I woke up on the first morning of my 30s to the sound of the waves crashing against the beautiful shores of Arugam Bay. We were staying there to celebrate my birthday, halfway through three weeks travelling around the south of Sri Lanka.
Rewind 9 years ago to the day and I was waking up a 21-year-old as the sun rose over Kho Phangan following the Full Moon Party, with no recollection of having gone to sleep. My two friends were to the side of me with the party still going on behind us. It was definitely a birthday to remember.. what I can remember of it. So, I thought this milestone needed to be marked in a similar way – perhaps with a few less sangsom buckets.
I was, however, a little more apprehensive about turning 30 than I was 21. I know, I know – age is just a number.
But there is something about the number 30…
If you are older than me you are probably rolling your eyes, I’d do the same. If you are younger, you probably think you won’t care, I thought the same.
Funny though, isn’t it? We spend so much of our youth wishing time away, yearning to be older. We idolise adulthood and the freedom that comes with it. But what we craved so badly isn’t quite how we had imagined it would be when we were looking at it through rose-tinted glasses. Before we know it our carefree days are behind us and we are suddenly in a decade that comes with expectations.
I think this was the main issue I had with turning 30 – time. You become more aware of it as you get older and how precious it is, unfortunately this happens at the exact same time as it appears to speed up. It often feels like I am hurtling down a near-vertical slide, my fingers frantically grabbing for the sides to – if not stop – at least slow myself down. I don’t know when it will end or what will be waiting for me at the bottom but it is going fast – too fast. The speed, no matter how much you are enjoying the journey, makes you question whether you are making the most of your time – creating a life you will look back on and smile? Or, when you reach the end, will you have regrets – regrets that you could be avoiding right now?
As for my 30th birthday, I knew I wouldn’t – and I didn’t – wake up feeling any different. Three months in and there still aren’t any wrinkles or grey hairs, just yet.
I spent my 30th in paradise. My boyfriend by my side and sand between my toes as we sipped on a King Coconut and looked out on the Indian Ocean – how could I not feel happy and content as I started a new decade.
If moments like that teach me anything, it is to savour the moments instead of wishing any more years away.