Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Growing Up

Ma & Pa getting hitched in NYC, 1975. How cool is that hat?!

I've been thinking a lot about getting older recently.

Being at my mum's house a few weekends ago and seeing some old photos of her and my dad has got me thinking a lot about my roots. Mum was excited at having found old photos, mainly because we lost so many precious ones to the swirling, destructive winds of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. She showed me photos of my parents at my age. At my age, my mother had already done two huge life moves, from London to Trinidad and then to Miami. I wondered at her bravery, and at her ability to adapt.

As I get older, and hurtle towards my 30th birthday in August, I'm finding that I feel rather reflective. I start to notice my face changing - the smile lines are just a little bit more pronounced around my eyes, and I can see my skin is changing. New freckles I hadn't noticed before begin to appear. But I'm trying not to indulge in too much gazing in the mirror, and it doesn't consume as much of my time as it did in my early 20s, that's for sure. A cursory once-over is enough in the mornings, mostly to make sure I haven't got toothpaste all over my chin. No, the days of high-preening are probably behind me now.

I challenge anyone to spot any wrinkles from here...

I have started to notice a common theme amongst friends and colleagues who are all approaching this pivotal age - they are all planning to change their lives somehow, whether it's new house, new job, new partner, new baby, or new business. 30, unlike 18 or 21, or even 25, is the beginning of real adulthood, it feels like. We all have some urgency to our plans now. For some of my female friends, this is even more true, especially where relationships are concerned. Two out of four of my closest female friends are now married and thinking very closely about having children. The other two are well into their 30s and seem much less panicked about making babies. They know it will come. They've gotten over the hump, as it were.

For me, it's only when I have time to sit down and think that I start to make some headway towards deciding what the heck it is that I want. Most of the time, working a full-time job in London feels like playing continual catch-up: with your friends, with your work, with your life admin, with your laundry, with sleeping. It's only by being away from the melée that I start to commit myself to the next thing I want to do. And on holiday a couple of weeks ago, I decided. We decided. We're going to start a small business and rent rooms to weary city-travellers, and put our combined skills of being good hosts (or so we are told), creative marketers and being people-people to use. We need to do bags more research of course, not to mention finalise the city in question, as well as create a business plan, and save up lots of our hard-earned money, but the wheels are in motion - we plan to leave London in March 2013.

It's basically beans on toast from here on in for a while, but I feel so very empowered. A new sense of freedom and the scent of adventure in the distance has completely motivated me. Learning a new language will be part of it, but the ability to work together towards a common goal, in a new place, for our own profit (or possibly loss, in the first few months, I'm not going to shy away from being realistic here) is driving me forward towards the biggest and most frightening, exhilarating step towards adulthood that I have ever taken.

I think that's a good place to be, aged 29 years, 10 months, and 5 days.