Thoughts from the end of twenty-nine

I think I’m a bit scared of entering my thirties.

Thinking back to myself at nineteen, staring twenty in the face, and how much I’ve done and how far I’ve come since then… I think I’m scared by the prospect of the next ten years, knowing that I won’t recognise myself at the end of it. No, that’s not quite what I mean, but knowing that by the time I get to forty I will have grown and changed in ways that I cannot imagine from where I am now, at twenty-nine.

I remember myself aged goodness knows how old, say ten, thinking I’d never go to university, because at that point I couldn’t imagine having the intellectual capacity to cope with university. I hadn’t learned that knowledge and wisdom accrue day by day, that by the time you actually get to wherever it is you have all the resources you need to be there.

I grew between ten and twenty, I’ve grown between twenty and thirty. I’ve discovered whole new dimensions in which to grow. The same thing will surely happen between thirty and forty, and it makes sense that it will happen in ways that I can’t see from where I am now, and it makes sense that I would be a little bit scared of that.

This, I think, is why people get so irritated about people who are younger than they are stressing about their next big birthday. There are lots of people who have got to forty who know that their thirties were brilliant and amazing, and they have forgotten that they didn’t know that at the time.

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