Today is Tuesday 19th July 2011. I was born on this day 29 years ago. It’s my last birthday that begins with a two, as I’ve been reminded several times. I have no qualms about approaching my fourth decade though. The lines around my eyes as I cleaned my teeth this evening may have seemed more pronounced than ever before, but I think I’ll be happy to cross over into thirty next year; while I don’t want to wish my life away, my twenties have been so tumultuous that I’ll be glad to leave them behind. A friend said to me this evening that your thirties are the decade where you know yourself and accept yourself more. I certainly feel that is the case already, although I’m coming to realise that doesn’t mean the end of one’s journey. We continue to grow and develop and change throughout our lives. This may appear to be stating the obvious, but my perception for many years was that once you were a “proper grown up” then that was that – life continued on a plateau. Instead, I’m learning that the notion of a pilgrimage applies to all of our life’s journey. In terms of my own pilgrimage, I have discovered so much in the last week whilst on holiday that I feel my journey has changed direction. I’ve looked inwards and peeled back more layers. I’ve looked outwards and discovered more about the world. The intensity of the group bond on my trip makes romantic encounters pale into insignificance. More than anything else, I’ve been taught valuable lessons in giving love and being loved, as well as how it feels to be heartbroken. These are lessons that will serve me well as I continue on my journey, heading fast towards the next decade of my life.

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