Mel’s Top 10 Things That Happened After Age 30

THEME: GMGM 2016!

Editor’s Note: Each writer submitted a list of her Top 10 Anything. These lists will be published over the next few days as we usher in the New Year. We hope 2016 is the year that shakes your snow globe – in the best way possible.

These are just some of Mel’s evolutions in choice. It’s a list that starts with wine and gets real deep.

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by Melissa

  1. Choosing proper wine: from sugar pops and cheap-ass cider as a teen, to two bottles of wine for a fiver at uni, to half price wine (still a fiver) in my early days as a young professional, to my current sophisticated palette. I now have grape preferences, region issues, and even began buying wine as an investment. Check me out.

  1. Preferring sensible shoes. As a thirty-something, I purchase geek shoes with foot support for my platypus plates of meat (cockney rhyming slang for feet). They are so much more comfortable than stilettos or unsupported ballerina pumps. When these bad boys die, I already know there will be two minutes’ silence.
  1. Developing an interest in pension schemes. Sadly I spent my 20s thinking I was invincible or would simply work forever like the tea pickers I met in Myanmar. Now, the prospect of retirement with a state pension is highly attractive. But here in the UK, you have to have paid into the system for 35 years. Flashbacks of me aged 21 telling my employer of six years I didn’t want the pay into this system make me shudder. To me, this is the pinnacle of being middle-aged.
  1. Reevaluating my health. I recently had a baby, and as my mother warned 14-year-old me with her sex education lesson, “Your body will look like an empty sack of potatoes after you have children”. Mum’s context revolved around being married before children to secure your man (highly feminist). However, I’m thinking about the larger question of what it means to look after my entire body and keep it diabetes-free. I wanna be here, fit and healthy for as long as possible. Only problem is, I’m lazier now than when I was in my 20s. I am staring my future fat middle-aged body right in the face and my reaction is to bake some flapjacks.
  1. Visiting museums differently. I think about heritage and lineage and the past in a different way from when I was in my twenties. I’m getting deeply sentimental. I wondering what things mean. I’m getting teary eyed. Deep, man. Deep.
  1. Facing mortality. This is probably more to do with having a baby than being over thirty. I never much cared if I died young. Now, I think twice about the things I do, like cycling without a helmet, even if it’s a quick ride to the shops and back. I question if I will ever bungee jump, skydive, ski. The thought of being dead now that I have so much more meaning in my world, terrifies me. I think about my boyfriend dying. My baby dying. My mother dying. Death. Death. Death.
  1. Marrying… someday. I used to like the idea of a white wedding, but these days my image is far more hippified. No white. No lace. No veil. My partner is even taking my surname, which makes him, in my eyes, the coolest man alive. Only issue is, we are super rubbish at making it happen. We did attempt organising our wedding a couple of years ago but lost “our date” to a cousin after our venue couldn’t confirm, and then we lost the venue a few months later when it went bust. We’re a little family now, and the thought of splashing out on one day makes me feel a bit sick, but the idea of not having all my family and friends at such a milestone lifetime event brings me down. So we are stuck in limbo, or as our Catholic relatives would say, “sin”.
  1. Eating the good stuff. Maybe it’s the zeitgeist. Maybe it’s is a sign of affluence. Maybe it really is me maturing, but I am much more interested in what is in my food. E-numbers. Trans fats. High Fructose Corn Syrup. Palm oil. Soya that’s devastating Amazon forests. Quinoa being too expensive for local Bolivians. Fair trade coffee beans and chocolate. Factory farming and over-milking dairy cattle. Almonds stopping rich Californians from swimming in their pools. I want happy food in my body.
  1. Feeling oversaturated by war news. I am sick of watching men kill each other and, in the process, woman, children and babies. Could be the internet’s easy access to information sharing, but I feel like my thirties is being dominated by war, guns and conflict. I have always wanted the same “world peace” for which beauty queens strive, but as I grow older, I can see how complex these situations are in Israel and Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan… My brain gets scrambled with the whole mess and a sort of apathy sets in; whereas in my twenties, I would have rallied as I did over Iraq.
  1. Realizing that progress is not effortless. As a child, adults were super beings. As a teenager, I aspired to be adult-like and mature for my age. Now I am certainly an adult, and it’s not always fun. I much prefer watching Wes Anderson movies and getting asymmetrical haircuts. I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want responsibility. I want the world to sort itself out while I sip whiskey sours and dunk fairtrade chocolate into my fairtrade tea whilst reading the latest edition of slimming magazine, pen poised on my notepad scribbling my 2016 fitness regime. But something that I can hands-on-heart say is fact, is that progress only happens with effort, i.e. when we work at it. Like the boy who wanted his boomerang to come back, first he has to throw it. If my twenties were winging it, my thirties are realising you reap what you sow.
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