Against all reason, logic and expectation, in exactly one months time, I am about to complete my 3rd decade on this planet.

Somehow, these landmark birthdays keep coming up.

THIRTY.  And it suddenly dawned on me yesterday – whilst in Clintons trying to choose Dad a 60th birthday card (we’re milestone birthday buddies, a month apart) – that in 10 years I will be 40.  FORTY.  30 is still, kinda, young adult age.  40 is f-ing middle-aged.

Thirty though, I don’t mind that much.  I am fully aware that it is just a number and that 30 is probably the new 25.  Maybe even the new 21.  And yet, I just have a simple question:

How did I get to be so old?

I remember my tenth birthday (I think) and I understand perfectly how I got to be 10.  10 is that awkward age where you’re really getting a little bit too old to have a traditional kiddies birthday party, but not yet old enough – or cool enough – to go off into some parent-free world with your mates.  If I remember correctly, I think I had a sleep-over with my mates Mi*, Me** and L***.  It wasn’t very cool.  We spent the evening making friendship bracelets out of wool, using video tape boxes to clamp on the ends, while Mum watched Corrie and peeled pears from our tree for us to eat.

For my 18th birthday…  I have zero clue what I did.  I need Adele here, who has a freakish memory for everything we did around that age.  I guess we went to the hottest club in town.  The appallingly named, ‘Embryo’.  Land of sticky floors and under-age drinkers.  I probably wore either a long denim skirt I rather liked, or black trousers with a sparkly scarf tied around my waist.  What was I thinking?

For my 21st birthday, I went to Nottingham with friends.  Again, I have astonishingly little idea what we did.  I vaguely remember a restaurant, a chocolatey cocktail, a big birthday badge, and more cocktails in a bar down a back alley that looked like a cave.  I can probably blame the alcohol that year.

My point is, I had no issue with turning 10, or 18, or 21.  The progression from friendship bracelets and video boxes, to cocktails in caves is understandable.  I understand how I got to be all of those ages, by the sheer progression of time.  And other birthdays since then have rumbled past quite merrily.  23, 26, 29.  All fine.  I even spent 29 sweating and cursing through the streets of London in the middle of the night on a charity walk for Cancer Research.  Terribly noble, but something that would have made 21 year old, cave-dwelling-cocktail-swigging, me do the puzzled face.

And so now the business of turning 30 is right around the corner.  I am further horrifying 21 year old me by decreeing to my friends that we will not pass the occasion in riotous cocktail caves, but instead having tea at a country hotel, and going to an ice-cream bar and a museum.  Because, all of a sudden, that’s a LOT more fun when you’re 30.

Looking back on younger me, I don’t really feel the slightest bit different than I did at 21.  I’m not really any fatter, or greyer.  Perhaps marginally more sensible and a lot more likely to give zero fucks about stupid people and their stupid doings.  Oh, and there’s a few random body quirks that weren’t here back then.  There’s the weird grinding sensation in my right knee.  The arch of my left foot pretty much hates most shoes, and my airways are increasingly not into the breathing thing sometimes.

But hey, I feel like the same person as back then.  Which I am, really.

To be honest, I don’t care that much.

Come next month, all greetings, loves, gifts and large cheques will be received most graciously.


*Mi had a baby.  She teaches drama somewhere sort of near me.

**Me got married.  I heard on the grapevine.  We lost touch age 11-12-ish.

***L embraced lesbianism and friend-cut me for no reason that I have even fathomed.  I saw her once, 2 years ago, and although she tried to greet me in a vaguely friendly way, I actually think she’d rather have poked herself in the eye with a stick.