I have mostly been trying not to think about how I’m turning 30 this year, but actually it turns out the amount of upheaval I have put myself through lately is often a function of being in a year ending with a 9. People search for meaning, apparently. And that has certainly been true of me.
When I turned 28 things had just fallen apart. This (TW: sexual assault) coincided with the HR process being enacted because of some guy’s behaviour to me. This was worse than the police process, which is saying something – at least the police never pretended they were going to do anything. I was working on this project that was going nowhere and had a terrible manager (even worse: a terrible manager I was trying really hard to like – if you accept how bad they are, you work to mitigate). I was also on a work permit and a long way from my family. I was not doing great emotionally. Mostly I went between crushing despair and checked out disconnect. My birthday dinner was in an obscenely expensive restaurant and at the end of the night my friend took me home in tears.
29 was me cautiously piecing things together. Not being on a work permit anymore. Having a plan, and executing on it. I remember one of my friends said when I went back I wasn’t “going home” I was “consolidating” and it turns out she was right. I felt like I was serving time. But I used that time to rebuild my confidence, build my profile, and eventually… go off and do what I had started thinking about a year previously.
And now – t-h-i-r-t-y. And in some ways I still feel so lost. I can’t decide where to live, for example, which some days really worries me. But I’m starting to see things coming together, feel like I’m achieving things. I gave myself a year of freedom and I feel like I’m on track to demonstrate it was worthwhile. Some days I think I may be able to keep going beyond, but mostly I put those thoughts in a box and focus on getting shit done.
So… happy birthday to me. Thank you to all the amazing people who have encouraged me and pushed me and supported me as I have searched for meaning in a year ending with a 9. I found a lot of it.