Today is my last day of being thirty.
Thirty seemed like such a grand age when I was younger. The sort of age where you really have your shit together. Where you are confident, mature, sensible. Where you wear proper clothes, even if you’re not planning to leave the house that day. Where you never forget to get your tyre pressure checked and don’t need to be badgered into it by your mother. Where putting laundry away isn’t an optional extra to getting it washed, it’s just what you automatically do because… well.. you’re sensible like that.
Turns out that’s not quite the case. I’m still the same basket case I was aged twenty nine. To be honest I’m still the same basket case I was aged fifteen, just with a lot more experience, a truck load more cynicism, and a lot of stretchmarks.
Turning thirty didn’t change me. It didn’t make me a grown up or give me a confidence that I’ve always aspired to.
And yet this has been the best year of my life in so many ways, and in others it has been the hardest.
This is the year I got pregnant again, an amazing surprise that had The Boy offering to buy me custard and stroking me like I was a kitten, and crying with joy.
This is the year I realised just how terrified I was of having another miscarriage, and how desperately I wanted this baby to survive, leading to an emergency new years even scan after some bleeding.
This is the year I announced the impending arrival of my second daughter. We told the world that yes, a new baby was coming, and our little patchwork family would finally be united by blood. That Miss Rose on my side, and Z on The Boy’s side, are officially siblings with the creation of Baby B connecting the two in the middle.
This is the year I nearly died. The year that at eighteen weeks pregnant I contracted swine flu and spent time in intensive care with a plummeting heart rate and rocketing temperature as The Boy watched and prepared himself to get through the loss of his baby, and the death of his partner.
This is the year that my first novel came out. Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit, a creation I was working on since before my first marriage and finally finished last year, was released to five star reviews.
This is the year my second novel came out. Lilly Prospero And The Mermaid’s Curse followed Magic Rabbit, and I’m told by many that it is even better.
This is the year my second daughter was born. Baby B made her way into the world three weeks early after two months of labour (I kid you not). She bust her way out of me as I cursed, swore, shrieked, and threatened to murder The Boy in his sleep if he dare come near me again.
This is the year I had to sit in hospital for days with my new baby in an incubator to combat her jaundice.
This is the year my first daughter had to process suddenly being ripped apart from her mother as I spent more time in hospital away from her than I’ve ever spent away from her in her life. The year I realised how strong she actually is to cope with this kind of trauma. She was rattled and upset, she acted out and cried, but she also held it together and has come out the other end smarter and more mature than I could ever imagine a three year old being.
This is the year my first daughter started nursery school. Miss Rose discovered a love of education and has become the darling of her teachers for her intelligence, her charm and her behaviour.
This is the year dreams came true.
I am now the mother of two little girls, a dream I never believed could become reality. I am a genuine official career writer, recognised by law and the tax man and being read by actual fans, a dream I have worked towards since before I could actually write words.
If being thirty has brought about this many amazing experiences, this many dreams becoming reality, then what could come next? What will next year throw at me?
I don’t yet have my shit together. I don’t yet feel like I’ve reached adulthood, at least not how I always imagined it being. But what I do have is the budding flower of the dream life I always wanted. The life that has a beautiful and exhausting family behind it, and exciting dream career to work my arse off for ahead of it.
Thank you thirty, you’ve been the best year imaginable. Thirty one, you’ve got some work to do to achieve something equally awesome.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!