When I was a child I planned out my life so exactly, that by the age of 10 I knew precisely what I would be doing for the next 20 years.
“Attend an Arts High School ✓, move to the UK ✓, get into a top Theatre School ✓, travel the world ✓, meet the love of my life ✓, get married, buy a house or a flat in London, have kids, run a theatre company ✓ and lead a beautiful, bohemian existence.”
Those were my rough plans.
I wrote letters to my future self at what I deemed were key ages in my life, a sort of check point to ensure I was meeting all of my self imposed life benchmarks. For awhile, these reminders kicking me in the arse as I went along were kind of awesome.
That is, until everything totally derailed.
People often talk about having the rug pulled out from under them, for me, it was more like having the rug catch on fire while I was still standing on it.
I had come so far in achieving everything I set out to do, that I didn’t quite know how to cope or deal with deviating from my predestined path, carefully plotted and so deeply ingrained in my mind since childhood.
By age 30, I had expected to have everything figured out, that somehow reaching this magic number would result in my life just effortlessly clicking into place for my happily ever after.
The years leading up to my 30th were really hard. I decided to move back to Canada from the UK, trying to get over what I thought had been the love of my life, and reestablish myself in a country I hadn’t lived in for over 10 years.
I felt like an absolute failure coming home, leaving behind a broken home, my friends, our theatre company and all the wonder that is London. New friends at the Record Store I was working at in Toronto, were aghast as to why I would ever leave London, England to come back to Canada. Though not ill meant, this furthered my home sickness for my adopted city, and made me question what was wrong with me for not having been able to “cut it” in the UK after my relationship blew up.
Several months before my 30th Birthday I was seriously considering moving back to the UK. Going through my things I found a pack of letters from my childhood self. Re-reading them, (though full of love), the letters were a pressure – a pressure to live up to dreams that were no longer mine.
I didn’t quite know what I wanted, but I knew in that moment it wasn’t what my childhood self had planned.
More often than not, the person most critical and hardest on yourself is you.
If you let go of the need to conform to ideas of what you “should” be doing, adventures more wondrous than you ever imagined begin to present themselves.
I decided to stay in Canada and to make a proper go of it. When I hit 30 I didn’t have all the answers, my “Raison d’être” wasn’t suddenly clear, and I didn’t ride off into the sunset happily ever after.
What I did do was have a shit ton of Martini’s surrounded by an array of wonderful friends both new and old.
Last week I officially hit my mid 30’s. All my preconceptions as to what life should be like by this age have been thrown out the window, and I’m much happier for it. Dreams change, people change, and that’s ok, you’re not letting yourself down.
We live in a world where we’re hellbent on having ticked off a shopping list of achievements by a certain age or else. But life doesn’t end at 30, it ends when it ends.
So stop stressing and ease up on yourself ‘wunderkind‘ . I’ve learned it makes things a helluva lot more fun!
We’ll make up our story as we go along
There’s so little time
For us to try to rhyme
And so many highways to travel upon
And yeah, I totally just quoted the Monkees.