My 30 at 30

I’m thirty now. 30. Officially a grown-up, at least in the eyes of my childhood self. Thirty once seemed like an impossibly long time away, and I suppose it was, looking back on who I was and who I’ve become. To celebrate and commiserate with myself, here’s my thirty things I’ve learned about being thirty in the few hours I’ve had to take it for a spin.

[dropcap]1[/dropcap]  The older you get, the smarter you get. There were things that I was better at ten or fifteen years ago, but in hindsight, I have only gotten more savvy and centred as time has gone on, which makes me optimistic and cheerful about the future.

[dropcap]2[/dropcap]  Friends are important, real friends are essential.

[dropcap]3[/dropcap]  Cooking used to be something annoying I had to do before I could eat, now it’s one of the most enjoyable ways I can spend time. I didn’t see that coming. Still don’t enjoy gardening though.

[dropcap]4[/dropcap]  Even though I’ve changed so much in my lifetime that I feel unrecognisable compared to wee baby Ben, I’ve only become more myself.

[dropcap]5[/dropcap]  Keep an open mind about your career. I once felt pretty smug about the fact that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Being a filmmaker is all I had ever wanted, and all I thought I’d ever want, but my ambitions and the world have changed. I’m grateful I got the chance to do what I wanted, but even more excited about the next adventure.

[dropcap]6[/dropcap]  Young people don’t take their opposite gender seriously, especially young men. I thought I did, but I really didn’t. Recent ugliness I’ve witnessed has made me more resolute in my support for gender equality, and thankful that I have healthy relationships with the women in my life. Remember, they’re just like us!

[dropcap]7[/dropcap]  The Pale Blue Dot image and speech blows my mind as much now as it did fifteen years ago. It’ll blow your mind too.

[dropcap]8[/dropcap]  I still don’t know what to do with my hair, but I’m getting there. If you have your hair game figured out, I salute you.

[dropcap]9[/dropcap]  Ditto clothes.

[dropcap]10[/dropcap]  I rarely go to bed later than midnight because I have to be up in the morning. This is a much more enjoyable shift than I expected.

[dropcap]11[/dropcap]  The most valuable skill I’ve ever developed is my ability to listen. It’s brought me great things in life.

[dropcap]12[/dropcap]  Don’t interrupt.

[dropcap]13[/dropcap]  Always sleep on a draft before sending it off. You’ll spot loads of stuff.

[dropcap]14[/dropcap]  Pain and heartbreak are as horrific as they are necessary to become a fully grown and rounded person. My capacity to heal has helped me shape and know myself, though seeking damage willingly is a toxic and dangerous trait.

[dropcap]15[/dropcap]  Be as generous as you can be, but avoid truly selfish people. You should never share with people you’ll end up resenting.

[dropcap]16[/dropcap]  Take care of your feet, they are the tyres of your body.

[dropcap]17[/dropcap]  Know and do what you’re good at, but don’t be afraid to be the worst at something. Even Jimi Hendrix sucked at guitar once.

[dropcap]18[/dropcap]  We’re all in this together.

[dropcap]19[/dropcap]  Be optimistic and assume the best of people. Better to be magnanimous and wrong than bitter and right.

[dropcap]20[/dropcap]  Fight shyness. There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, but getting to know other people easily is opening your life and your heart to a universe of possibilities.

[dropcap]21[/dropcap]  Getting up early is pretty much always worthwhile. That’s why it’s hard.

[dropcap]22[/dropcap]  Living in the future is cool if you think about it at all:


[dropcap]23[/dropcap]  Learning to enjoy things you didn’t before is a way to find happiness almost anywhere.

[dropcap]24[/dropcap]  Travelling is one of the best ways to spend time and money, as long as you venture out of your comfort zone.

[dropcap]25[/dropcap]  Nothing is static or absolute, life is a series of balancing acts and feedback loops. Making the journey isn’t like walking, it’s more like surfing.

[dropcap]26[/dropcap]  Don’t be afraid to cry (in moderation). (Warning! Spoiler for the finale for The US Office)

[dropcap]27[/dropcap]  A key to a healthy relationship is respect for one another’s passions. You get that for free if those passions are shared, but if not, take a genuine interest.

[dropcap]28[/dropcap]  Arrogance isn’t confidence, honesty is.

[dropcap]29[/dropcap]  It’s okay to be afraid, but sometimes you have to be brave as well.

[dropcap]30[/dropcap]  The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

Many thanks to Mr. Homer Goes To Washington for the awesome banner pic.

Extra! Extra! Blog Begets Blog!

Good news everyone, I've started a gaming blog! It's called No Robots, and it's where my enthusiasm for computer games flows into the world like Niagara Falls.

I write about current trends in gaming, some of my more interesting experiences, and at least once a week on a Friday I'll put up something beautiful or fascinating from the world of games, like this:

Or this:

I hope you'll swing by and check it out.


A Challenge

This year I’ve been trying something new; writing every single day. The limited term for this challenge is the 40 Days of Lent. A partially arbitrary period; I’m an avowed atheist, but there’s an air of sacrifice about and I’d be a fool to ignore it.

The idea came from a close friend, and we’ve been keeping in near-daily contact to keep one another on the straight and narrow. For the most part, we have been killing it, but we’ve hit some rough patches, and today is such a patch.

This is Day 16, and almost every fibre of my being is screaming for me to stop typing and put the head down, get some sleep. I’m feeling a little stuck – I have no shortage of ideas, I’ve been trying to space them out so that I can be sure to have something different to write about every day – my problem is motivation. I’m running low.

I didn’t write anything last night, so this post counts as one of my items, a warm-up to get caught up.

I recognise this feeling, I’ve felt it before as a photographer, videographer, guitarist, pianist and bassist, it’s familiar to most creatives, and it’s the reason this challenge is such an important exercise. Powering through this doldrum is what separates the professionals from the hobbyists. I could never get past it in my music, I’m no musician. I would drop the instrument for a while, anywhere from a fortnight to a year, and then pick it up again, feeling fresh and expressive. A professional musician doesn’t have that luxury, and when she gets past that “running up a sanddune” period, she will be a stronger musician for it.

Tonight is an opportunity for me to show myself how serious I am about being a committed creative writer. This post has been a warm-up – now I’m off to write down some thoughts and a couple of script pages or character outlines. It’s tough, but it’s a meaningful and valuable commitment in oneself.

I highly recommend it.