Notes from the Backpack #7 – The Relief of Becoming 30

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Welcome to Notes from the Backpack. This is the weekly post from Luxury Backpack where I offer a slice of a british writer and travel bloggers life in the Florida Keys… my current luxury backpacking adventures, what I’ve been reading, and of course a few anecdotes from my life in the Florida Keys!

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my 7th edition of Notes from the Backpack. I have been so busy the past few weeks with my parents being over in the Keys visiting me. We had a whistle-stop tour of South Florida, from meeting manatees in Homosassa, to spotting gators in the Everglades, to drinking way too much rum in Key West! Read all about our itinerary in the last post here.

What I’ve Been Reading This Week

This week I read a beautiful novel which gave me serious wanderlust. From Antarctica, to France, to Scotland, this novel is about the lives of two comet enthusiasts, which takes you back in time to those who previously watched them before years earlier. It is really beautifully written, and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a slightly different, imaginative read.

What I’ve Loved Online This Week

This Week’s Story – The Relief Of Turning 30

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I have a secret. I just had a BIG birthday, and it starts with a 3.

I’ve been through all the emotions. But now, I can finally hold my hands up and say it: “I’m happy to be thirty.”

From the moment you hit twenty-seven you start to feel your thirties looming. Like all great milestones there is a series of emotions. First: Panic. I felt the panic from the day of my twenty-seventh birthday.

From the superficial panic of: “I’m nearly over my prime!”

To the life assessing: “What am I even doing with my life?”

To the morbid: “I’ve already lived a third of my life!”

And then to the sad realisation: “I look like a thirty year old woman.”

But that fades once 28 arrives, and brings with it the warm rush of feelings: “I’m alive! I’m in my twenties! I’m still in the prime of my life!” You live for the day, write your bucket list, and drink like you’re twenty-one again.

After a year of that I calmed down. I hit twenty-nine.

Twenty-nine pretty much is part of your thirties. Except for its kind of like a practice year; a younger model. To all the other thirty-somethings you are “so young!” “You’ve got your whole life ahead of you!” and to be honest it feels pretty good.

But then your birthday comes.

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You might as well just forget everything else that has gone before. Because it feels like nothing else.

You feel slightly sad. (Then slightly excited...because it’s your birthday after all).

Then after a few shots of tequila, the guilt of being too old for that kind of behaviour, and then a couple more once the false tequila bravado has washed over you, it finally arrives. Acceptance.

Because, thirty is great! And what a great big relief.

Finally you are who you are. Your twenties were for messing around, trying things, practicing. And now you are a fully-formed thing. An individual.

There are no rules for people in their thirties.

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In your twenties there are so many goals, so many milestones. Gap years, drunken escapades, books to read, South East Asia to travel, first this, first that, first everything. You get away with a lot of stuff because you’re young. But you also get away with less because of the stereotype.

Now, anything goes. You can be starting out in your career, or you can be ahead of it. You could have laid your foundations, but you can also still be building them. No one judges you either way. You don’t need to feel bad about life decisions, or in denial. You can own them.

Kind of like the way I used to reject the afternoon on my days off, when I was still drinking coffee in my pyjamas, reading a book at 5pm. Now I don’t care. I like mornings. My morning can last all damn day if I want.

Your twenties are for experimenting. Your thirties are for learning.

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It’s not a scramble to try everything anymore. You narrow down what you like and what you don’t like, and what you choose to enter your life. You now learn from everything, sipping it, savouring, rather than downing it in one great gulp.

Women get pigeon-holed in their twenties. You can’t be smart and pretty, you can’t listen to pop music and have a view on politics, you can’t travel the world for experience and land a corporate job when you return.

But hitting 30 you don’t care anymore, and no one fucking cares anymore. Those walls other people put up in your twenties fall away as if by magic. The same magic that goes into those wrinkle-reducing face-creams you’ve been panic buying in your late twenties that now you realise you don’t even need – you’re thirty, not eighty. 

You can stop worrying so much about what everyone else thinks. You can breathe a sigh of relief.

So how do I feel about my thirties? Bring them on!

See you next week.

Emily x

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