I turned thirty in the June of this particularly apocalyptic year. Filled up on wine, I decided to catch a snooze before going on video call with some friends, half-wishing I would wake up in the future. Of course, this idea was a cheap knockoff of the Jennifer Garner rom-com 13 going on 30. Jennifer wakes up from a 13th birthday party (chanting ‘thirty, flirty and thriving’) as a 30-year old woman, only to realise she doesn’t like this future version of herself. Oh well, here goes my chance of telling you other 90s kids what the future holds. Or to course correct my present life because duh, that’s what time travel is for.
Not figuring out time travel isn’t the only thing I haven’t mastered. Turning thirty will not feel any different; you’ll still feel irritable at 7 am and wish you hadn’t watched an entire season the night before. But the universe seems to conspire to not let you forget this fact. “At your age I was the Captain of a ship!” my Dad yells. “How to start looking after your skin in your thirties” a magazine cover reads. “Looking for adventure? Thrilling travel options for singles in their thirties”. And the most striking, “Forbes 30 under 30 list of brightest young entrepreneurs.” Clearly, there are a lot of things I’m yet to accomplish, and being a Forbes entrepreneur is the least of them.
Of course, the nineties were spent being blissfully unaware of the rollercoasters the future would bring. Little did I know that Macarena would cease to be an accepted dance form, or that I’d have to spend my tweens looking for acid-washed jeans that fit. I didn’t know I would have to see the 9/11 in my formative years or face the repercussions of the Recession well into my adulthood; only to be reinforced by a pandemic.
So as I step into an anti-climactic third decade, surrounded by the foggy future, I realise it is time to make up my own rules. A singular wave has dismantled all sense of normalcy, the systems we had put in place and the checklists we ran in our heads each morning. This is a reminder that there is power in destruction, and beauty at the other end of a storm. More importantly, what is really real is what you claim it to be.
If you’ve skimmed till this part and want a TLDR, here are some rules I’ve made up for the new normal:
- I won’t be bound to my own script. Though there is lots more for me to explore and achieve, I’ll let life surprise me. I’ll keep my mind open to the possibilities that come my way.
- I will be informed but not necessarily opinionated. Compassion almost always overrules judgement. Misinformation is dangerous, jumping to a conclusion is worse.
- I will enjoy the joys of a relationship rather than rush to give it a label. This way I can explore how much more a relationship can give me beyond the box I have put them into.
- I will give to another what I wish to experience.
- I will not fall prey to the illusion of Separation. It only takes a phone to a friend to understand how we are all connected on a deep cellular level, sailing the same Noah’s Ark.
- I will (try my best to) pay it no mind. I will breathe and take in this moment. Before it slips out of my hand.
And most importantly, I will just be. In pure 90s spirit, smoking a Phantom sweet cigarette, hopping on to a metaphorical Hogwarts Express.