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Hooray, I’m 30... now what?

MILESTONE: Davina celebrated her 30th birthday with family and friends

A FEW weeks back, I had a wonderful dinner party to celebrate my 30th birthday. Joined by family and friends at a restaurant in London, I even proved I could still party the night away when I hit the venue’s dancefloor to continue the merriment. (Merriment – now there’s a word I’m sure I never used in my early 20s. Eek!)

But after the alcohol stopped flowing and I’d swapped my heels for a comfy pair of flat shoes (you know how it is ladies), I began pondering the significance of turning 30.

To be honest, I actually started thinking about it before I hit the milestone, often laughing to myself how I was now doing ‘big people’ things. I often grumbled at the state of modern-day ‘R&B’ (mostly watered down rubbish in my opinion), insisting that the nineties was the decade when the genre reigned supreme. And I regularly dismissed music stations, instead tuning my car radio to shows where I could listen to a good discussion.

Add to that the fact that I – a once self-confessed lover of dancehall music – am now at a loss with a lot of the genre’s current output and would sooner swoon to some old school Beres Hammond or Freddie McGregor, and I have to concede: I’ve become a big woman. (Don’t get it twisted though – I was still able to ‘gi’ dem a run’ when the DJ dug into the archives and dropped that song gem on a recent girls’ night out!)

Graciously accepting that I’m not 21 anymore, I decided on the eve of my 30th birthday, to ask my nearly-30/30-something friends how they feel/felt about entering the third decade of their lives. I agreed with what many of them said. ‘Age is just a number’ one told me, while another friend in her late 20s said she can’t wait to hit the next decade as ‘30 and fabulous sounds sexy!’

But one sentiment I was particularly struck by was the widely held view that your 30s is the time to start being ‘sensible’. One friend talked about the ‘social pressure’ which made her feel that it was time for her to grow up and start thinking about her ‘life plan’ – namely settling down and having kids.

Another friend admitted that she had always wanted to be married by the time she was 30 and she was relieved that she had achieved this. And another friend acknowledged the significance of hitting 30, saying, ‘you learn so many lessons in your 20s – your 30s is the time to implement them.’

Suddenly, I felt a bit stumped. Having already embarked on what I call the ‘three Ms’ – marriage, motherhood and a mortgage – I couldn’t help thinking ‘been there, done that – now what?’

In recent years, it really began to hit me how much of that ‘grown up’ stuff I’d already achieved, particularly when I had conversations with friends of my age group.

Just before I turned 30, I was chatting to an old school friend about hitting the milestone. We joked about ‘getting old’, especially when we reflected on some of our high school antics. But while my friend said she felt like it was ‘just yesterday’ that she was in her teens, I admitted that my teenage years felt like a lifetime ago. And when we spoke about turning 30 – after we finished chuckling when she lamented, ‘I just do not know where all the decent, single black men are hiding’ (FYI that’s another article in the making) – she said, ‘Well it’s alright for you – you’re already married with a child.’

Suddenly, I felt both grateful and perplexed: grateful that I had settled down – which seems to be what many 20-something women want – but perplexed as to what was next for me to achieve.

Those feelings were compounded when I had a chat with an older friend. Single and in her 40s, she told me that while she is very happy with her life, she feels it would be more enhanced if she had someone to share it with and a family of her own.

Again, gushes of gratitude flooded my mind. At this stage of life, I genuinely do not know how I’d seek out a partner if I didn’t already have one (my friend insisting that eligible black men of our age are hard to find is hardly inspiring), so I’m thankful I’m already ‘off the market,’ so to speak. And after a challenging pregnancy, I’m so grateful to now have a healthy baby girl.

But whilst I feel incredibly thankful for all my personal achievements – including my career in journalism, which I’m immensely proud of – I do wonder what’s next on the horizon for me. Do I sit back and revel in the fact that I achieved all those ‘expected’ goals before I was 30? Should I start setting new life goals? Or do I just take each day as it comes and wait to see what life has in store for me? Right now, I’m unsure.

But what I do know is that if the good Lord spares my life so I make it to 40 and I’m then able to say, ‘My 30s were as fun and fulfilled as my 20s,’ I’ll be very, very happy.

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