Well, I made it. I turned 30 and not only does it feel great and as though I have turned a corner. Everything suddenly seems so perfect and as it should be, which makes me smile. I’ve had a great birthday weekend and feel touched by my family and friends who have made it special, from my Nan who gave me a beautiful string of pearls with a poem entitled ‘Grandma’s pearls of wisdom’ to my friends who cooked a special dinner and yesterday’s fun in London a memorable girlie day.
I wrote this post: Things to do before I reach 30 back in March when I was less than comfortable with the notion of leaving my twenties, I tried to categorise myself and in an effort add excitement and adventure to my life; I made a list of things to achieve before my birthday which looking back over now, it seems that some of them were a little ambitious and others a little dull. I can’t say that I have achieved them all, not even half but I think I have some pretty good reasons (or excuses if you want to look at it like that) here goes:
1) Skydive – As the biggest challenge to achieve I made sure that I did it (thought that if I did the biggest it would excuse all other failures!) I completed my skydive on the 20th September and it was the most amazing experience of my life. I wasn’t so much nervous whilst sat at the airfield, but more anxious due to the waiting around. Once I had my suit on (including fetching hat) and had a run through of the training, I was ready to go. I was the first to jump from the plane at 14,000ft (which took 15 mins to reach) When the doors opened and we shuffled to the edge of the plane so that I was dangling out the door, legs tucked under the plane as instructor Dave sat on the edge, I thought to myself how I must be mad and then, we fell and tumbled above the clouds freefalling at 125mph for 45 seconds. It was awesome. It didn’t feel as though we were falling because of the pressure against us but when I looked down to the clouds and ground it was all very real. After the parachute opened, the silence and beauty of the ground below was more breathtaking than the fall. I won’t forget that silence. We did a few spiral turns in the sky before coming into land with a bit of a bump. It was the most fantastic experience and I would do it again and again. I raised over £600 for Zimele UK which was fantastic so thank you to all those that supported and sponsored me, the donations that came from my Twitter friends who which I have never met in person was overwhelming. My skydive can be watched here and I have some photos here
2) Zorbing - The ball never got rolling for this one. Perhaps next summer. 3) IOW Festival - It all got too confusing and expensive. 4) & 5) Ride a horse/get over fear - Horses still aren’t my favourite friends. 6) Watch live Jazz – not yet but this will happen soon. 7) Make a patchwork quilt – I am the proud owner of a beautiful handmade quilt but I have to be honest and sat that my mum did most of it. She got carried away and I let her. I did complete one full line of stitching though.
8) Visit London Dungeons – We did this as part of my birthday weekend and it was so much fun. Loved the characters and little surprises, highlights were sitting in the dark in Sweeny Todd’s chair and the ‘drop’ at the end!! So much fun! 9) Get a pet – Seriously! What was I thinking, I failed to look after my tomatoes this year (my mum told me off for not feeding and watering!) so having a rabbit would not be a good idea. 10) The picture says it all!
11) I am still a Karaoke virgin 12) Visit Kew Gardens – I will get there one day, I went to Exbury Gardens though. 13) Learn to salsa dance – Not exactly but I rocked dance floors with other moves 14) Read Jane Austen’s novels –I will cosy down over the winter in front of my open fire and read them 15) Trace my family tree – I think my aunty is doing this so I thought I wouldn’t interfere. 16) Go to a murder mystery party – A dead end. 17) Eat at a sushi restaurant – I blame my pregnant vegetarian friend for this failure. 18) Go to a Silent Disco - I couldn’t hear it to find it. 19) Buy a corset – I will squish into one when I can afford to 20) Spend a weekend in Liverpool - I had a weekend Brighton!?! 21) Skinny Dipping – Will perhaps leave this until next summer. A bit Bbbrrrrr! Right now. 22) Hold a slow worm! I did indeed – just here 23) Girlie night in London – We didn’t make it to a club on my birthday but we had a lovely dinner and cocktails in Covent Garden. I am sure there will be plenty more opportunities. 24) Learn to play poker – I tried to learn and was promised a lesson but opponent cheated at another card game. 25) Becoming Marketing Director – I had my promotion in July and new business cards in August. 26) Get Zimele UK registered – We are so very close to this and although not within my timescale we will be registered by February next year due to a lot of hard work and commitment by the trustees and volunteers. 27) Sell one of my paintings –I haven’t painted any to sell! I like mine all too much, 28) White Water Rafting – I think this would scare me more than the skydive; perhaps I need to do this somewhere exotic though! 29) Have a holiday – Went to Greece in July, more on my travel blog 30) Make five new friends – Well, this and my skydive challenge have been the most rewarding. Through the wonderful world of Twitter I have met (virtually) some fabulous interesting people, who have made me smile, laugh and who have given support when I have felt down. Some I have met in person and some I hope to meet. I think the power of twitter was shown last week when @diaryofaledger completed a tweetathon. The level of support was amazing and many were left overwhelmed with what was achieved. I still get a little choked up when I read Gray’s blog.
So all in all, I haven’t achieved all that I hoped to, but more importantly I am happy and content and can say I fit quite well into category 4! And I know that there is plenty of good times ahead and I am welcoming my ‘Flirty Thirties’ with open arms and a big Tequila!
Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love the smells, the colours and the way it makes me feel. After the sticky heat of summer and the previous busy 9 months (that seemed to have flown by) the fresh earthy breeze and low summer sun fills me with a sense of contentment. And for the first time in a very long time, I feel content with myself – who I am and what I have.
At the weekend I drove to Oxford and on a blustery day, my journey was adorned with golden leaves, whether falling from the sky like rain or spinning in a whirlwind in a hidden corner of a college wall. As I watched the leaves I felt warmth.There was a great feeling in Oxford with university students moving into new accommodation – some returning for another year, others beginning a new chapter of their lives. You could feel the apprehension and excitement. Sat in sunshine outside a popular pub, I watched parents carrying boxes of belongings – the contents of a bedroom ready to fill a new space of independence. Mothers ‘clucking’ with maps in their hands, and fathers keeping the calm whilst bursting with pride. There were the cool students with eclectic style, those in tweed and flat caps and girls looking like they were fresh from the Joules catalogue. I felt excited for them and envious for the experiences ahead of them. It was good to be there.
Another reason I love autumn is for the pigs. Yes, the pigs. Living so close to the New Forest means that when the pigs are out in the forest eating the acorns so the ponies don’t eat them, I can go on a little piggy hunt (which I do most years!) A weekend ago, I took the girlies on an afternoon trip to the forest in hunt of some pink porkies – which we found just outside Brockenhurst. They were too cute. Heading across the forest we stopped on the Ornamental Drive for an ice cream, sitting in the low sunshine with the smell of firs, enjoying the last of the afternoon sun.
The Girlies and their ice-creams
I am managing to do all the things that I want to do, with pretty much no thought to anyone else and what anyone may think. It feels good. I am happy and content with what I have, what I am doing and where I am going. Suddenly turning 30 in 10 day’s time doesn’t seem so bad and I am left wondering what all my previous fussing was about.