Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

The 30 Home Stretch

on February 17, 2012

Last year a friend asked if I was aware that in 15 months we would be turning 30. I probably said something hopelessly unsupportive, but we had a long conversation that can be summed up with the following:

Her: OH MY GOD WE’RE GETTING OLD AAAAAIIIEEEEE!!!

Me: Meh. It happens.

I have started thinking about it again recently. We’re on the home stretch for it now. December 2012, and my 20s will be gone. I have been contemplating the list of things I wanted to achieve by 30, the experiences that I wanted to have, and generally where I thought my life would be compared to where it is now.

The list of goals compared to achievements isn’t perfect, but I still have a few months to go and it isn’t that bad.

  • Move out of home. Tick.
  • Travel overseas. I have been to the USA, Canada, England, France, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Czech Republic. A few more countries will be added to this list before my next birthday. Tick.
  • Buy a house. Ok, I sold it again, but I did achieve this goal. Tick.
  • Get an education. I not only finished my Bachelor degree, I went back and finished the Honours year too. I have since spotted a Bachelor of Languages at ANU that interests me, so it is looking likely that I will never finish my education. I enjoy learning too much. Still, I have an education. Tick.
  • Get married. Done, and I even got the divorce too. Tick and double tick?
  • Become fabulously wealthy. Once I believed that this meant becoming a millionaire. Now I have realised that fabulously wealthy isn’t a dollar amount, but whatever it takes to leave you feeling confident and in control of your own financial destiny. I haven’t worked for money for over a year now, and if I don’t go on an unplanned spending spree I don’t have to work for another three. I feel fabulously wealthy, no matter what any external person might say. Tick.
  • Start my own business. I have a lot of ideas for this goal, but ultimately working for myself with the intention of selling my products on the open marketplace counts as having my own business. I have been doing that since last year. Tick.
  • Be happy. Some days there is a lot of external rubbish going on that severely impacts on this goal, but fortunately I’m a naturally bubbly person. The good days far outweigh the bad ones, and every bad day teaches me more about how to keep the positive feelings alive. Tick.
  • Learn a second language. I am working on German, and have probably attained an A1 level by now. Every day my skills improve. I probably will not be fluent by my birthday, but I do plan to spend several weeks at the Goethe Institut in Melbourne this July and in Germany this August and September. Watch this space.
  • Become a mother. I could still technically get this one done, but I’d have to get pregnant tomorrow. Maybe next week. My boyfriend might be on board, but I don’t think I am yet. My doctors have recommended that I wait until my body is much stronger, and I agree with them. I’d be happy with this goal if I was pregnant by 30, so I suppose it is watch this space.
  • Publish.

Ahh, publishing. Mmm. Yes. That.

Dum de dum…

I know that this blog counts as publishing. I know that the short works of fiction that are out in the world count as publishing. I know that all of the things I have already published count as publishing. Despite all of that, this goal does not feel achieved. I am a novelist at heart, and when I tell myself that I want to be publishing, I am thinking of big, chunky books filled with drama, mystery, suspense, and all sorts of exciting things.

Publishing makes me think of the big, chunky books I have already written and am continuing to write. These are the works I hold onto, that I rarely let other people read. I have so many completed drafts of novels that I could easily take one of those and make it publishable before my birthday. I could easily finish the series I am currently working on and have at least the first novel in this trilogy completed before my birthday. Realistically, I could start something new tomorrow and have it publishable before my birthday.

In a dream world, I would say that not only will I have one novel published before I am 30, but that I will have so many published it becomes insane to have ever doubted myself. It would take my readers until my 31st birthday to get through them all. My cover designer could be crying from the workload, but laughing with glee at her bank balance.

The problem with this dream world is that, at its centre, there is me. I am the problem that blocks this dream from being realised. I make grand statements such as “this is not good enough” while other people around me tear at their hair in frustration and ask “why are you not publishing this?” They tell me that I am ready, that I have been ready for years, and I come up with truly pathetic reasons to prove that I am not.

My grand statement that “this is not good enough” is to cover what I really mean, which is “I am not good enough”. I place far too much importance on the petty, untrained people who have levelled some incredibly unfair and harsh criticism my way, and not enough importance on the opinions of those who are leaders in the writing profession, the people with decades of experience behind them.

Looking at my list, I think I need to change the final point.

  • Be terrified. Be convinced I will fail. Expect public ridicule, and have nightmares about it for weeks. Publish anyway.

Final verdict on the revised goal? Watch this space.


One response to “The 30 Home Stretch

  1. […] this year I began contemplating my 30th birthday, and wrote a list of the achievements I wanted to accomplish before my decade was over. Since I am constantly […]

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