It’s New Year’s Day 2018 here in New Zealand. Even though it happens every year, it still seems strange to think some parts of the world are still a few hours away from greeting a new year. How did I welcome the new year? I was with five women (and many others), eating Mexican food (there was supposed to be live music involved but it didn’t quite go to plan) and eventually went into town and stayed until the countdown. I was home before 12:30am.
There was one word I heard a lot that night - old. I guess there are few times where we are reminded of our time on this Earth than when you ring in a new year. Another year older, another year wiser? OK so it came from women, not from men. Is it because us women are more vocal about our diminishing youth, and those reflections are highlighted when perhaps New Year’s Eve is one of the few opportunities we feel we can let loose?
I know, I’m single with no kids. I could party every weekend if I wanted to, and since I don’t drink, it wouldn’t affect the wallet that much. The truth is, I don’t want to. I’ve learned that parties put me in a space of being around people I didn’t necessarily choose to be with - and in my thirties I want genuine connections where I may find it. Thoughtful conversations beats shouting over loud music and only catching every third word. Years of partying sober also makes you have less tolerance around drunk behaviour.
One awesome thing I’ve learned in my thirties is learning to say no. The next stage is to be OK with saying no and not have to feel like I have to explain that choice.
I will be turning 35 this year, and most certainly I couldn’t picture what life would be like in my thirties as an eighteen year old. However, I don’t wish to be back in my twenties either. My thirties have given me a space to love myself more, to chase validation less and to embrace more of the unknown. My friend, Tamizan, said it best when she said, “Things happen in life that helps you to judge less and be more open to the lessons in that situation.” Last year gave me that space and for that I’m grateful.
Today I’m going on a solo two day road trip in the Bay of Plenty. I’m giving myself a couple more days holiday before I start to make decisions about South America, something I’ve been procrastinating. Why? Because now that the new year is here, there’s no turning back, ready or not, I’m going! That’s why I didn’t want to plan too far ahead. I knew that I had the potential to build up this expectation of what this experience will be for me and then feel disappointed on the other side.
Talking to other travelers, I will also need to prepare myself for the realities of moving to the other side of the world - away from my support systems, the homesickness, adopting a new language. My biggest goal is to open myself up to meet and establish new support systems who can help me to bridge that gap. Home is a space that grounds you - to feel loved and rest. It’s up to me to create that anywhere I go. As my sister once told me, “Sometimes you just have to suck it up because there’s no one else that will do it for you.” You can always find more in the tank, more strength when you need it most. Cry if you have to, and when they dry, try again.
Before midnight, I made made a truce with this stage of my life. I’m here now, so I may as well enjoy the ride, right? I’m learning to see life as my biggest adventure - the continuous road trip. I have no intentions of trying to change the past, so today, the first day of the new year, I will forgive, release and let go everything that brought me here. I will love the hell out of my flaws, and cherish the lessons.
By the way, I still give a f**** about a few things, but when you say no more often, you will value your yes even more. That mindset, of choosing, of gratitude, I feel good in that space. Knowing and feeling what that space feels like, you can’t really go back from that.
My next birthday with bring me halfway to forty, and there’s still so much I haven’t figured out about what I want. So I’m going to make a few of those decisions on my road trip, then let the Universe help me out with the details, because you don’t go to a restaurant and just ask for food - you choose from the menu, right? Here’s to a year of choosing, and even less f****s given.