On turning 30, milestones and success

My 30th birthday was last Thursday and I doubt it’ll come as a surprise that I had mixed feelings about this milestone. I know how ridiculous that may sound to those who’ve already been here, done that and know it’s not suddenly a big shift from being 29. It’s even less so for me because I didn’t have a “typical” twenties, not least because I got married at 23 and had Talitha two years later.

On turning 30

If anything, this birthday has hugely reminded me that there is no one path we all have to take, no one route that’s ultimately successful. I look around at other friends turning 30 this year or next or recently and we are all in such different places, doing different things.

On turning 30-7

On turning 30-3

I think the main reason I’ve struggled with thirty is that there were things I thought I would have done by now. I thought I would have written a book for example – or something longer form anyway. Now that I’m here, I think it’s ridiculous that I had an unspoken cut off point for that. I know it will still happen. I also know I don’t have the mental space to offer a project like that right now and that that’s OK. I’m doing other things I didn’t expect to be doing and who knows where they’ll lead?

On turning 30-5

On turning 30-6

My 30th was spent walking around National Trust property Stourhead with my little family. I was surprised at how well the kids and I managed getting around. I look at them and am reminded that motherhood has profoundly affected the way I view my life and the way I measure success.

On turning 30-4

So much of parenting involves just getting through the day. Especially when babies are tiny and incredibly vulnerable, you get down to the bare bones of what’s necessary; anything outside of that will just have to wait. As they get older, coping with their changing needs and your own can be, as a mum friend of mine put it, an intense form of therapy. It’s an opportunity to change, to go deeper, to grow. Success is in the little things, it’s not a final destination.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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  • What a lovely way to spend your 30th! I celebrated my 30th with a cheese and wine party, dancing to pop music in my living room (this was pre-motherhood, I add!) xx

  • Happy birthday! I honestly looked forward to turning thirty, and am looking forward to forty too. I’ve always had this feeling that I’m going to improve with age, if that makes sense? I’ve read from a lot of older women that the thing they love about getting older is feeling more confident, and happier with themselves, and I have definitely felt this.

  • I used to think I’d feel awful about turning 30 but I think having kids has made me feel different about growing older, I now see it as yet more time I’ve been allowed with my family (morbid much!) rather than the wrinkles and grey hairs I keep finding! Look how much you’ve done in these 30 years (and the three lives you’ve created! Amazing!) x

  • I didn’t think I’d mind turning thirty until I did… suddenly hit me my twenties were gone – and they weren’t spent how I thought they’d be as a teen – I got married at 21 and became a mum at 22. My thirties have been good so far -though slightly petrifeid that I’m half way through them all ready!!

  • Such a beautifully written post Adele – I felt quite weird when I turned 30 and found it a good time for election. I have faith you will write your book and I look forward to hearing about it when the time is right

    Laura x

  • I’m a bit like you but did it all ten years later, so I reckon you’ve still got plenty of time to write that book (and hopefully I have too). These are the days, enjoy them xx