So, today is the mid point of what is a manic month in our household – May and June are full of birthdays and anniversaries. And CAKE! Lots of cake. And of course, today is a highlight, because today is my birthday! And it was one of those scary ones – oh yes. I’m now 30!
I remember having a serious issue over the idea of turning 20. I thought that would be the end of all childhood, and therefore all fun, and it would all be doom and gloom from there on out. Which, to be fair, was possibly a sign of quite how screwed up I was in my late teens – this time 10 years ago, I wasn’t long out of hospital after a suicide attempt. Although on the surface I looked like I had it all – good friends, top place university, boyfriend – I was dying inside. A whole bunch of crap had taken over my entire life and I was not eating or sleeping, hurting those who cared about me the most, failing my course, and generally headed for disaster.
I remember being at the hospital and thinking “shit. Why did I say anything? Why didn’t I just do it?”
Well, for the record, here are the reasons I’m beyond glad I didn’t.
1. I have an incredible husband who loves me at my best and worst points, and who believes in me, even when I’m doing my best to push him away.
2. My son is adorable, and clever, and wise – and just a tiny bit insane. The thought of never having met him makes me shudder. I get the sheer bloody honour of helping to bring him up. How incredible is that?!
3. I have the best friends in the world. friends who laugh with me and cry with me and put up with my verbal diarrhoea and love me even when I’m feeling pretty unlovable. Not everyone can say that – I’m so grateful I can.
4. Kopperburg cider! Need I say more?
5. Ditto chocolate.
6. Because my family are beyond incredible. I’m proud of all of them.
7. Because life is so precious. I have had so many unbelievable times in the last 10 years. Awe at a perfect sunset. Overwhelming pride at my best friend’s wedding – and overwhelming joy a year later at mine. Laughing til I ached with my sister. Being wound up like a top by my little brother. Cuddles and giggles and telling looks with the hubby. Hilarity with the Brownies.
8. Pride. Lots of pride over things I’ve been able to achieve that I never thought I could. Public speaking at a UN side event. Preaching. Gold D of E. Raising money for foodbanks. Passing a flute exam. Graduating so well. Training in4mers. Being told by a group of women I admire more than most that they’re proud of me. Hobnobbing with Danish royalty. And I’m not saying this to make myself sound awesome – believe me I’m not – but because I’m so grateful that even for a screwed up 20 year old, depression doesn’t have to be the end of the story. I’m proud of myself, and proud of others, and I’m glad to have the chance to be able to say that.
9. Guiding. Because it’s given me fun and friends and hilarity – and a fair share of stress too, but it’s all been worth it. There’ve been times when Guiding was all I could focus on for the mess in my head – but it gave me that focus and helped me move forward. I’m grateful.
10. God. Because the older I get, the more I realise I don’t get Him, and I don’t want to. He’s surprising and kind and generous and wonderful, and I’m so grateful to get to be part of His plans for loving people.
I don’t know if anyone’s reading this who’s where I was – wondering whether life is honestly worth living. If you are, there’s not a lot I can say, but if it helps to hear it from someone who’s been in the trenches – it ends. I promise. Slowly and surely, it ends. And the stuff that’s in the future? It’s gonna be amazing.
I think what I’m taking into my 30’s is the sense of not being ashamed of being me. Don’t get me wrong, there’s stuff I’m ashamed of, but I’m not ashamed of who I am. I’m not thinking of myself as somehow worse and more awful than everyone in the universe any more. And that’s exciting. Because if there’s anything the last decade has taught me, it’s that when I’m truly me, when I’m truly allowing myself to be all that I was created to be, life gets – interesting.
And absolutely. Freaking. WONDERFUL.
Bring it on!