Last night I had dinner with five of my girlfriends. Some I have known since I was 7 years old, others I met in high school when I was 12. Our lives have all taken different directions, and I don’t see them all the time, but when we do see each other, it’s like no time at all has passed. I laughed my ass off, and it felt great.
We’re all 30 or 31 years old. Two are married, two have partners and two are single. Only one has children.
Whilst we are still basically the same people we were in high school, we have all developed and grown into more authentic versions of ourselves. I noticed a lot of conversations were preluded with the phrase “now that I’m older”, or “as you get older”, and whilst part of me was horrified, part of me felt, well, quite mature! (That was until my friend May inserted the phrase ‘pyjama shoes’ into the conversation when she couldn’t remember the word for slippers.)
30- The Age of Change…
I know 30 isn’t old, but after graduating from your twenties, it’s easy to start feeling the pull of middle age. It’s all relative I suppose, when we’re forty we will definitely consider 30 to be young, and so on, and so on.
It is actually great to be thirty. I still feel young, but old enough to take responsibility for my actions. I am (a little!) less self-centered. I am more aware of how I treat other people than I used to be. I am trying, not always successfully, to be more humble, and less aggressive. In my teens and my twenties, I felt more of an urge to assert myself on to the world. Now, because I accept and know myself a little more, I keep my mouth shut a bit more, and try, not always successfully, to open my ears and truly listen to other people.
Most of all, I have realised that the world doesn’t owe me anything, and that in fact I want to be of more service to it, in a small way.
Before I Die I Want To ___________________ .
After dinner, I went walking with my friend Jyoti in search of an ATM. There was a street festival on, and the road the restaurant was on was closed off to cars, making way for an assortment of entertainment. Art installations, live music, and food stalls lined the street. People weaved in and out of each other, revelling in the festival atmosphere.
After looking at a lane-way photography exhibition, we came across a wide blackboard, affixed to a wall. It was divided into columns, with the phrase “Before I die I want to” repeated over and over, with a line next to each one. Festival goers had completed each sentence using chalk.
Here are some of the entries I remember…
Before I Die I Want To…
Go to South America
Get my novel published
Sky dive naked
Touch a vagina (and this is one of the G-rated ones)
Get a drink at the Beaufort St Festival
Find a husband
Run a Marathon
Get a superpower
Make a vaccine
Cleanse the plastic seas
Get my License
Go to Hungry (exact spelling)
Be able to drink wine at a Cafe (a dig at our city’s strict licensing laws)
Eat the best meal of my life
Drive an F1 car
Meet Christopher Walken
Snog Simon Cowell
Kill Dora the explorer
Get a Taxi
Be loved and valued
Learn to juggle
Make out in Antarctica
Quite an expression of humour, heart and wit! Some entries were silly, some heartfelt. Some selfless, some not so much.
It got me thinking about my own list…
So here it is, in no specific order. Before I Die, I want to:
Publish a book
Create something amazing
Tell my life story
Know who I am
Bathe an Elephant
Make a difference in the life of a stranger
See a migration in Africa
Go to Madagascar
Stay in an over-water bungalow in Bora Bora
Watch my nieces grow up
Live in an ashram
Trek the Amazon
Trek through ancient Mayan ruins in Peru
Spend six months in India
Accept myself wholly
Live in Mexico
Forgive everyone who has ever harmed me
Forgive myself for harming others
Hike The Great Wall of China (or part thereof)
Be free of judgement
Travel the world without an agenda or an end date
Share what I discover about the world with others
Jump out of a plane
Go on an epic overland journey, on foot or bicycle
Explore the South Pacific
Volunteer in Cambodia, or Africa, or both
Be free of resentment
Know that I have lived life to the full
Live In Bali
So that’s that.
What does your list look like?