So, I’m turning 30 tomorrow. Actually, since I run on Paris time (LOL), it’s past midnight right now, which means I am 30 in Paris. I have been joking about it for a long time, the fear of entering into a new decade, and most of it is just joking. Don’t mistake me. There is part of me that has been a little bit more reflective about my life than usual as if I somehow feel time pressing on me a little more than I did at this time last year. That has been kind of coming out as joking about feeling old and panicking about this particular birthday.
Ten years ago at this time I was 19 going on 20 and I was completely thrilled about leaving my teens behind. I never liked teenagers even when I was one. That was probably because I never really behaved like a teenager. I was not going to parties every weekend or going to football games or anything like that in high school. I was studying, researching, going through some very personal struggles that still impact who I am today. I have always been told from a lot of different people that I was a 40-year-old trapped in a child’s body, and apparently, now my chronological age is starting to match up with my personality. I have this tendency of being ahead of the curve and I think maybe there’s a little bit of panic now that I’m catching up with the curve, which means I have to work even harder to stand out from the crowd. Then a certain sense of fear creeps in that I might not succeed at everything I set out to do anymore. My personality is flushed with the kind of ambition that makes me see myself as a failure if I don’t meet every goal I set. That, I know, is probably more of a flaw than anything else. I am very ambitious and I don’t stop until I accomplish something no matter what it takes.
Right before we graduated high school, our English teacher made videos of each student setting up three goals for themselves to accomplish in their 20s and at the 10 year high school reunion, which I did not attend, the videos were going to be played so we could see what we accomplished and what we did not. I remember taking my turn making the video somewhat vaguely. High school was not a happy time for me so I blocked out a lot of it but I remember some of what I said. My first goal was to be a published author of at least three books by the time I turned 30. My second goal was to have seen Europe by the time I turned 30. My third goal was to be married and have a child by the time I turned 30. Of those three goals, I only accomplished one of them. I am a published author of three books and I did all of that by the time I was 27, so I was ahead of the curve in that regard, but I have not yet seen Europe and I’m definitely not married or a mother. The time between graduating high school and turning 20 is kind of hazy for me. I wasn’t really doing much except writing and tending to my long-term relationship, which would end by the time I was 21. Nobody stays with their high school boyfriend forever. It wasn’t that he didn’t treat me well – he did treat me like a queen – but we simply grew apart as I became my own woman instead of a teenage girl.
If I could talk to my 20-year-old self now, I would tell her to run like hell from a 3 1/2 year engagement that would happen a few years later. Honestly, you would not recognize my 20-year-old self if you met her today. She and I are completely different people now. She was very naïve and she believed in love. She believed everyone had good intentions with no desire to be hurtful, selfish, greedy, manipulative or deceitful. Despite prolonged sexual molestation by a male relative, I still believed in love when I was 20 and 21. That is the part of myself I miss – the part that could look at a man and not automatically think he’ll lie, manipulate and cheat his way into my life with varying degrees of abuse. I walked right into an abusive relationship that took 3 1/2 years to extract myself from and basically shattered my 20s. Somehow I even managed to finish my first novel during that dark time. It wasn’t until I miscarried a child in 2005 that I woke up and decided that nobody was going to change my life for me. I had to do it myself. Ever since then, I have not been the soft, docile, loving lady that I used to be. I have become so much more guarded and it takes me forever to let anybody in to see my most private nature. Essentially my 20s were about building up my walls. Now I have such heavy walls around myself that I think I’ve even got moats with alligators and sharks swimming around in them.
But, as they say, when you shut out the bad, you also shut out the good. I have been thinking about what I want my 30s to be and I think I’ve decided this decade should be about pulling down some of those walls. I have some really wonderful friends – truly gifted, compassionate, talented, beautiful women (and some men) – but I still find myself shutting myself away from them much of time. I don’t mean I’m not there as a friend but I do tend to disallow myself from getting emotionally attached to people. If they turn out to be manipulative and cruel in some way, then it won’t hurt so much when I find out the truth. I think anybody who has been molested as a child or goes through an abusive relationship as an adult understands what I mean by being a friend but still being almost completely emotionally detached for self protection. I find myself emotionally attached to a couple of people right now and it’s almost laughable at how much it makes me panic. Vulnerability is not something I do very well! If I’m going to grow as a soul, which is what I try to teach people to do, then I have to try to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I’m going to have to learn to trust somebody again. I’m not getting any younger, obviously.
Aside from soul development, I have been thinking about some other goals I want to accomplish with my 30s. Obviously going to Europe is still very important to me, especially as an artist. France is my ultimate dream. I would love to spend some time in Paris getting to know the city as it is today, evolved from the city I knew in the 1780s. I also want to live away from my family for a while, not because I don’t love them, but because I am a woman and it is incredibly difficult to live at home when you have been on your own before. Sometimes it feels degrading. My family takes very good care of me most of the time and we all get along pretty well, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am an independent woman at heart who needs her own space. That particular goal might be harder given my physical limitations and my evolved 30-year-old self is much more aware of limitations then my naïve 20-year-old self. I will never again get into a situation where I do not have a quick escape. I will never again isolate myself the way I did in my 20s. I will never again give up everything for a man who never deserved me in the first place. Independence can be achieved the right way without believing I have to give up my identity to suit someone else’s needs.
I have so many books in my head that need to be written and published that I will absolutely be busy for the next decade doing just that. I started out in fiction but I have slowly evolved into writing nonfiction books on different angles of spirituality, psychic development, reincarnation, and paranormal investigation. I will never give up my fiction roots but I think that doing intuitive readings is not my life purpose and teaching people is my life purpose. I can teach without doing readings. That may be the hardest thing of all – becoming financially independent enough to not depend on the income I have from readings in order to move into what I really should be doing with teaching everything I’ve learned about spirituality and the unknown. My family keeps pressuring me to get a manager and get on some television show in the style of Paranormal State or Ghost Hunters, but I’m not actively seeking that kind of thing. If it’s offered to me, I will consider it, but I don’t foresee that kind of thing being offered to me and I’m not going to hinge my life around it at all. I have seen what shows like that due to the people from the inside out and I wouldn’t jump into something like that without very deep consideration first. It’s a lot harder than it looks. Trust me.
It’s nice to know that my family has enough faith in me to believe I could be worthy of “fame” but I truthfully don’t see myself as worthy of that kind of thing. My family tends to be a little bit more materialistic than I am. It’s all about money and security in the future, which I understand from a practicality standpoint, but maybe it’s still part of the naïve 20-year-old in me who seeks fulfillment from real things. I don’t consider fame to be real fulfillment. Unfortunately, a person can’t get their message out into the masses without having a television show, being in the media, etc., anymore so it may be a necessary evil in my future. I don’t really know. I do know that I will never allow myself to be pressured into something that doesn’t feel right again. I will only agree to things in any aspect of my life if they feel right. Listening to my instincts is something I’m still trying to actively do more often. I’m not entirely against having a relationship with the media but I will only do it on my terms. Like I said though, my family has more faith in me than I have faith in myself for that kind of thing.
As for that third goal I made when I was a senior in high school of having a marriage and a child, I’m not sure about that anymore. I’ve had the platinum engagement ring with the carat diamond. I’ve had the house. I’ve had the allegedly great relationship with a man which was a really great at all. I lost a child. Part of me just really doesn’t want to attempt going down that road again even though I have had flirtations since then, and I have had my socks knocked off by a man since then (though I doubt anything will come of it), but I don’t think it’s right to make decisions like that without the other person. I don’t like it when people say, “I want to have a child and if you don’t, I’m not going to be with you,” because that could be slamming the door in someone’s face who could have been really good for you. Building a family should be something that two people do together, not something that is a dealbreaker before the relationship even gets off the ground. I think I can see it from that perspective just because I truthfully don’t foresee myself being loved by a man or being a mother. If I don’t foresee it, then I convince myself I don’t need it. I can have a very fulfilling life without those things.
But who knows? My 40-year-old self could look back on my 30-year-old self and say, “Keep your heart open because it’s coming.” That’s a big struggle for me, believing that love actually exists. I can’t allow myself to hinge my life on a marriage and a family just because if it doesn’t happen, it will be a very miserable life. A person cannot be completely fulfilled if they are not happy with themselves and learn to fulfill themselves from within, which is what I try to do.
In the meantime, my 30th birthday promises to be a great one because I have such wonderful friends who are taking time out of their lives to make it special for me. Tomorrow, for my actual birthday, my family is having a seafood dinner with crab legs, shrimp, steamed broccoli, rice and chocolate cake for dessert, which are foods that I love very much. Later this month, the weekend of February 18, several of my friends are planning birthday festivities here in Atlanta and while I don’t know all of the plans, what I do know sounds very exciting, and reminds me that the things they are doing show me that they know me very well and they care. I may go through times in my life where I feel very isolated and alone, but in truth, the people closest to me are very loving and supportive.
In an interesting moment of synchronicity, I found out last year that one of my favorite songs on the planet was recorded on February 4, 1968. John Lennon recorded the song on my birthday back in 1968 and this is absolutely in my top five favorite songs. I’ve decided to make it a tradition every year to play the song very loud on my birthday. That’s just like me to go against the herd and not play traditional Happy Birthday in favor of that radical hippie!