…but time makes you bolder

sparkle 30

All of these lines across my face Tell you the story of who I am So many stories of where I’ve been And how I got to where I am

But these stories don’t mean anything When you’ve got no one to tell them to…

The Story

On the 22nd of February 1894, Frankie Goes to Hollywood was number 1 in the UK charts.  George Orwell’s dystopian future had failed to emerge (but since he was writing about the late 1940s anyway it didn’t matter).  The miners in the UK were preparing to strike against the Conservative Government.   The Sarajevo Winter Olympics had just finished in Yugoslavia, the first Apple Macs were being bought for the equivalent of roughly $5000 in the USA.

My Mum, Dad, Ian and Alex (my brother and sister) lived at 3 The Green, Turweston, Bucks in a 2 bedroom cottage.  And on the 22nd of February 1984 in that cottage, I was born.

Thirty years later, number 1 in the UK charts is Clean Bandit (I have no idea what the song sounds like, I should really look it up).  Big Brother exists, not only as a gameshow in many different countries, but in the form of the NSA and the tabloid press.  We are living in a time of austerity similar, though for many not as extreme as, the post WW2 time that Orwell wrote about.  We flit from one supposed ‘enemy’ as outlined by the government (mostly Conservative) to another.  There are very few miners left.  The Sochi Winter Olympics will run for another few days.  Most people in the western world have some form of Apple product in their homes.

Mum lives in Brackley with her second husband, Dad is scattered beneath a 1000 year old yew tree in Iffley Churchyard.  Ian and Alex each live with their partners and two children in Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire, respectively.  Richard and Thomas exist.  I’m sitting typing in a hostel in Bangkok.  I have no children or partner, which is quite useful else I’d not be able to be writing in a hostel in Bangkok.  It’s the 19th of February 2014 and I will be turning 30 on Saturday.

I’ve had a shitty couple of days to be honest.   I was staying at a perfectly nice, and cheap, hostel on Koh Tao after my diving course.  I met some lovely people there but I didn’t really feel like I could relax there.  I couldn’t extend my stay either and rather than move to a 3rd place to stay, I decided to head back north to Bangkok. The girl at the hostel reception half-heartedly tried to book me a train but was impressively unsuccessful. ‘They are not answering’  ‘Could you try agiain please?’ ‘No.’ ‘Thanks’.

So I stayed for a night in Chumphon, having managed to book myself a train for the following night.  I had dinner with 3 others who were carrying on up that night – Ram, Katie and Rob.  Ram is from New Jersey, of Southern Indian decent and if I include him in my book, would like to be described as ‘ripped and hot’.  So there it is, just in case he doesn’t make the book.  Katie is Canadian and volunteering in an orphanage soon.  Rob is from Manchester, has good taste in coffee and is a photographer.  I feel like I’m Bridget Jones, remembering to introduce people with thoughtful details.

Eventually they each peeled off to head off on their own paths and I settled into my bed, starting ‘The Long War’ by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.   My ear was hurting, I put ear drops in (recommended by a health professional) and set itunes to update. Yesterday was spent writing, reading, pissing about on the internet, organizing my photo folders on the hard drive and trying to kill time before my 23.23 train.

Of course the train was delayed, which pissed me off quite severely, mainly because no-one bothered to tell us. But I got chatting to a lovely Greek lady called Vana (I hope that’s how it’s spelled).  She’s having an adventure of her own and feels a bit lost since the death of her parents – she was their carer for the last few years and so now her world has changed almost completely.  I can understand that it will take a while to work out what she wants to do next.

To cut a long story short-ish (as I’m sure you’d like me to) very late train, woken early to pack up the bed, delays because of Bangkok protests, advised to get off the train (don’t know where I was), train then started moving WITHOUT  ME and didn’t stop.  Walked with some Welsh people for about 45mins with all my stuff only to get an over-priced tuk-tuk here.   So I had a shower, bought an iced coffee, some headphones that wouldn’t give me an ear infection and got a pedicure.  It seemed like the only sensible option.

The lady laughed at my ticklish feet and my inability to pick a colour.  I’ve gone for lime green, felt like channeling Kermit.  She also was very surprised that I’m turning 30.  She thought I was about 25.   This seems to be something that is becoming a recurring theme.  Perhaps that’s because most people backpacking through SE Asia tend to be late teens or early 2os.  Or it’s because my face doesn’t stretch.  So maybe it’s that. (It really doesn’t, you can’t fit one peg on it, I’ve tried.)

I get really annoyed by people getting upset by ageing.   They pretend that they are having another 21st or 25th birthday they refuse to acknowledge the fact that they are getting older.  Sometimes they wish that they were 16 still or 18 or 29.  For some reason people don’t want to tip over that magical edge into being 30. What’s wrong with getting older?  Why not celebrate the fact that you’ve managed to get through another year without messing up so much that you still exist on the planet?  Why not take a minute to look back on what has gone right, what has gone wrong, how you can improve the next year? What’s wrong with being 30?

I wouldn’t want to be 16 again.  It was fun in some ways, but also stressful – GCSEs, the most important things you’ll ever do(!), a boyfriend I didn’t like that much.

18. 18 was alright, more exams, not sure what I wanted to do with myself. Unrequited love. Balls.

21. Second year of university. Flatmate I really disliked. (Not Claire or Becky)

25 Hmm. I was floundering a bit, working a job I didn’t really want to do, started going out with the last disastrous boyfriend.

But of course along all this time there were some great times too – festivals, friends, family, successes, near-misses, party hosting, cooking, learning, qualifying… I wouldn’t want to go back because I’ve done all that and I want to see what’s next.  I want to look forward to the next decade because I can’t avoid it.  And frankly, is it going to be worse than what’s come before?  I’ve lost a parent, grandparents, love, I’ve had health scares, people move away, lost touch with people…. I’ve had lots happen to me, some of my own making, some that I couldn’t avoid, but it’s made me me.

There are all these lists of things to do before you’re 30, as if there is no hope for you once you’ve lived over a third of your life, but I think those are a bit crap.  So I’m making a list of 30 or my own.  15 things that I’ve enjoyed or have achieved or am thankful for and 15 things that I’d like to do at some point (hopefully achievable).

  1. I have some amazing friends and family. I’m not naming you all because I’m lucky enough to have loads all over the place.  But you should know who you are, even if we don’t talk too much.
  2. I’ve been, on the whole, healthy.
  3. I’ve watched monkeys play in the sunset.
  4. I qualified as a teacher, which is cool even if I’m not doing it right now.  It took a lot of sacrifice, energy and tears.
  5. I’m not completely cynical about love, despite the best efforts of some.
  6. I’m starting to like myself a little more.
  7. I don’t feel completely self-conscious in a bikini.
  8. I’ve seen the stars in the Southern hemisphere.
  9. I’m kind to people (most of the time).
  10. I’m quite funny when I want to be. And sometimes when I don’t plan to be.
  11. I’m keeping up with this blog.  Sometimes I don’t really want to.  It can be hard to write what I want to say but there are so many things I’ve given up on because I thought I wasn’t good enough that I wanted to keep this going.
  12. People think of me when they see silly things.  That’s a nice thing to happen.
  13. I’m open to chatting to strangers.
  14. People feel like they can confide in me and I’m normally able to give some form of useful advice.
  15. I had the courage to go to counselling to look at the things that I wasn’t happy with about myself and my life.

1. I want to spend more time with my friends.

2. I want to stop biting my nails.

3. I want to be more open to experiences that scare me.

4. I’d like to fall in love properly with someone who loves me back and isn’t a shit.

5. I want to have my on kids or foster some that need help and love and support.

6. I’d like to get back to regular singing and be in a band again.  This gives some good reasons why.

7. I’d like to record an album, if only for me to have.

8. I’m going to finish writing my book, again, if only for me to have.

9.  I’m going to try and be a bit healthier – let’s not go overboard, I’m never going to be a size 8, but there’s no need to be as heavy as I am.

10. I’m going to try to do things that I’m not entirely comfortable with and not just say no because it scares me.  Apart from bungee jumping and skydiving. Those are not for me.

11. I want to find a work life balance that works for me.

12.  Get a decent sleep pattern.

13. Go to Comic-Con. There, I’ve said it. So what?

14. Hug people more.

15. Learn to dance properly. Not just with the white man funk face, or stepping from side to side with a bit of a bum wiggle type of dance.

I realise I’ve wittered on for ages now, but I want to show you some pictures.  I’ve brought my computer away with me and I’ve set the background to show pictures of fun times I’ve had up until now to remind me, even when having crappy days, that I am capable of having fun.

7 179166_10100506710886358_217369629_n 391532_10100526327389728_1002352020_n DSC00380 DSC03298 DSC04502 DSCN0333 IMG_1833 IMG_5070 IMG_5842 IMG_6361 IMG_8355 IMG_9312 jess birthday n223708455_1610377_9978 n223708455_5744358_4983 n640080407_3843751_8606 n712195536_2264506_7141

…But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I’m getting older too

And I’m getting older too

Oh, take my love, take it down

Climb a mountain and turn around

And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills

Well the landslide will bring it down

And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills

Well the landslide will bring it down

The landslide will bring it down

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