Life after 30

5 Nov

It’s my birthday. I’m 31. Shhhhhhhhhhh!

As my mother nicely put it yesterday “The only time you’ll see 30 again is on a door.” Isn’t she a pain in the bum lovely?

It’s funny how when you’re younger (i.e. twenty-something) your dreams of the future seem to go as far as 30. Then stop. Rather abruptly. Because you’ll be living your dream life by the time you’re 31, obviously.

So, the last time I formulated a life plan I was 23. I had just finished an MA in Anglo-Irish literature and was heading off to Japan to teach English. And my plan looked like this: I would teach in Japan for one year. Just one . Then I would go to a different country. Undecided. Then another and another and another, until I hit thirty (that magical number). Then  I would go back to Ireland and start my PhD. After which I would be snapped up for a Professorship. And live happily ever after. Husbands and children didn’t feature. Children because I had endometriosis (I say had, because I’m ‘cured’!?) and was told I had a 5% chance of conceiving naturally when I was 20, with chances likely to decrease as I got older. So no kids. And no husband, because of Catholic indoctrination, which got deeper into my psyche than I am ever really likely to admit – what’s the point of getting married if you’re not going to have children, I thought.

You’ve got to love a plan!

Then I hit 24, settled nicely in Japan. Getting my head, slowly, slowly around the language. And the thought of upping sticks to somewhere else? It gave me the shivers. When formulating my “plan” I had forgotten what it was like to be practically deaf, dumb and blind in a country where you couldn’t read, write, speak or understand the language. I wouldn’t mind but I had experienced that feeling before when I lived in Korea. But I had forgotten. The way you forget the unpleasant bits of pregnancy and childbirth. But when I was in the middle of it? I couldn’t face it again. All that effort. Ugh! No.

Laziness dictated that I stay in Japan for four and a half years. Where I met the hubby. By the time I left I had no more notion of doing a PhD than the man in the moon. I think I wanted to do one because I couldn’t figure out what else to do. I blatantly ignored the fact that I hate speaking in public. That it makes me want to puke. Surely I would get over that, if I put in all of the effort of doing a PhD. I would be more mature than that when I was older! Hahahaha.

I left Japan with the following “plan” – I would take a year off, to figure out what to do with myself, and see where me and the hubby were going. After that, I would find a career. Hahaha. I secretly harboured notions of going to live in India for a year on a volunteer program I had researched. Despite the fact that I hate hot weather and am allergic to the sun. That would all be fine. And living in rural India? A dream.

What is it they say? “Life happens while men plan”? Something like that anyway. And that’s what happened to me. My year off was coming to an end. I was panicking a bit about what I was going to do with my life. I was 29. Surely people knew what they were going to “do” with their lives by then? I was no more wiser than I was when I was 17 and filling out the university application thing. Panic. Panic. Panic. I was home again with my parents. My other half was on a different continent. Money running out fast. No prospect of a job. Panic. Panic. Panic.

Then I found out I was pregnant. And oddly, the panic subsided. I knew what I was going to “do”. I was going to have a baby.

The past two years have been hard. I won’t deny that. Especially trying to get my visa to come over here. Then having to organise a wedding. And move house a week later. With the turtle’s first birthday in the middle of all the madness. But I’m where I should be now.

There are no more”plans”. I don’t need them anymore. I’m doing something I love. And I wouldn’t change a thing. I have wobbles and bad days like everyone else. But I still wouldn’t change a thing.


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