Turning 30: the year of ‘I always wanted to…’

Today is my birthday! I’m turning 30 at last. You know, it’s not as scary as I thought it would be.

I turn 30 today and this is my view

This was my view this morning. My adorable husband made me pancakes (gluten free!) which we sat and ate watching the sea get bluer and bluer. 

While I’m wandering around Santorini with my eyes like saucers, I thought I’d share with you some reflections I’ve been having in the lead up to the big 3-0. This is sort of along the same lines as treat yo’self, but on a macro level.

After losing my father last year, my moorings were well and truly shaken. I took a good hard look at the things I thought I knew about life. I reassessed what I knew from the ground up, and realised I needed to change quite a few things.

One thing was that I needed to start doing the things I’d always wanted to. My Dad was such a hard worker, and he loved his job which I’m sure helped, but he also had a number of hobbies he was passionate about. When he retired, he took these up with gusto. However, he only had three short years of retirement to enjoy his great loves before he passed away.

I am learning from this.

The things I want to do, I’m going to do now. If I can possibly, responsibly, financially manage to do them, then I will. I have an enormous amount of privilege just by accident of birth, not least everything my family has done and still do for me. I don’t want to feel like I’ve wasted any of it.

These are the things I always wanted to do, so I’m doing.

Fix my teeth ¦¦ I’ve always hated my gappy teeth, and I know they look great on some people and I know they are inherited from my Grannie who is one of my absolute favourite people who has ever walked the earth and I know that nobody even notices them, but they bother me. And that’s all that matters. So I’m getting them fixed.

Travel more ¦¦ I love seeing the world and I’m directing any spare resources towards that end. 2016 has been going great so far, with trips to Istanbul and various cities in the UK under my belt already. We’ve got some immense travels planned for later in the year, and now I’m spending my birthday in Santorini – does it get better than this?!

I turn 30 today and this is my view again

Say no ¦¦ There are things in life I don’t enjoy doing. We all have them. Instead of forcing myself to do them (for whose benefit?) I am now much happier just saying no. Obviously I am always careful to make sure I don’t put anyone else out unnecessarily by doing so, but mostly it ends up suiting everyone better. Case in point, we now have a cleaner. Cleaning the house was taking up too much of my time and mental effort (and causing fights between S and I). Now we have a cleaner, I have more time to do the things I like and S and I hardly disagree about anything any more. Yes, our cleaner costs money but I like to think in value terms. It’s the best money I’ve spent all year (even better than that dress from Boden*).

Stop caring what other people think ¦¦ I’ve wasted so much time, effort and even money on what other people think, or might think, of me. I’m not sure what has changed in the last year or so, but I’ve just stopped caring. It may be the realisation that life is just too damn short, it might be the realisation that I’d rather spend the money on other things (ahem travel), or that nobody notices that I wear the same 3 jumpers on rotation. It might well be that I’d rather spend my time enjoying myself than worrying about what other people think about me. This also applies to things like my career, whether or not I should own a house by now, whether or not I should have children by now… I am on my path, they are on theirs. And that’s how it should be.

Maybe I’d have had these revelations even if I hadn’t also been turning 30 at the same time. I don’t know. All I know is, from where I’m standing right now my path is looking overwhelmingly beautiful.


*Yes I am old now. I shop at Boden.



  1. Kerri Taylor
    16th May 2016 / 13:28

    what a great list! especially those last two. saying no is something i’ve def gotten better at over the years. and not caring what others think is def easier said than done! but it’s good once you get there 🙂 hope you’re having the most amazing vacation!

    xoxo cheshire kat

    • 21st May 2016 / 21:58

      I had fun reflecting and coming up with it! Saying no feels so good, I’m only sorry I didn’t do it sooner – but it is a struggle. I haven’t completely mastered it yet, but I’m happy with my progress! I’m quite happily transitioning into one of those batty old ladies you see wandering around in crazy outfits talking to themselves, and I’m totally fine with it 🙂

  2. 16th May 2016 / 14:20

    Happy happy birthday! I have to admit the idea of turning 30 next year still really freaks me out, but I love that you’re using your birthday as a way to put your life in focus. Totally 100% agree with you about having a cleaner! I don’t like to waste the time and effort on cleaning my house, and it’s just easier to pay somebody to do it. Plus Chris has somebody take care of the lawn so I should be able to have somebody take care of the house. And 1000 times yes to more travel! You’ve already had so many amazing experiences this year, and I can’t wait to hear all about the rest of your trips!

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:00

      Thank you so much! It was a brilliant day. Don’t worry about turning 30, in my experience it’s been entirely positive. Nothing has changed except my mindset and that’s all to the positive I think!

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one with a cleaner; I was a bit reluctant to admit it because it feels like a total luxury, but you’re right that it’s worth it. And high five for more travel!

  3. 16th May 2016 / 14:43

    Happy Birthday!!!
    & girl, 30 is still young. I’d pay someone a lot of money to go back to 30 🙂
    & you are so right – you have some good life plans – live in the NOW. Life is so unpredictable so do the things you want today. Why wait?

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:01

      I know! I still feel very young in myself, and I know I look it too (except for all my grey hairs, sigh). So I’m not overly bothered about the number, I’m just glad to be progressing through the years with my health and sanity (largely) intact. And thanks for the positive affirmation! Why wait indeed!

  4. 16th May 2016 / 20:24

    Happy birthday, Rachel! The best birthdays are spent with the ones you love AND in beautiful places. Looks like you scored on both counts! Enjoy the rest of your time in Santorini!

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:01

      Thanks so much! You’re right, it was the best day in all kinds of ways. I had a marvellous trip, still on a comedown from it to be honest… It’s just such an unreal place!

  5. 16th May 2016 / 21:32

    Happy birthday, my friend! May this be your best year yet, full of all these things and more!

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:04

      Thanks so much! I really hope it is! And I wish the very same for your year.

  6. 17th May 2016 / 00:48

    Wishing you the loveliest of birthday in the most lovely place! What a beautiful post, I love all the things you noted down and I think we can all learn from some reflection every now and then 🙂

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:05

      Thank you so much! Reflecting is good, I’ve done a lot of it this year and I think it’s been valuable. I’m looking forward to a bit of a break this year though – all that thinking is tough!

  7. Siân (gluten free Mrs d)
    17th May 2016 / 10:38

    Happy birthday! Totally agree with you about having a cleaner. Makes life so much easier and frees up not just the time spent doing the cleaning but also the time spent thinking about doing it and arguing with partners about whose turn it is to do the cleaning! Win win all round. I think I really learnt in my 30s to say no to things I didn’t want to do, but felt I ought to. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip in Santorini.

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:08

      Thank you! The rest of my trip was fantastic thank you, we even got some sun! Back to reality with a bump now… And absolutely agree with the time spent thinking about cleaning, planning when to clean, arguing about doing cleaning, or what constitutes clean… I could go on. Our cleaner is a saint and I wouldn’t be without her now.

      The saying no thing is huge. I feel like it’s something I’m only beginning to get good at, so I’m looking forward to perfecting it throughout my 30s!

  8. 17th May 2016 / 12:37

    Happy birthday, Rachel! I related to A LOT to this post, might be because my mom has been sick lately and seeing a parent age definitely puts things into perspective. You sound so strong, and I really admire your honesty. Thank for sharing this with us. Have a blast, and big hugs from Slovenia!!

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:10

      Oh no, I’m really sorry to hear about your Mum. It must be tough at a distance, too. I really hope her health improves soon! Thanks for your kind words, I think we could all do with being more honest from time to time. Myself included! Big hugs right back!

  9. 17th May 2016 / 23:20

    Happiest of birthdays to you!! it’s so funny how the older we get the more thought i think we put into the fact that another year has come and gone. when i was a teenager i couldn’t wait for my birthday, now i’m like, “time, please slow down!!!”

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:11

      Thank you so much! And time is absolutely whizzing past. I look at my 30 before 30 list and laugh. When did I think I’d have time to fit all those things in!? I’m definitely getting more reflective and sappy in my old age, no more “just another year until I can drive” etc!

  10. 18th May 2016 / 08:15

    Happy happy birthday! Love these… I’m thinking a lot about how I want my 30s to look, with my 30th coming up this year. One definite is lots more travel!

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:12

      Thanks so much! When’s your birthday? I hope you have a great day, fellow ’86 baby! I know it’s just a number, but I think it’s a really good excuse to pause and take stock of life. I don’t think I do that enough. I’m glad travel is on your list too! I look forward to seeing what you get up to 🙂

      • 25th May 2016 / 20:44

        Mid-November. I’ll be in Mexico for it so that’s quite exciting too!

  11. 18th May 2016 / 16:11

    Happy belated Birthday! I hope you have the time of your life in Greece – it cerrtainly looks like it’s gorgeous there! And good luck with all your plans – they definitely sound grown up, haha 🙂

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:13

      Thanks Van! I had an amazing trip, I still can’t get over how pretty it all is there. My plans may sound grown up but I certainly don’t feel it, don’t worry!

  12. 19th May 2016 / 15:32

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:14

      Thank you! It was a wonderful day, and I did all sorts of fun things in a beautiful place with my favourite person. And chocolate. What more can you ask for?!

  13. 19th May 2016 / 16:36

    hope you had an amazing birthday lovely!
    i am of course sorry that you had to lose your dad to think about these things, but i am so happy that you are not caring what people think and doing what you want to do. life is far too short to be unhappy. here’s to the next 30 years!

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:15

      It was most excellent, thank you! Life is indeed far too short to waste on unhappiness, and I know my Dad definitely wouldn’t have wanted that either. So yes, here’s to the next 30 years – a terrifying thought but a pretty cool one all at the same time!

    • 21st May 2016 / 22:16

      It was the best, really I’m so lucky. It was as good as it sounds!

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