On the eve of my 31st birthday I caught myself devouring a shawarma wrap with such unthinking and savage dexterity that I actually had to take a pause and reflect on life itself. And in the middle of that pause all the ambivalence I had been nursing about turning 31 dissipated. In its place was a renewed enthusiasm. Suddenly celebrating my last calendar birthday (Apparently it’s a thing.) didn’t seem so frivolous.
I realise that this could be the most meaningful year of my life yet. In the bigger scheme of things 31 has its place. It’s a year-long step into the thirties. 52 more weeks away from the glorious twenties and one more step into the rest of my life.
Starring down at what was left of that shawarma I realised I have so much to be thankful for. I am eating. I am here. Not everyone made it this far. These years are blessings.
My twenties were all over the place. It was a decade of constantly moving between cities, countries and continents. My twenties were all about risky behaviour, confident assertions, and delusions of having it all figured out by 30. It was the decade of were trial and error was my modus operundi.
Not so much with my thirties.
Being just one year in, I can already tell that the thirties will be very different. My thirties are going to be the decade of negotiating my most precious resource, my time. It is going to be the decade of deciding what to ignore and what to peer into. My thirties are going to be about appreciating the deliciousness of slowing down and turning inward. This next decade will be about which parts of me get refined and which get sacrificed among the embers.
The way 30 delightfully whizzed past me, I can tell that my entire thirties could end up as a breathless blur. Like the gap of white space between a before and after photo between the twenties and forties. And this only serves to encourage me to live each day to the fullest and to create memories with the people that matter.
And to think it took me eating a shawarma wrap to finally embrace becoming a thirty something. I know. I am a weirdo, and I am so random, but I actually cool with that. I like the person I am becoming. I like the person I have grown into. Even if it’s not every one’s cup of tea.
Life is crazy and beautiful like that.
It’s become something of a tradition since I started this blog to share some of the lessons I learned during the year. I always try to do this around the time of my birthday. And this year is no different. So …
Here are the 31 things I learned in the last year.
- Becoming a writer was the easy part. Staying a writer, much harder
- Time has a great way of revealing intentions, the truth and character. Trust time. Time always does its work.
- You can’t learn if you aren’t willing to listen.
- You will have bad times , but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.
- The internet is always in a constant state of either making you feel better or worse about your life. Just depends on the day. Also, The Humans Of New York Facebook page just might be my favourite on all the internets.
- Happiness depends on knowing when to be kind to yourself. Purpose, on when to be tough on yourself.
- There is a vast difference between advancement and culture. You can be advanced and modern without losing your culture.
- You don’t get to chase a new dream and keep your old life. When it’s time to dream be brave enough to leave behind the things you must.
- I still don’t understand how one would sip from one’s cup til it runneth over. Regardless Jay Z is still the King of the double entendre and metonym.
- Conversations that unlock a picnic in our minds, a paradise for our souls to meet. Delicate sips of an intoxicating essence. That.
- Understanding that acceptance is a form of understanding is one the greatest of understandings to understand.
- I have been supporting Manchester United for twenty one years now. And until David Moyes happened I had no idea what heartbreak really felt like.
- I love the smell of rain. Only a few things are more soothing than the soft thrum of raindrops falling outside my window.
- The harder we try to escape who truly are, the further we get from lives of meaning.
- The man who knows “how” will always have a job, the man who also knows “why” will always be his boss.
- Sam Smith is a really soulful dude. You actually feel his voice before you hear it. Also, ‘Latch’ (Acoustic version) makes you want to never fall in love, but fall in love at the same time.
- The ability to say NO out of respect for your well-being is a priceless life skill. When you can do it with ease, you avoid so much torment.
- Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty beer glass. (See, it’s a thing.)
- The only thing that keeps me sane is reading and all these attempts at trying to nurture my own intellectual development.
- Most people will hardly understand what you’re trying to do until it’s done.
- Victory introduces you to the world, but defeat introduces the world to you.
- Life is a language we will never be fluent in. But that shouldn’t stop us from learning it even with all the mistakes it may come with.
- In solitude and silence many questions are answered.
- There is eloquence in true enthusiasm that is not to be doubted.
- The difference between success and failure is just a decision to keep trying.
- “Apologies” and “Thank You’s” are the best way to create a conversation on your terms.
- There is no easy way out for big problems; but there is always a way out
- Experience is what you get just after you need it.
- ‘Bae’ is such a beautifully ambiguous word. And even though I have used fleek’ on occasion, I am still not entirely sure if I use it correctly.
- There is no such thing as life that’s better than yours. No. Such. Thing.
- Do you. Always.