We haven’t really ‘done’ presents for each other in the last five years. But this year, I was keen to maximise my window of opportunity – big birthday, stable finances, an older baby who can feasibly go without me for a few nights, and no new babies on the horizon for now.
I wanted a trip away with Sam (our third no-kids break. Like, ever. Not even since the kids arrived). I don’t like wasting time on subtle hints with no guarantee that they will be heard. I was spelling things out BIG TIME. How else is Sam meant to know I’m game for being away from my breastfed toddler? Or that I’m turning thirty?
I was angling for a night or two in a nice hotel. Instead I got a five night stay in New York, travelling business class (a tick off the bucket list for this always-economy flyer).
I will blog about New York separately. I should have done it by now but my thousands of photos were temporarily delayed by a Photoshop meltdown. But, in summary, I got to travel somewhere new, and spend time just being me and Sam (two things I do feel I’ve missed out on a bit in my twenties – this has appeased those cravings a LOT). And perhaps best of all, a blissful FIVE nights of sleep on my own terms.
Cheesy pic alert:
Phase two of the birthday celebrations involved food, lots of food. A Sunday pub lunch with my family, and continuing all the way on into February, a big meal with 20 of my friends. Sam did an amazing job as event planner. There were google spreadsheets and everything. Unfortunately, his thanks was getting to leave mid-way through the meal to tend to a puking Rory who had come down with Arlo’s tummy bug with predictably inconvenient timing.
Even more inconvenient was me going to bed after a great night out, only to wake up with the same bug five hours later. I’m still not talking about those cocktails.
Even MORE inconvenient was Sam getting it the next day and missing his driving test. Yes, this thing took down our entire house, and made sure we’ll NEVER forget how my 30th birthday ended. Well done, germs.
Five years ago, when I turned twenty five, I clearly remember feeling like I was on the cusp of something. I was craving a big change. I loved certain aspects of my life – I’d just moved in with three of my good friends, things were good with Sam and I, I was having a lot of fun. I had it really good and looking back it definitely feels like I took a lot of that for granted.
Turning twenty five, I distinctly felt that I needed to make the most of those years, that time could easily slip away without me having DONE anything much in particular. I was ready for a big change, and something had to give. I figured that it would be work. That I’d save up and do some more travelling before I missed the chance and it became REALLY important to focus on a career.
A few weeks later, I got a big change indeed. I found out I was pregnant with Arlo. And my life suddenly set out on a trajectory that I hadn’t factored for at all.
It is SO WEIRD to think that that was five years ago now. I am still exactly the same person as I was at 25, but it’s like I’ve added a whole new dimension to my life now. I’m sure this is the same for every new mum regardless of the situation, but I feel like that time has largely been spent assessing my new status as a parent with my pre-baby life, trying to balance the two, with varying degrees of success and contentment.
I think becoming a mum is one of the hugest moments in life, because you can so distinctly separate the ‘before’ and ‘after’. The change happens in an instant, and with that will inevitably come an adjustment period.
Turning thirty is another milestone birthday, so I was kind of anticipating that I might feel similar emotions about wanting to make changes or assess my life as it currently stands. But it’s felt completely different. I didn’t have any panic about reaching thirty.
The fact that I’m now the same age as some of the first mum friends I made when Arlo was a newborn has been weirdly affirming. My life is still very different to that of my friends, and I still haven’t found myself suddenly identifying with a whole new group of mum friends (But who does? It’s such a general factor to have in common). But these things don’t make me feel as uneasy as they once might have. Because I’m generally happy with life now. I’m happy with me.
The last five years has sort of felt like a weird internal struggle to work out where I had gone, because so much had changed so quickly, and it didn’t really feel like I was fully in control of any of it.
I’m happy with turning thirty. It’s been a weird sort of contentment.