The change from May 20th to May 21st will not change me any more profoundly than it will anyone else, save for the nominal change from being 29 to being 30. I'll be the same person. But a line will have been drawn, as the 2 morphs to a 3 and the 9 spins back round to 0, under the the changes I've gone through these last ten years.
Ten years? Why not over the last 30? Thirty years is as arbitrary an amount of time as ten. So who am I now? What am I saying goodbye to and what I am welcoming in?
I first wrote my CV aged around 21 and it says I like 'cinema, photography and music, socialising and meeting people, and exploring places new to me. Otherwise I have my nose in a book or my fingers in the kitchen.' While the finer details of my CV will need updating it seems these core details remain true. And are still on my CV.
I love the cinema; I still prefer something (as Abi would put it) 'black, white and shot at an angle' but have probably seen as many poor British films as I wish to ever see. And while I would still love to spend a week watching film at EIFF I now know that I do not care for the louder-than-thou voices of most film reviewers and their strange need to shout out their opinions.
My Flickr account testifies to my continued interest in photography, but the site also testifies to EVERYONE's love for the point and shoot. In fact, the raised bar of quality of the average amateur photographer probably denigrates my 'interest' to little more than just that, whereas in the days of film and paying for development, I actually took a greater interest in how the camera worked, what I took, how I took it - and how I looked at the world.
For a few years I was a great Lomographer. That was, until my Lomo LCA stopped taking photos, I could no longer fix it myself and the friendly Lomo London Embassy left town. I carried my little LCA everywhere with me - much as I do now with my digital - and its silent 'don't look just shoot' clickability meant that I not only recorded a lot of my life but I looked at my life and everything in it a lot differently. I thought every aspect of my life was worth recording. A conceit of youth, for sure - although it has not escaped me that this letter here is what I am doing, now, too.
Anyway, now that my LCA no longer works and a digital takes time to fire up and when it does, goes 'DOODLEDEEDOO' really loudly, I'm less inclined to just shoot at things and hope they turn out nice. And this either has caused or reflects a philosophical shift, too. I certainly still record a whole lot more of my life than perhaps the average human, but it's less, less so than in my early and mid-20s.
Ahhh, music, my first love. Yes I still listen all the time to some music of some sort and love it but tastes have developed. I have less tolerance for that which I do not like. And in true human fashion, that which I like least is that which is closest to whence I have come. Snowpatrol, Razorlight, Coldplay, Keane - you spring from the same Britpop kiln in which I was forged but I hate you. Try harder.
No more XFM for me; I'm with Morrissey on hanging the DJ - now I really am! I'm dancing between Radios 6, 2, 3 and 4 - really I am! Before I would have only said I listened to Radio 4 in a kind of aspirational lie. But now it's really the truth! See, I am maturing, like a stinky cheese. A stinky, poncey cheese.
Socialising and meeting people? Nothing's better, still, ever, than connecting with a friend, new or old. But I am less bothered about meeting people for the sake of it now and intolerant of having to meet fools. I've never suffered fools well but I was in the past driven more by a hope of something better forever being just around the corner - maybe at last the person who would understand me and make me whole. Now I don't believe in other people making me whole. (Partly why I hate that goddamned 'Fix You' song by Coldplay - you can't fix them, Mr Martin! Everyone needs to take responsibility for themselves!)
Now I am both more intolerant of fools yet also better aware of people being surprising and everyone having shiny, attractive sides somewhere. And therefore more tolerant of people in general. And I know to check myself if I find myself muttering. But I can't always be bothered (or indeed expected) to stick around and find everyone's shiny side.
I've made, lost and remade enough friends now to not break such a sweat about it. I hate upsetting people and I of course don't like being let down, but I'm more forgiving of each. People are selfishly driven - but not maliciously so. Understanding that about people makes relationships much easier, and acting with that in mind and trying to understand another person truly from their side is a thing that can make life so much better. Some people thrive on taking umbrage but I don't have time for it.
And the best friends always bounce back. That's what makes them the best ones.
I'm still very lucky to have met such interesting, clever, fun, likeable, funny, interested, stimulating and plain nice, GOOD, friends. But I think I've used their problems and cares as excuses for not looking directly at mine - and I've only recently figured that out. If I care a little less deeply it's only a good thing. Honest.
I'm very glad to have spent so much time in my younger years travelling. It means I don't feel the need now to drop it all and go hang out in Bali. I loved that time immensely but it's not for me now to travel like that. That said, I do like to treat even the smallest holidays as an adventure - a week in Greece with no accommodation booked and only a notional idea of where we'd go, or overlanding to Slovenia for a week - and I don't think that will change.
I never thought of myself as a rebel in particular but I feel that sense strengthening in me. I don't want to fight the system: I like getting along. I just don't like doing what everyone else does. Maybe it's just a contrary streak rather than a rebellious streak. Anyway, this seems to be coming out more and more and a resistance to the package holiday is just one illustration of it.
I'm proud of working in publishing: true, my nose has always been in a book but I had never thought this in any way peculiar when growing up. I assumed everyone went to the library when they were out of books and I didn't think it unusual to have 10 books on the go at once. But books are good. They are good things and they bring me pleasure. Even movie tie-in books we publish unchanged from the American edition.
It's only really since having my own flat and then in the last year or so that I've really enjoyed having my fingers in the kitchen. Before this, the pressure of cooking - presentably, for other people, without being interrupted by house mates - has made it less enjoyable. But now I revel in every aspect of a meal being home made - from the harissa used in the soup to the lemon curd spread on the home made bread.
It's probably another illustration of my need for control. But this is a weird one I'm not at the bottom of yet. Until recently I'd never considered myself any kind of controlling personality but god I do like to have things how I like them. I've been up and down with this. I think 7 months spent travelling age 18-19 made me relax a whole lot out of these controlling tendencies but hell, I still write my diary and do the splits every night - habits I started back aged 13. God, what was going on then that I started all this stuff? Maybe one to answer when I'm 40. And still doing the splits.
I trained myself to do the splits when I was 13 - an age when little girls who spent their childhoods doing the splits have long given it up. I could never do them so decided one day to practise until I could. Then I could, and I thought, well ... I'll do this until I'm 30. I want to be a 30 year old who can do the splits.
I'm going to be 30 in less than a week - what do I do then?! Will I be able to let go?!
I'm proud, too, of having lost one and a half stone. I'm now the size I should really be for my height. I had grown used to my excess-ness but was not happy about it. But now I'm really happy. Yes it does make a difference.
I'm proud of having come through the shitty and surprising period of anxiety. I'd been depressed in my teens (who wasn't) and probably depressed in my early twenties. Well it was a weird time. Kind of silent, stealth unhappiness that I tried to ignore. But so, this last time of unhappiness, I think I just refused flat to be depressed because it had been so miserable before. So I think it squeezed itself out in a New! way. Bloody anxiety. Well, that has changed me. I'll never again be innocent of anxiety. But that's a good thing: it's growing and experiencing and being better able to understand others.
What to look forward to from the next decade, then? Bigger issues than getting a degree, getting a job, getting on and getting a home. I've got little Bingo to take care of, my first responsibility for life! I still can't get over how cute she is. So more of this. More of things too big to write down in one breath.
And hopefully a trip to South America.