With my thirtieth birthday creeping ever closer I’ve been taking stock of my life so far, looking back over the years from the little girl I used to be to the woman I am today. It’s been an eventful journey with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns. I have been thinking about mistakes I’ve made, goals I’ve achieved, opportunities I’ve missed and adventures I’ve shared. I’ve created some amazing memories and learnt some valuable lessons, but the thing that stands out most, that I need to take with me into the next decade, is this: don’t wait.
There have been times in my life when I’ve grabbed chances by the horns and made seemingly rash decisions that often lead to great things. There have been other times when I’ve hoped and longed for something to be just right before I go for it. There have been yet more times when I’ve laid out all the possibilities available to me, but I haven’t chosen one, because to walk down one path means to leave the others untrodden. Rather than let go of the possibilities, I didn’t take any of them. I waited.
Looking back, I am proud of the crazy choices I made. They led me places I wouldn’t have got to otherwise. I found my wonderful partner by making a string of what others would call crazy decisions. I lived abroad because of a spur of the moment decision. Obviously, not all of my choices have worked out well. I’ve been divorced twice, I bought a house that turned out to be a complete disaster, and I tried moving to France without a hope of it working out well. I’m still glad I tried these things though. They were learning experiences that taught me all sorts of unexpected lessons.
What I regret most are not the bad decisions I made, or the ones with disastrous outcomes. I regret the choices I didn’t make, the opportunities I didn’t grab and the chances I let pass by. I regret standing at the crossroads and not choosing one of the paths for fear of losing the other possibilities, or because I couldn’t see which one would lead me to the best destination. I didn’t go back to school because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my future. I could have taken any course that interested me and decided further down the line, but instead I waited. I didn’t throw myself a birthday party because I couldn’t think of the perfect way to celebrate, so I waited for next time. I didn’t start a diary because I missed the first few days, so I waited until next year.
My twenties was a roller coaster ride of fantastic highs and terrible lows interspersed with a lot of waiting. I hope my thirties will be more like a road trip, always moving, always going somewhere, seeing as many sights as possible, but having the option to turn around and go a different way at any time. No more waiting for the ride to start, I’m taking control. I’m sitting in the drivers seat and it’s going to be a grand adventure.