Your predecessor haunted me. It followed me for months:
It screamed at me from writing homework – reflections and recollections and every single unanswered everything in my real life or fake life or would-be life or could-be life or should-be life or might-be life; it deafened me to new sounds.
I walked through Scotland’s haze with a ringing in my ears and a coffin in my back pocket.
The drama pronounced itself in both circumstance and surroundings: I lived out my grown-up dream of a creative writing degree in the city just a decade before I’d lived out my growing-up dream.
I pushed my toddler in a pram down the same roads I’d drunkenly stumbled through in the past. I came home in the evening to diapers and literary theory and a husband who’d just a decade before been sweeping me off my feet but now collected the dust of our stagnant relationship.
Panic overtook me in the most privileged guise imaginable; a married white woman, mother to a healthy child, living in a European capital to pursue an arts degree, was having a case of existential malaise over the loss of a number, of a decade, of time.
I freaking loved my 20’s.
But then 30 came, and it went. And with it, the crisis.
Because 31, you taught me more than any other year of my life. I’ve never felt more like ME than any other year of my life.
Yes. I loved the freedom of my 20’s, the laughter, the chaos, and the possibility. But yes, the burden of unfulfilled potential still haunts me. The weight of choice still keeps me up at night. I often wonder how anyone sleeps, knowing the impact of each minute gesture. The power of our choices.
But 31, you’ve taught me those aspects of my personality aren’t a crisis, but the state of my soul, regardless of age.
The state of my soul has never been been more grounded in reality. In clarity. In understanding.
My 20’s were fun, but I lived in world of black and white. Eithers and ors. Nothings or everythings. Certainties.
Turning 30 wobbled me, spun me around on my axis, and landed me in a position where everything is a shade of grey.
And I’m fine with that, now.
I get it.
Life is colorful, but it’s never black or white.
The water of life is murky, and seldom clear, but refreshing nonetheless.
31, you’ve shown me I know who I am. What I’ll never be. And who I’ll always be (for better or worse).
Thank you, 31.