As a child, I pretty much thought life stopped after the age of eighteen and people continuously had a midlife crisis until they died. While the thought of turning 30 never once entered any part of my child-like mind, I looked at those who considered themselves to be young adults at the age of 17 to be the next generation of ball busters and somewhere in the mix, I wondered if someone had figured their shit out and knew what they were going to do with their life to the moment they died.
I also happened to think I would be like that wise person, who had everything put down into a rough timeline and knew what they were destined to do. Turns out, I was completely and utterly wrong.
At the age of 17, I thought feminism was a thing of the present and future, the boys who attended my high school were a bunch of idiots to the point it made me never want to date ever and the thought of not getting a high enough QCAT score on my year 12 exams would mean I’d be stuck in a hellhole for the rest of my breathing days. This fear brought on several bouts of anxiety and panic attacks, late night nightmares and a vast collection of travel pamphlets being stashed away in my closet. As I farewelled my teenage years and entered the fandom of being twenty-something, I thought I’d have life figured out during the first blimp of being 30-something.
I am still waiting for that shining moment to occur….
However, I’ve come to realise something important within the past few months about turning 30 and saying goodbye to my 20’s and the memories I had. Life still very much continues and the only person who can ultimately stop this process is myself. More so, the past year has been something of a rather unique situation and I never truly did think I would find myself experiencing it. Between planning my son’s first birthday, dreaming of a bigger and slightly better house with endless storage (a girl can only dream!) and dealing with the endless fear of covid-19 entering my work place and home…. I’m well and truly ready to say “goodbye to being 30!”
To mark this momentous occasion, I thought I’d sit down at my little spot in the dining room and put fingertips to keyboard and write about my final thoughts of being 30: the good, the bad and the sleep deprivation.
Going to ignore the reality of realism for a few seconds, I’ve been joking around with Mr. Darcy for the past couple of weeks about what it feels like to be 31, coming to the conclusion I was a teenager what feels like several million years ago and how we pictured our lives. While most conversations end up with both of us in hysterics and Mr. Darcy telling me that life doesn’t end at the age of 31 (something of which I believe because he’s still alive….); I can honestly say life has been really good to me, thus far.
The 12 chapters of being fabulous 30 have been a rather splendid and interesting time for myself, both personally and professionally.
Professionally speaking, I gathered the courage to speak to a Senior Management official within my organisation of employment and discussed how I wished to become a lawyer for the company, once I graduated from university. While this was one of the biggest steps I had taken to hopefully succeeding a job position for the future and professing how I’ve been raised to be appreciative of any job; I was informed this particular person would take note and keep an eye on me. Something of which, has inspired trust and confidence within myself as an employee and thus, I was given a little upgrade within the pay department for having stuck around in my job for over a year while being promoted to Senior Registered Nurse. Something I must admit, never did think was ever going to happen as I always often assumed that to be a Senior Registered Nurse, you would’ve have to go back to university to get your Masters or Honours in something clinical related and have a job within the health sector.
Personally, I’ve had a few people in the past ask me how it feels to have turned 30 and most times than not, I answer by saying that I feel great and life is good. This overall feeling stems from having a much clearer and defined mind as it hasn’t been filled with an abundance of anxiety, depression and dreading being surrounded by negative influences and toxic people. Instead, I am continuously surrounded by some pretty darn amazing people, who share likeminded thoughts, mannerisms and are interested in being themselves and not someone else. My belief on family time and being surrounded by loved ones has become something more important to me this year than what it has been, in the past. Whether it’s to do with Covid-19, working long hours at work and having little downtime during my lunch break to facetime my family for a quick update or having family members live with us for a majority of the year; who knows.
But I do know it’s helped with filling my cup of love, wealth and prosperity to the point of it becoming overflowing and has helped with my overall mood. I discovered I was expecting Baby No. 2 one afternoon as Mr. Darcy and my Dad were hanging around outside as Lois and Kaffy were anxiously waiting outside the bathroom door. While I was equal parts shocked because I still cannot believe I can have children (even though I have a near 2 year old son as evidence to suggest I can!) and sheer amazement because I was pregnant; I really learnt to let go, not sweat the small stuff and really enjoy what life has brought us. This philosophy of mine and many other impacting statements have helped with lifting and elevating myself as a woman, mother and family member. Also, having someone to talk to outside of my immediate family has been something of an importance to me.
After nearly 10 months of having regular chats, there has been a massive change within my mental and psychological frame of mind. I am more interested in having true friendships rather than momentary and fleeting ones, being financially secure on my own as well as in my marriage, actually relaxing when Mr. Darcy offers to pay dinner or the groceries rather than having to justify why I should be the one to pay (FYI new couples: it’s a 50/50 partnership. Not a dictatorship!) and establishing monetary boundaries so I’m able to distinguish what my financial goals are for the next 5 or 10 years. I still need to work on reminding myself on a daily basis that I am incredibly fortunate to be alive, healthy and it’s 100% okay to feel truly comfortable within your own skin and how I should be loyal and honest with myself and the world. But then, I’ve still got another 9 years to work on this.
With every milestone being celebrated, there are always a few hiccups experienced or felt along the way and it can feel as if with age and wisdom, the higher the stakes can get. Although I don’t wish to linger on a majority of negatives that happened; a few do require a mention as I believe they not only helped change and shift, but also strengthen and evolve me as a person. But also, my knowledge on survival and ultimately, being a support person.
This time last year, the rug to my almost-perfect life was once again ripped out from underneath my feet and I found myself balancing on the precipice of a nasty downward spiralling mountain. It was an overwhelming feeling experienced by all of my family members as we tried to come to realisation a life without our rock and in my case, co-conspirator to retribution and a firm believer in Scarlett O’Chunky and Eliza Darcy. The past 12 months have been spent watching and supporting Lois as she underwent a lumpectomy, mastectomy leading the removal of her left breast and her diagnosis of Stage 3C Breast Cancer to the wall of her chest, endless chemotherapy and radiation sessions that left her bedridden, exhausted beyond all imaginable levels of humanity and asking if it was worth continuing. As I wrap up this little section, Lois has this far beaten her original statistic of surviving 10-15%, has been informed by the doctor that her last MRI looked ‘promising’ and I learnt how to cope with negative news as a family member and not as a Registered Nurse, for once.
Speaking of medicine and being a Registered Nurse, 2020 was the year of publicly recognising and acknowledging the hard work and the unpaid hours of overtime experienced by Nurses and Midwives around the world. Except two words happen: Covid-facking-19. What a shed-storm the past year has been and while I would really love to claim to have spent this time on the couch, trying to decide which of my tie-dyed sweat lounge sets I wanted to wear and how to style my already messy bun… it’s been the exact opposite. There’s been plenty of times where I’ve had to discuss with family members why they aren’t allowed to visit their loved ones, how I do possess the answer as to when Lockdown 3.47 is going to end and trying to find ways as to how we can speak to our residents about the outside world without scaring them.
I thought raising a toddler who was approaching the terrible two’s stage of life was difficult but this is an entirely a different difficulty experienced. This pandemic has not only had a significant impact upon all of us around the world as people have succumbed to death or the end of their battle, the unknown long-term health complications coming to light and the thought of wiping our butts with 2 pieces of toilet paper due to a national shortage. What hasn’t been focused or being splashed across our television sets or news is the long-term effects this pandemic and disease has had upon all healthcare workers. In those harrowing times of someone passing away, we have stood in for those who cannot be there and actively been a family member within the final breathes of someone’s life, we are experiencing acute and chronic signs of psychological, physical and emotional burnout and yet, we still continue to put all others before our own needs and wants. We have been experiencing the itchy and discomforting feeling of having to gown, glove and mask up just so we can enter someone’s room for a few seconds before having to repeat the same process. But only this time, de-gowning and scrubbing our hands clean. We and in particular, myself, have discovered as a medical collective how truly resilient we are as professionals. But also, as people. The one thing I truly learnt as a result of the past 12 months is: without Nurses and Midwives, the medical field would come to a grinding holt and we are the backbone to medicine.
Hoo-rah for Nurses and Midwives!
The Sleep Deprivation
Ah, yes. Sleep deprivation. I remember my first experience like it was yesterday. It was my final semester of studying at University and up until that pivotal moment, I had been relatively living under the assumption of 6 hours of sleep being perfect for the average human body. That momentary blimp of delusion lasted approximately several seconds when reality came racing into the forefront of my brain and I found myself staring at 40 hours of clinical practice, 4 two-thousand word essays, 2 two-and-a half long exams and a portfolio detailing all of my clinical experience over 3 years was due within a month of me finishing and hopefully, graduating, university. Somehow I survived clinical placement on an unmentionable amount of hours not spent sleeping and spending what amount of little sleep I did get, either dreaming of being hunched over a keyboard typing and editing essays or over an operating table, trying to remember the specific names of medical instruments and wondering if theatre and it’s bitchiness was for me. Once I graduated and established some functional sleep pattern, I may have entirely forgotten about what sleep deprivation felt like until recently. Let’s just say, because I do not wish to scare those fortunate souls who haven’t had children yet and are contemplating having them, I live to regret the moment my son’s body decided it was time to start growing in his 2 year old molars! The past 8 months have been…….. interesting. No amount of under-eye brightening cream, serum, gel or some amazingly applied concealer and foundation routine are going to hide these non-designer bags under my tired eyes. I’m just praying when it comes to updating/writing my thoughts on what it feels like to be 31 (if I do write it), those 2 year-old bad boys are in residence and I’ve had some sort of self-discovery on how to sleep with a near 3 year-old going on threeanger (is this really a thing, for those who have 3 year olds?) and a near 1 year-old who will not doubt, be experiencing the same ol’ damn routine of teething.
All I can say to my future self is: Good luck. God Speed and let’s pray your Google history isn’t filled with: ‘Is it normal to cry yourself to sleep during a leap?’, ‘how much vodka do I need for an apple martini?’ and, ‘how do I get a Kardashian butt – without surgical enhancements?’. I’m already contemplating having a cry but I guess time will only tell and with that, see you on the other side of being 30.