'didn't know who was for me and who was against me'- I told myself.
Do we choose our emotions?
I remember expressing how I felt to one person and being told 'not to feel like that. Do we choose our emotions? I sat there thinking maybe my emotional response was wrong. I was deep in my own head about my own feelings, I definitely ignored other peoples. I still am. However, as my relationships failed, I began to put in work in them. Intentionally building on the strong foundations that already existed, and the way these key relationships have blossomed has been great. Let me tell you something, this friendship thing? IT IS HARDWORK!!! You can't just give up on a friendship you value. You can't be passive. You can't checkout when you want. It doesn't work like that. And being a strong follower of the gospel of Love, preached by Jesus - it's not on brand. Thankfully i've been afforded grace. My friendships made room for error and correction.
Although, not everyone has been as accommodating. Hurt people hurt people. I'd definitely (unintentionally) hurt people along the way, and for people who have dealt with hurt more so often - they are very decisive on how they respond to it. This leaves little or no room for error on your part because your response to a hurt that they have no knowledge of/business with appears as a revelation of character, when in fact you don't even know what you're doing. Or aren't paying attention to what you're doing. In those instances, I've accepted my fate. I will always be the villain in someone's story - intent or not.
It might sound like I'm absolving myself of accountability, but I know I'm not perfect. Heck, I'm so far from perfect and if anything 2020 and 2021 have shown me the depth of my imperfections. They have rocked me to the core, shattered my pre-existing notions of self and forced me to rebuild myself. The thing is, imperfections can have their beauty, this is true, but sometimes they aren't functional. In response to this, a restructure means even the beauty too must be torn apart for us to see the whole space and design anew.
Everything that hurt me, built me, and as I'm turning 30, I'm so focused on being me and writing my own story. We're only characters in other people's story, and we cannot dictate how they write us. No matter how pure our intentions are, if they've experienced anything outside their definition of good, you can easily be the villain in their narrative. I remember thinking I had to change what people saw/heard/felt. I had to correct things.
I remember crying to God one day in pain. I was so sure I had a pure heart. I was so sure I was good. Then God asked me a set of questions
Who do you do this for?
Yes you are good, but are you godly?
Wasn't my son perfect, yet was he still not persecuted?
Why does the love of the world concern you more than my love for you?
It was with these questions, bible study, prayer I understood what God was telling me. I'll say this thing one more time. I'm not perfect.
You are only born once. Your birthday is just the anniversary of your birth.
Birthdays have ALWAYS been my thing. I don't think I've not celebrated since I was 9, and while this is about to be my biggest celebration yet - I also feel like it's an actual BIRTH DAY. I know, I know, you are only born once and your birthday is just the anniversary of your birth. However restructuring presents the old as something new - and I can't help but feel that I'm a NEW person. I've changed in ways that even I would not have expected myself to at this point last year.
Being 29 and turning 30 are two completely different things, that if focus is laid heavily on one, the other is completely missed. I'm so glad I remembered to be 29, right in the nick of time. I've mended relationships, I've built character and I'm ready to enter the 4th decade of my existence. I refuse to take in any societal expectations, any external pressures and anything that anyone else expects of me at 30. I just want this new me to go into this new age, and I will treat her the best I possibly can.
I hope that anyone who reads this that struggled with 29 finds peace, in knowing it wasn't just them. Anyone who is 29 and struggling understands that it's okay and it DOES get better, and anyone who is yet to get here remembers to be their age.
Happy 30th Birthday to me.
Here's to a new era!