Thirty year olds have always fascinated me.
I remember how I used to eyeball them at functions as a teen while stuck in the kitchen with my cousins or friends doing chores or catering to guests. The women were a sight with their perfectly manicured nails and subtle perfume…not a hair out of place. Their air of poise and confidence was breezy yet definite. I was afraid to refer to them by name.
By the time I reached my twenties, I was a Thirty Year Old in training however none of the aesthetic things mattered as much anymore. This could have also been because I knew two or three of them personally (via friends, my family circle is tiny) and so the whole hero syndrome effect had calmed down sufficiently enough for me to take my gazing further. The thing that jumped out at me first was their uncanny knowledge of self. These women could tell you what they liked and what they did not like in a jiffy and they were not ashamed. The magical way they could decide between the two was further proof that these were enchanted beings I was amongst and I revered every second. My best friend asking me to come over to the townhouse she shared with her 30 plus sister was similar to attending lectures at UJ except that wine and not bottled water was the favoured accompaniment. The way I would even forget that I had come to visit my best friend? Terrible.
Last week, while watching reruns of The Talk, Sharon Osbourne spoke briefly about how she had thought herself strange as a thirty year old because she was the proverbial mess whilst her friends were very together. This hit a nerve. I’ve found myself cowering at home not wanting to go out and mingle because I feel like a sheep in Thirty Year Old clothing. Nothing about me says put together, I feel. My afro is at that difficult not-long-enough phase. The clothes in my wardrobe are a combination of too young verses snooty librarian. I have a personal style in my head however it’s not manifesting itself outwardly. A pity really because it looks so damn good in my head. So far it had been such a disappointment, my turning thirty. I was finding myself resenting the anticipation I’d had for this prodigious birthday. Until something peculiar started happening recently…
I got really tired of being expected to be perfect.
I got really tired of expectations period. It started to really grate at me the compassion I saw the people around me gave themselves but could not afford me. I’m sensitive by nature and avoid confrontation because sticks, stones and words all harm me. But people, I have noticed, are generally quick to forgive themselves of their inabilities with regards to you but will rage like the river Nile should you do the exact same thing to them. The barometer that measures their shortcomings is less forgiving when it comes to the next person. I call this, The Bullshit. And since figuring it out, my insides have relaxed a bit because I feel I may be on to something. Those Thirty Year Olds I revered so much with their good looks and straight forward talk had put one and one together, just like I am doing right now. I’m also seeing that it had to start from the inside for me. Just like the authenticity journey I went through years ago. I do believe that this is the continuation of that and that my friend means progress!
Sharon Osbourne continued on to say that she finally managed to get it together at age thirty-five. I’m four years away from that in three months’ time. Perfect time to translate the transition I’m going through on the inside into the woman I want to look like on the outside, whoever she is.
I can’t wait to meet her!