The Big 30: a brain dump and the beginnings of a list

So I turned 30. 

Growing up and watching other people turn 30 it always seems to be met with dread.  I was rather indifferent to the whole affair until quite recently.  It was a bit late in the day to start thinking about a 30 before 30 list so instead I’ve opted for something a little more long term.

30 things, big and small, I’d like to accomplish in the next 30 years.

Sounds a bit ridiculous really when I think about it.  Is 30 things enough to motivate someone through 30 years of their life?  That’s one achievement a year, seems doable?  I’m not sure I can limit myself to that though, there’s a lot of stuff I want to do.

30 years feels simultaneously like FOREVER and a teeny drop in the bucket.  So much can happen in 30 years.  For example I’ve gone from a squalling infant to a woman grown with a husband, 2 children, a house in the country, a degree and a career.  That’s a fair amount of stuff to have done! In some ways I feel like this is the beginning.  

I’ve spent so long waiting for the next step, graduate, get married, get a house, have kids.  I’m starting my 30’s with a blank canvas, there are none of the standard big life moments ahead. That’s immensely liberating!  My 30’s will be just that, mine! 

It’s nice to think about the future though, it’s nice to plan, to have a vague idea of the path you think (hope?) your life will take. 

It’s nice to be able to reflect back at the end of it too, think about the person you were then and who you are now.  How did you get there?  What twists and turns did your life take?

It’s important to reflect regularly, revisit these lists and go for the “quick wins” (bullshit bingo anyone?) if motivation is running low.  It’ll also give me something to write about when inspiration is running similarly low.

G and I always said we’d go to a local restaurant for dinner one day.  It’s not a posh restaurant by any means but it was something we wanted to do.  We waited too long, it’s now under new management with a different name.  It made me think twice about postponing something you could be doing now and the reasons you’re postponing it.  We were just lazy in this instance I guess.

It’s weird to think about what the world will be like in 30 years.  The technology we have now will likely be redundant, replaced by goodness only knows what.  Who’d have imagined back in the day that popping a video in the player would be replaced by touching a screen?! 

Mindblowing.

I could be a granny in 30 years…

Ooft.

And so, in no particular order, and because I couldn’t stick to just 30, a bunch things to help me guide the next 30 years of my life… and beyond:

  1. Learn to bake
  2. Install my dream kitchen &  bathroom
  3. Address the dungeon* situation
  4. Have a successful marriage
  5. Be able to buy nice things without wondering if I’d be better getting the cheaper alternative from IKEA / Primark
  6. Sell a painting I’ve done
  7. Master photography and organise our ever growing collection of photographs
  8. Have a job which makes people say “wow” instead of looking at me blankly
  9. Take 1 family portrait every year (hopefully twice, once in summer and again in winter)
  10. Catalogue how the garden changes over time
  11. Paint the “Wendy house”
  12. Teach my kids to ride their bikes / swim
  13. Read Roald Dahl box set with the kids
  14. Replace cheap horrid clothes with quality, timeless pieces
  15. Become a proper part of our local community
  16. Support my kids through uni
  17. Go to San Diego Comicon.  Ideally in costume.  Ideally before my children will be mortified by the sheer notion.
  18. Have more kids
  19. Install some really funky house modifications.  Hideaway beds, stairway drawers, you know the type.
  20. Learn an instrument
  21. Turn a hobby into a source of income
  22. Start some new family traditions
  23. Create a new photo album, every year, on my birthday
  24. Visit New York, Sydney, Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Disney Land, Canada, The Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Kathmandu, Great Wall of China, Santa in Lapland, see the Great Migration in the Serengeti, Antarctica to see the Penguins
  25. Spend New Year in a different country every year (not different from any other year, just different from the previous one)
  26. Paint a portrait
  27. Build a treehouse in the garden for the kids
  28. Keep improving my photography
  29. Grow veg in the garden
  30. Own the car I want not the car I can afford
  31. Inspire my daughters
  32. Be more confident and secure in myself
  33. Make tablet as good as Granny
  34. Challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone
  35. Learn to sew
  36. Meet Felicia Day and/or Neil Patrick Harris. Kit Harrington would be a bonus (and, as my lovely niece informed me, at 27 he’s *not* too young for me). 

A lot of these items are big, and vague, and hard to quantify.  I wonder if my idea of having a successful career will be the same at 60 as it is now.

Do any of you have an overarching life list?  Big goals?  Themes?  I’d love to know.  Mostly so I can pinch some of your ideas and pass them off as my own.  I’m greedy like that.

*it’s not really a dungeon but it’s an easier way of describing something which is part cellar, part basement, part house of horrors and happens to be part of our house.  Currently there’s just a door in the hallway that never gets opened.  I want a utility room dammit!!

Yes, they’re twins. No, they’re not identical. Yes, they can be hard work. But not always.

An open letter to the lovely, inquisitive, people who stop me to talk about the Peas EVERYWHERE WE GO.  You are lovely for taking an interest and I do love that so many people want to chat but please stop for a minute and think before you inadvertently offend ANOTHER parent of multiples.

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Yes, they’re twins.

Please stop telling me they’re hard work.  Or that I have my hands full.  Or that they’re double trouble.  I don’t care if your postman, sister or boss has twins or even you have twins yourself.  If you have twins yourself it’s an even more stupid thing to say because you know how bloody annoying it is to hear.

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No, they’re not a boy and a girl, they’re dressed head to toe in pink and they’re in a pink buggy.  You do the maths.

Please stop saying it’s a shame we didn’t get one of each.  You’re talking about my daughters here.  Living, breathing, cheeky monsters who I wouldn’t change for the world.  It’s thoughtless and careless and causes more hurt than you realise.

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Yes, twins run in my family… not that it’s any of your business.

Please stop asking if they were natural.  They are natural, see above point regarding the living & breathing little monkeys sitting in front of you.  Who cares how they got here, they’re here and they’re brilliant.  If they’d been born a year apart you wouldn’t be asking that question…

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I manage to do it because I have to.  As much as I love the compliment, I’m not Supermum.  ALL mum’s are super.  And dad’s for that matter.

Twins are exhausting, elating, damn hard work and absolute joy all rolled into one.  The good times get you through the rough times, the same as they do for every family.  Each family has it different, each family has its challenges and the things they find easier than others.  And I’m not just talking about twin families, I’m talking about ALL families.

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Yes, sometimes I get overwhelmed by needing to be all things at all times and sometimes I get it a bit wrong.

Please don’t stare at me with your judging eyes as I try to appease a screaming toddler in my arms while trying to push the other in the buggy and get to the checkout only to realise I’ve forgotten my debit card once it’s all been rung up.

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Yes, sometimes the smallest act of kindness from a stranger can turn my day around.

Please do offer to give me a hand when you see me fighting to keep a door open while I wrestle my double buggy through.  Or distract them in the queue while I’m paying and they’re getting restless.  Or politely remove the item that they’re trying to steal from their sticky little fingers.  Or just smile and let me know that society hasn’t turned its back on me for daring to leave the house with toddlers.

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Yes, they fight, they’re toddlers and they abide by the toddler rules of possession.

Please do ask about how else they interact with one another.  It’s truly amazing and I’d happily chew your ear off for hours about it.  They hold hands in the buggy sometimes.  They blow raspberries at one another and dissolve into fits of giggles.

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No, they’re not similar.  True to their genetics, they’re no more similar than any other 2 siblings despite sharing a birthday.

Please ask about their different personalities.  They’re like chalk and cheese but just as cheeky as each other.  H loves animals and gives hugs with every ounce of her being.  C loves a selfie and squeals with excitement that will make your heart burst.  They both refuse to get out of the bath.  H walked at 11 months, C at 14.  C sat up at 7 months, H at 9.  They do things in their own sweet time.  Nature v nurture can bite me.

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Yes, I know.

Please do tell me that they’re brilliant / funny / gorgeous and that we’re incredibly lucky / fortunate / blessed.  They are, we are and I’ll never, ever tire of hearing it.

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No, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’ll admit I do have moments where I envy parents who only have 1 baby.  I’d be in more photographs with them, I’d be able to take more photographs OF them, I could have used the sling more, I could be out in the garden more, I’d be able to pop in for a pint of milk and it would take less than 30 minutes… but then I look at those little faces and immediately regret all of those thoughts because we’re just so amazingly lucky to have them in our lives.

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And to the person who told me it would be their worst nightmare to find out they were having twins… you’re missing out love.

A new beginning…

I’ve started and restarted this blog so many times I’ve lost count.  My usual failing?  That all important first post.  After much deliberation I’ve concluded that I’m placing too much importance on it, on the introduction, on the design and that I should just get it over with.

So here it is.  The first post of what I hope will be many.

The start of this blog was inspired by our move into our dream home as a means of loosely recording The Rest of Our Lives.  We’ve been here 10 months now and this is my first post.  Good going don’t you think?

The week before we moved we found out I was pregnant so the aim of the blog stopped being about us moving into our home and more about pregnancy and birth.  Still I wrote nothing, not even when I was on maternity leave with nothing else to do but sit on the sofa all day.  I did manage a bit of writing about my first trimester for the wonderful Any Other Woman, and I did keep a diary throughout my pregnancy so it may well be something I return to but for now I decided to stop looking back and look forward instead.

In February 2013 I met the 2 most important people in my life (besides G and the dog!), my wonderful daughters H & C (AKA The Peas).  I was bowled over by the immediate love I felt for them, even before I saw them as I was lying on the operating table and they had just been unceremoniously yanked out of my body I knew that this was it.  This was what I was born to do; to be a mummy; to protect, nourish and inspire these two amazing little beings (and any others that should follow them).

Life is good.  This is the new beginning, this is the inspiration that I needed and, now that I feel relatively human again, here I am – finally getting my finger out and writing because suddenly it’s not about me any more.