It is with slight apprehension that I must admit that yes, I am now thirty. But I’m not sure exactly where that apprehension comes from?
Is it that round numbers encourage us to reflect on our entire lives up until this point, and make us hyper-aware of the unstoppable march of time?
Is it that while still “in my twenties” I could grasp onto the last vestiges of childhood and adolescence, but at 30 I have to finally admit that I’m truly an adult, even if I don’t feel like one?
Or is it simply that I’m turning 30 amidst: Brexit, an impending Trump presidency, the rise of nationalism and the far-right, Theresa May as prime minister, and the imminent implementation of the Snooper’s Charter?
As a child, a picture of adulthood developed in my head. That picture was of someone going to work in a big office in a suit and smart shoes, of someone who had all their shit together, of someone serious who was interested in serious things like the stock market and mortgages. Based on this picture, I’ve barely made it a day past adolescence - and over the last few years I’ve chided myself for that again and again.
It’s only in the last year, or maybe even the last few days, that I’ve realised how wrong that picture is.
Growing up isn’t about overcoming and getting rid of a childlike wonder of the world. It’s not about dressing seriously, and only caring about grown up things. It’s not about jobs, or money, or houses, or ticking off some list of checkboxes that we decide marks “adulthood”.
Growing up is about finding, and nurturing, and giving confidence to the scared, emotional and vulnerable child that is at the center of our emotions. It’s challenging how we feel about ourselves, and how we deal with our emotions. It’s about owning our confidence, our happiness, our anger, our pain, our love - and not relying on someone else to do that for us - so that we can then be a positive and caring influence on the other people in our lives who need us.
If anything, learning this, and slowly beginning to live it, has only increased my child-like wonder. You can be a fascinated, goofy, and wonder-ful person, at the same time as being “grown up”. These are not mutually exclusive states of being.
Ignoring 2016-at-large, and a couple of sad events, 29 has been pretty good. In reverse order…
Moving on from &yet
I sit here on my birthday, imminently unemployed: as I have only a couple of weeks left at &yet, and as yet, have no new job lined up to walk in to.
This is a bittersweet situation to be in. &yet and the team there have been an absolute dream to work for over the last 3 years, but being quite so remote is hard, and I feel like it’s time for a new challenge for me. I’ll forever be grateful for what &yet has taught me about what it means to truly care for your teammates, and put people above all else. Not to mention the space that &yet has given me to grow as a developer and a person. In my time at &yet I’ve grown from someone fighting depression and anxiety, with a real lack of confidence in my abilities; to being much stronger, centered, and confident in myself.
I’ve of course, had a great time with the love of my life this year. But on top of that, it’s been an privilege to see her continue to grow and excel in her work. The icing on the cake was watching her present at Canvas Conference in Birmingham, and totally own a huge stage in front of a big and receptive crowd.
Touch Rugby has been a total blast this year. I’m glad to say my creaking knees made it through a whole season without major upset.
As someone who’d never really played team sport until joining a touch rugby team, I’ve been totally surprised how much I’ve enjoyed it - not to mention you get like 30 free friends on day 1!
It was also a real privilege to play for Edinburgh at the national championships. And to get to try out for the Scotland squad for 2017.