I turn 30 tomorrow, the 19 year old me would have been sick to the stomach even at the prospect of this, but here I sit wasting the valuable remaining minutes of my 20's putting pen to paper (or fingers to glass as it is here in the future) collecting my thoughts. I am so happy with what I have seen, done, achieved and dealt with in the ten years since I was that kid that I can quite contently waltz over this checkpoint with a smile on my face.
Am I going to wake up tomorrow as a new man with new rules enforced on myself to conform to the social expectations of a mature citizen? Just last week I found myself drunk on a Wednesday afternoon at crazy golf with my trousers around my ankles questioning how crazy the place actually was. Just the other month I found myself playing a "jumpers for goalposts" game of football in a park in Australia with a bunch of people I had met that week. And just last Christmas I found myself in the Indian Ocean swimming towards a double rainbow... Will I grow out of this? No, I don't think I'm going to change a thing. I strongly believe you have to encourage and control the child in your own heart the way you would encourage your own child. Don't ever neglect its need for social stimulation, suppress its creativity or stifle its desire for fun just because on the outside it looks like a 30 year old man.
Although it's my birthday on Friday I had some celebrations in the street I grew up in on Monday while I was back up home, I was expecting a few drinks with my best friend Leigh and a scattering of people that could make it, but my friend (although credit goes to Kelly, his missus) went ahead and threw me an actual party. As I looked around the house, full of people I'd accumulated along my journey, people I can remember being born and people who are in my earliest memories whom I know no time before, I realized this isn't just my party (celebration/gathering)... It was my "Party" (Company/Squadron) my select group of the human population that would die for me like I'd die for them. I see each of them on a regular basis, but to have almost all of them in the same place at the same time is an overwhelming experience. Seeing all the people who have shared your highest highs and lowest falls, who have supported you through grief and supported you through your ambitions, the people you trust and rely on, the people who have forged who you are today, seeing them all turn out, just for you, is nothing short of an honour.
There’s a great quote: "You're only old when you have replaced your dreams with regrets." That quote is my mantra. You can maintain your youthful optimism and subsequently your happiness by keeping positivity in both directions of the chronological spectrum. I look back with great satisfaction at my past, the foundation of my present, here I stand on the edge of my 20's as a land lord and a tenant, self employed in a career I adore that takes me to places I could never have dreamt of taking myself, a career that is a melting pot of the most fascinating, intriguing, charismatic and funniest people on the face of the planet whom I get to share this adventure with. I look back at this achievement with pride rather than crediting it to luck, because although I am aware of the good fortune I've had along the way, I didn't get to the position I'm in by sitting at home with my fingers crossed. I have reached this milestone age accompanied by my party of people who would walk into hell with me, I've had the grief of loosing the most pivotal member of this party, my Granddad Pete, who has equipped me with the tools I needed to go on without his unconditional love and adoration as the safety net that made me feel so invincible before he passed away. And I look back fondly and gratefully at the memory of this man. I have also met a girl, Natalie, who I hold in such high regard that being in an exclusive relationship with her is an even more rewarding prospect than being a single man in show business. She doesn't make me happy, I was already happy when I met her, but she does make me the happiest I've ever been. She's far too pretty, intelligent, funny and kind for a someone of my looks, charm and financial situation, I'm not even going to question it, because she seems to worship the ground I walk on and while this girl has my back I feel capable of achieving anything. I have a handsome nephew and four adorable God-children who I’d give my life to protect, and I will drop anything to be there for when they need me in their precious lives; the same goes for every other child born into my party. With this behind me as the story so far I‘m dying to turn 30 and to see what the future holds.
I am terrified by the prospect of turning 40 however, but I’m looking forward to seeing what 39-year-old Kai has to say about that.