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On Turning 30 & Growing Up

tssbadge1I turned 30 earlier this year and, whether I feel much different or not, it is a milestone that’s made me introspective. Turning 30 means being a real adult, at least in my mind, even though it hasn’t actually heralded any life changes. It would be a lie to say that sometimes I didn’t wish I was still 20 and living with my friends at college. I could never overstate how much I loved school and learning – and how much I miss it. What strikes me most about this particular age is how much I have grown up and changed over the last decade, how much I am not that girl any more. I might not actually feel like an adult most of the time, but occasionally it strikes me that I really am.

I have an example. This week was my company’s whole team meeting, where nearly 170 people get into one room (it’s a cinema, so it’s big enough for everyone) and various senior people in the company tell everyone about company performance, updates, and some of the cool stuff we’re doing. This time round, I was one of those senior people. I had to stand up in front of that many people and tell them what had happened in the world of SEO in the last six months. If you had known me when I was 21, or 24, or probably even 27, I’d never have managed it. Oh, I’d have done it – I have spoken before in front of groups, but never particularly well, and I really hate it. This time, though? This time I knew what I was saying. I was still terrified, but for the first time in my life I had knowledge and confidence to go up there and speak well. I wasn’t sure I was going to, but I did (or at least, that’s what everyone says). And I am so pleased with myself, even though to others this may not seem like a big deal, because I know how far I’ve come to be able to do that. I have been so shy and quiet for so many years of my life, and still am most of the time, that what I am now capable of truly astounds me. I’m the girl who never spoke up in class. I’m the girl who lurks and decides not to say anything, for fear of criticism. I’m the girl who doesn’t know how to start a conversation, who hates parties and networking and socialising unless I know someone to anchor me. I’m a wallflower. I often wonder how I ever found myself in a job, in a *career*, where most of what I do relies on talking to and influencing people. Being good at SEO and being good at managing, influencing and representing a team of SEOs are very different things. While I still definitely have a long way to go at my job, and I am plagued with doubt and uncertainty and frustrations most of the time, I feel like I’m on the way to being better. All I can do is try to be better. Yes, someone else may have done a better job than I’ve been able to. Someone else might have done it differently. But maybe I wasn’t a bad choice for this role. Maybe I can do this. Will my doubts go away? No, of course not. Will I look at other people and think they would have been the best choice? Yes, I still will. But I need to hold on to this feeling when I am overwhelmed, when I’m sure everything is all wrong.

And will I still be nervous getting up in front of all those people in six months’ time, assuming I again get the opportunity? Of course. I might be different on the outside, but inside I’m still so very shy.

So, now that I’ve popped out from the woodwork, what else have I been up to in the last few months?:

  • Gaming. I tend to go through hobby phases, and I’m in a gaming phase at the moment. I’ve been playing a lot of a game called Stardew Valley, where you are a farmer attempting to revive your grandfather’s farm, alongside making friends with villagers, mining, fishing, and a few other tasks. It’ll sound familiar if you’ve ever played any of the Harvest Moon series of games, but it’s grounded more firmly in the real world (as much as a game like this can be). It’s so much fun, I’d highly recommend it. Before that, I played The Witcher and I’m partway through The Witcher 2, in an attempt to get to The Witcher 3.
  • Just yesterday I crocheted for the first time in months to make this little turtle (hobby phases, like I said):

turtle

  • We spent Easter weekend in a gypsy wagon in Cumbria. The weather didn’t work in our favor at all, but we had a lovely log fire, some castles nearby, and I took a lot of pictures of daffodils:IMG_0759 (Copy) IMG_0881 (Copy)
  • And, of course, I’ve still been reading. That’s one thing I never stop doing. I’ve still been enjoying the freedom to re-read that comes with not blogging; I just read The Raven Cycle over again by Maggie Stiefvater and loved all of it so much, now that it’s finished. My other favorite I’ve read so far is Uprooted by Naomi Novik, which was everything I’ve ever wanted in a book. And the surprise of the year for me so far has been Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith / J.K. Rowling – I am not sure why I chose to pick it up, but I did, and I’ve been barely restraining myself from inhaling the next two ever since. I think it’s the way Rowling draws characters. I’m not normally a mystery person, but I loved that one.

That’s it from me for today – happy May, everyone!

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6 comments to TSS: On Turning 30 & Growing Up

  • <3 This post made me very happy for you. And your public speaking story reminded me of doing a whole storytime session by myself a few weeks ago – it was kind of terrifying, but I didn't panic and I did it. I don't know if it's necessarily about reaching my 30s, but I've definitely been feeling happier and more at ease in my own skin these past two years than probably ever before. It's a nice feeling :D

    Mathie has been playing Stardew Valley too and it looks so fun.
    Ana @ things mean a lot´s last post …This post contains spoilers for The Raven King

  • I’m almost twice as old as you are and still don’t always feel like an adult. I’m impressed with your public speaking – it’s difficult for most people, so you should be proud of yourself. Thanks for the update!

  • I COMPLETELY understand what you’re talking about. I am thirty-two and just starting to feel mildly comfortable in my own skin. I’m at a place professionally that I never could have imagined I’d be five years ago, and seen as a leader by not only those who work for me, but my peers and those who I look to for leadership as well. The public speaking thing is still a huge obstacle for me, but I’ve been doing little things here and there – like participating a lot more on calls and speaking events – than I ever thought I would be able to do in the past. I, too, don’t always feel like an adult, but as I get further into my thirties the feeling of not believing in myself gets dimmer and my belief in myself and in my ability to “adult” successfully gets stronger. I’m so happy to hear that the same is happening for you!
    Heather @ Book Addiction´s last post …Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rimes

  • I think that turning 30 turned me even more into the ‘Project Queen’. I feel like I need to learn more and do more and be more organized.
    Kailana´s last post …Week in Review – Week 18

  • When I start to get introspective about getting older, it really does help me to think about how far I’ve come in the years since — well, since whatever! Each year I feel like I learn new things and open my mind up more and get less dumb, and I value that so much more than I value whatever ideal of youth-and-beauty (which I never felt like I was achieving anyway, when I was young!) goes along with being in my twenties. As I’m getting ready to turn thirty, I keep thinking how grateful I am to be this age and not younger, stupider ages when I didn’t know how to handle office politics or speak out about my feminism or sort out travel plans. This version of me is better. Getting older rocks. (So far.)
    Jenny @ Reading the End´s last post …The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater

  • I think one of the most mind-blowing things about becoming an adult is that you realize all adults are really just winging it. In a way, it’s nice. I like to think of life as a path, and all of us are becoming better people as we move through life. I think I am a better person than I was in my 20s, and I hope that I will be a better person in my 40s than I am in my 30s. One of the great things about being an adult is that you DO feel more comfortable in your own skin and are willing to be yourself so much more fully and openly than previously. And I really do love that :-)
    Aarti Nagaraju´s last post …Slumlord Millionaires