1. I’m tired, I’ve been working too much, sleeping too little and drinking too many cocktails. It feels like someone’s taken a vacuum cleaner and sucked out some of my grey cells through my ears. Excuse this post. It might not be super-coherent.
2. A week ago I turned thirty. I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal – I’m just a year older. But turning thirty has actually been a bit of a relief, it’s almost as if I’ve been waiting to leave my twenties behind – I can now be a grown-up without feeling bad about it. I can be old. Responsible. I can become my own version of what I think it means to be an adult. I’m not sure how turning thirty made me realise all of these things, perhaps it’s given me some kind of subconscious license to use what I learned in my twenties. I’ve probably always been a bit middle aged. I like solving crosswords, reading quietly on the sofa, wearing woolly jumpers and drinking tea. Perhaps I’ll now start doing other grown up things like learning how to drive a car in London, gardening and getting super organised when it comes to accounting. Actually, that gardening thing will probably never happen.
3. It’s OK not to be perfect. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to realise it. We’re all human, we all make mistakes and it’s pretty pointless to strive for perfection. Which leads me on to my second point…
4. It takes a long time to become good at something. Building up a new skill takes years. You might not even see much progress during the first months, or even the first few years of working on something new. After a couple of years of writing fiction I’m still a beginner, growing and making mistakes. I used to think that if I didn’t pick up a new skill immediately I clearly wasn’t talented/clever/good enough to keep going. But demanding perfection leaves no room for growth.
5. You have no control over how other people perceive you (unless you’re some kind of clever PR-guru) so stop worrying so much. You can have the best intentions and still be misunderstood. No one can see into your head and vice versa. You have no idea what bagage a person brings with them and they have no clue about all your hang-ups and emotional issues, so you might say one thing and the person you’re talking to might hear something else. It’s really fucking hard to have an honest conversation, which is why it’s worth trying to be honest, to see the other person’s perspective, to sometimes eat some humble pie and at the same time not care so much, because all of this is outside of your control. I’m trying to do this.
6. It’s impossible to control much of anything. Life is random, it’s chaotic, positive thoughts won’t bring you more money, love or stability, but hard work might pay off, not giving up works, challenging yourself is a good thing and so is spending time with people you love.
7. Nothing is more important than family and friends.
8. Making sure you see enough sunlight and blue sky in the winter is a really, really good thing.
9. So is eating excellent cheese (and not just in the winter).
10. If you can’t believe in yourself no one else will. Sometimes you might be able to do this, sometimes you won’t. Every life has ups and downs, so have some understanding and empathy for yourself and for others.
Images via Barbara Baldi.