“Just think, you’ll be halfway to 60!” said my (supposedly) good friend Hema, laughing at my shocked expression.
“Oh my god, 60!” I replied, “My heart jumped into my throat when you said that!”
In a few short days, I’ll be thirty years old. Thirty! When I think of a thirty year old, I think of someone who has her life together. A woman. Possibly with a designer handbag and matching underwear. I looked at my reflection in the clothing store. Messy hair, chipped nail polish, cheap t-shirt, old jeans, broken sunglasses sitting askew, and what was that around my mouth? Oh, cookie crumbs. Of course. As the great Britney Spears once said, “I’m not a girl… not yet a woman.”
I grabbed a briefcase looking Marc Jacobs handbag and office looking black Herve dress off the shelf, and was about to ask Hema if I should buy them because I’m almost thirty, when I remembered that I work from home. And yet… could I pack a lunch and pop on the dress just to walk into my room and pretend it’s an office? The fact that I think that would be fun proves that I am not yet a proper grown-up.
Proper grown-ups know when to schedule dr’s appointments and how to balance checkbooks (what does that involve?) but for me, many simple tasks are immensely complicated, causing my friends to shake their heads and sigh, “Oh Leash.” Like air planes and how early you need to arrive to catch them. And how to have a phone that works overseas. And how to not get lost.
“Ok, so what time is your flight to London again?” asked my friend Kate a few months ago. She was concerned I wouldn’t have enough time to ride a bicycle to the Eiffel Tower, but I was insisting on going. It had been a year since I had been in Paris, and with my schedule only allowing three days; I was determined to pack as much in as I could.
“Flight’s at 4pm. I figure if I leave here at 2pm I should be fine.” I replied, unconcerned.
“Alright just stick by the Seine and you won’t get lost. It’s 12:30 now, you should be back by 1:30 at the latest.”
At 2:15 I arrived back at her apartment, breathlessly explaining how I thought I would take a shortcut back, but having only my terrible sense of direction to guide me, I’d gotten hopelessly lost.
Racing to the train station was made more difficult by my heavy luggage; I had to stop every few steps to change hands. Back home I was proud at myself for only taking a carry-on for three weeks of travel, but now, I really wished I had wheels.
I missed the first train because I spent 20 minutes looking for the ticket booth (and turned a bright shade of red when it was pointed out that it was right behind me), and the train I caught stopped at every single station on the way to Charles de Gaulle. The woman in the seat opposite me looked on with concern at my bouncing leg, how I was chewing my nails, and the way I obsessively looked at the time on my iPhone.
Bursting out of the train, I ran as fast as my over packed bag would allow, and after initially trying to check-in at the wrong kiosk, finally was told I had missed the cut-off time by one minute, and there were no available flights for two days. The Air France ticket sales rep did not even try to contain his laughter as I tearily pleaded that I had to get to London tonight to see Harry Potter, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to interview the cast. Yeah, I know, I have real problems and he should have felt sorry for me.
I sat on the airport floor for 10 minutes feeling hopeless, before I kicked myself for being overly dramatic, crawled off the floor, and got back on the train to Gare Du Nord. There, I ran to the Eurostar desk, bought the last available train ticket to London, and was surprised my credit card allowed me to buy First Class. God bless overdrawing!
Arriving in London without a phone, internet access or any contact numbers, I decided to chance it and go straight to the screening location.
“Hi!” I yelled at a girl walking past the reception desk, startling her. My words came out in a rush, “I’mAliciaIwassupposedtobeatthe6pmscreeningbutImissedmyplane hadtocatchtheEurostarandmyinterviewsareonTuesdayI’msosorrysosorry!”
“It’s ok,” she said, taken aback at my panic, “There is another screening in ten minutes. We can fit you into that.”
“THANKYOU!” I yelled, a little too loudly.
At midnight I finally arrived at my friend Erin’s flat, she was in a panic as I was hours late, and no one had heard from me since I left Kate’s apartment in Paris. Not to mention my other poor friend who was left waiting in London after I promised to meet him for an 8:30pm dinner. Erin made me a nice cup of tea, smiled, and said…“Oh Leash.”
It’s not the idea of growing older that worries me, or having wrinkles (that’s why Botox was invented), it’s more the fact that I won’t be able to have as many excuses. At my age, my mother was married and had two kids. My Facebook feed is choc-full of old school friends, smiling with husbands and babies. Even Beyonce, who shares my birthday, is married, pregnant, and owns a couple of Grammys. I like to think of her as my (slightly) more successful twin sister.
But to give myself credit, I did move overseas and somehow manage to get work, a place to stay, a great group of friends, and a car… well, after failing my first driving test for driving on the wrong side of the road. Yep, I even gave myself an “Oh Leash” on that one. At least I passed on the second try, probably because I took Kate’s advice: “Just do the opposite of everything you think you should do and you’ll be fine.” You’ll be pleased to know I use that logic at every intersection I encounter, so I stay on the correct side of the road. Though I’ll still occasionally get into my car on the passenger side, wondering where the steering wheel went. Oh Leash.
But though my Amazon wish list is overflowing with (un-purchased) books like “How To Be More Dynamic And Successful”, “Vegan Cooking For One”, and “Men Love Bitches”; maybe growing older doesn’t mean you need to have your life together. Maybe it’s more about becoming comfortable with who you are, and not as concerned that you might not fit in with the crowd. In a sea of skinny, denim short clad Hollywood girls, all who seem to have the same long Victoria’s Secret type hair extensions, I’m fine with being a curvy, short-haired, jeans and t-shirt girl. These days it’s not very often that I find myself in front of the mirror, pinching my stomach and wondering how long my hair would take to grow (never underestimate the power of repetition when that’s all you see!)
Today I was rifling through my old diary to find my confirmation number for the Green Card lottery, my heart sinking as I realised it wasn’t in there. Without it, you can’t check whether you’ve been selected to receive a US Green Card. Damn, I was sure I wrote it down. Oh Leash.
But flipping through once more, I came across an entry from September 4, 2010.
“Next year, I’ll be 30…” I had written, “So where do I want to be in one year’s time?”
Underneath there was a list of ten items I’d completely forgotten about. Scanning the list, I noticed with excitement that I had done almost all of them. “Move overseas”. Yep. “Work hard to cover all of the major film festivals, red carpets, and movie press junkets for Australian TV” Yes, yes and yes. “Get out of debt”. Done. “Travel more”. Uh-huh. I had achieved almost all of my “30 year old” goals. I couldn’t believe it. Oh Leash!
There was just one that remained un-checked. “Find Love”. Ok, I’m transferring that to my list for 31. Stay tuned.