Tomorrow I turn 29.
Firstly, I have no idea how this happened. I swear to you, it was just yesterday I was drinking champagne at my 21st, celebrating my youth and fabulousness, with my whole exciting life ahead of me. Now, suddenly and seemingly without any warning, I’m staring straight down the barrel of my thirties. MY THIRTIES. Guys, I remember my Mum’s 30th. Mums are 30. Not me.
And let’s face it, my life on paper at 29 isn’t looking that great. If you’d asked 21 year old Claire what she thought her life would be like as she neared 30, she probably wouldn’t have gone for single. Or unemployed. Or prone to blogging on a Monday afternoon in her pyjama pants.
But this is how it is. It’s not perfect, it’s not the dream scenario. But you know what? Things really are OK. So in honour of my 29th birthday, here’s a list of five things I’m really happy about after almost 30 years on the planet.
1. I’m looking good.
No, not just good – the best I’ve ever looked. Sure, I’ve found a couple of sneaky grey hairs, and all the London cake-eating is making my pants a little tight. But after 29 years, I’ve finally found my style. I know what clothes look good on me – I’m not trying to be anyone else. I am more confident in my skin than I’ve ever been before. And you know what? People notice that. I’ve got more compliments about my looks in the last year than I’ve ever had before. And it’s nice.
2. I can cook.
I really, really enjoy cooking. And after almost three decades in the kitchen, I’m getting pretty good at it. I love feeding other people food that I have made. Or myself a whole batch of brownies just because I feel like it. When I’m in the kitchen, I’m really happy.
3. I’m getting better at navigation.
I’ve always been hopeless at finding my way around. On one tragic day, when I was in my early twenties, I couldn’t find my way home from the shops after buying some ingredients for lunch. The combination of extreme hunger and total and utter displacement resulted in some truly pathetic public crying. But these days I’m getting better. Sure, the GPS is helping. But I finally have faith in the fact that I really might know where I’m going.
4. I am unapologetic about my love of musical theatre.
It used to be a guilty secret. When someone asked me who my favourite singer was, I’d defect and ask them who they liked. “Madonna? Oh yeah, me too.” But now, I am past the age of apologising for my camp and questionable taste. If someone wants to get to know me, they will also have to get to know obscure facts about little-known Broadway shows. I am a musical theatre nerd. And I am proud.
5. I am braver than I’ve ever been before.
In the last five years, the number of new foods I’ve tried has gone through the roof. I now eat prawns. And mushrooms. And falafel. Just this week I ate a mussel. And I didn’t die. Two months ago I resigned from my awesome, stable, secure job because I knew I needed a change. And ever braver than that, I got on a plane to a city where I’d never lived before, thousands of kilometres away from the family and friends that I love, and the safe and secure life that I knew. For me, that was pretty bloody brave.
Yes, I’m unemployed. Yes, I’m single. Yes, I’m almost 30.
But I think I’m going to be OK.