My shopping basket rattled along the aisles of Tesco’s Express. Three bottles of cheap Prosecco and one for luck. And just so I didn’t look like the local alky; a loaf of bread and a pint of milk. I jangled my way over to the checkout, plonked my goods onto the counter and smiled coyly at the young lad behind the till (note: YOUNG LAD!) He looked at me for a second, and then his eyes darted to the bottles in front of him. “Have you got any ID, my darling?” He enquired, in a sugary sweet Somerset drawl. My cheeks glowed a brighter shade of crimson as I scrambled, clumsily, through my purse to find any form of ID I could clasp my hands on. OMG! He thinks I look young! My inner-self shrieked, hopping up and down in sheer delight.

 

Although I kept cucumber cool (or so I thought!) a part of me wanted to reach over and kiss him. A long-exaggerated smacker on the lips that lingered beyond the rules of acceptability. A borderline ‘sexual harassment’. As he gazed down at my driving licence, a frown formed in the centre of his brows. “My apologies, my dear. You just look so young!” My cucumber-composure dropped to the floor with a THUD. “I am 30, ya know!” I gloated, my head almost tilting off its axis. “Well, you definitely don’t look it!” He grinned. And with a newfound confidence lining my once-empty tank, I strutted towards the doors with fresh poise. ‘I’ve still got it!’ I whispered, victory-punching the air.

 

“Umm, Miss. You forgot your shopping!” a voice called. “Oh, Crap!” I muttered, blood running to my head. Dignity desiccated, I scurried sheepishly over to reclaim my jangling bags, an audience now lapping up my humiliation. Overly-keen to make a dash for the exit – (Curse you, declining eyesight!) – I walked SPLAT, BANG into the glass doors.

 

 

Smooth, Amanda, real smooth.

 

 

 

Thirty. It came at me out of nowhere. Like a pouncing tiger, it grappled me to the ground, looked me square in the eyes and snarled, “It’s over now bitch! It’s over now!” With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, there was nothing to do but surrender. And so, I picked myself up, dusted myself down and sighed …

 

 

‘Holy Crap! I’m THIRTY.’

 

 

Okay, okay. Maybe it didn’t quite happen like that. Let’s just say, I had a less dramatic entry into my third decade. I woke up – slightly hungover – clambered out of bed and …DUN DUN DUN… felt exactly as I did 12 hours previous. A little more tired – it’s got to be said –  but the same. The truth was – declining eyesight aside – I didn’t feel any different. I mean, what was I expecting? A chin full of sprouting whiskers?

 

I might not have any many sprouting hairs yet, but there are a few things that just aren’t the same as they were way back when. Sure enough, I look relatively young from afar, but, under closer examination, I’m looking more ‘eye bags’ galore than hottie who… just walked into a door?! And what are these in the centre of my brows? Two prominent frown marks? Yep, they used to come and go as they pleased, but now they’ve taken a more ‘permanent’ residence. “Mum, why are you always angry?” My little boy asks. “I’m not, my dear. That’s just my face!” I sigh, debating whether to swallow my pride and surrender to the wrinkle-busting Botox. Honestly, I’ve tried every natural remedy in the book to rid these godforsaken lines. Frown marks, be gone! But no amount of sleeping with duct tape between my eyes, layering on foul smelling concoctions or derma-rolling the SHIT out of my face, will make them disappear. It looks like I’ll just have to embrace these bad boys…

 

 

 

 

‘Holy Crap! I’m obsessed with anti-ageing!’

 

 

Since turning 30, I have developed a love for all things anti-ageing. You’ve got to claw back the years, right? If it’s got anti-ageing properties in it, count me in! It’s true, I once considered a semen facial (I kid you not!) Some might say this is extreme, I say “anything to banish the wrinkles!” …Well, that was until I stopped to query where they might obtain said semen? Is there a donation bank for this kind of thing? *Shudder*

It’s funny, I care more about my health now than I did back in my youth. I take the “My body is a temple” mantra to a WHOLE new level. Junk food? – no thanks! Sun worship? – where’s the factor 50? Mysterious ache or pain? – fetch me a doctor, it must be cancer! Furthermore, I now find myself scanning the ingredients on bottles and packets like I actually know what these long scientific words mean. My younger self would be rolling her eyeballs at the mere thought…

And, if she ever knew that I had converted to vegetarianism, she’d disown me in one bite of a McChicken Sandwich.

I use the term ‘vegetarian’ loosely. I was three-quarters through a Pepperoni the other day before realising I was eating what was – most probably pigs anus – and spat it out in disgust. The memory, you see! This fades along with the looks.

 

 

 

‘Holy Crap, I’m losing my memory!’

 

 

“Where’s my bag?” has become a running theme in the Lyle household. “Umm, mum. It’s on your shoulder!” My daughter kindly points out for the 8th day running. I should have known, it weighs a flipping tonne. If it isn’t my bag or finding my keys in the fridge, it’ll be my phone. As I ferociously text my husband with beads of sweat pouring from my panicked little head.

 

Have you seen my phone? I've lost it again!

 

I rashly receive a reply saying…

 

 "Mandy, it's not your phone you’ve lost. It’s your *insert profanity* mind!"

 

 

Oh crap! It was in my hand all along. Silly me!

 

And that bloody handbrake! It doesn’t take a scientist to stop a car from coasting, right? Wrong! Sadly, for me, I just can’t seem to grasp the simple ‘yank and click’ motion. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve found myself rolling down a hill in complete and utter hysteria…and all because I had forgotten that simple and yet so effective click of the handbrake. With one leg out of the car, trying to prevent 3000 pounds worth of metal from moving, I frantically yell “F*CK, F*CK, F*CK!” While passers-by look at me, bewildered. That, or they are screaming…Alas! I yank the handbrake back into its rightful position, skimming the car behind me by one 8th of a centimetre. No damage done. We can all breathe again. Now, where did I get to? *Scratches head* Ah yes, and breaaaaaathe!

 

 

“Holy Crap! I’m turning into a hippie!”

 

And exhale…

 

Never in my wildest twenty-something dreams did I imagine myself turning into such a … hippie! My daughter now calls me the ‘Crazy Buddha lady’. Why? It might have something to do with my expansive collection of Buddha’s which now inhabit every free square inch of our house. “But I just need one more Buddha!” I yelp, prying the ‘laughing fat guy’ from my daughter’s hands. “Look at his face! See how much he’s loving life!” I gush. “But mum, you’re not even Buddhist!” She snaps, tugging it from my relenting arms and placing it back in the homeware section. (Oh, I do love a homeware section!) Laughing Buddha’s aside, no one seems to appreciate my love for the joss stick either …

It’s called aromatherapy, my dear, and it’s good for the soul!

 

Once a sucker for reality TV, I now fill my evenings with yoga and deep meditation. There’s just something about the sound of trickling waterfalls and the sweet chirp of birds that makes me … FALL INTO A COMA!

 

Going deeper

 

Deeper down

 

Deeper still

 

Three times deeper now.

 

Damn you, Michael Sealey! I never did find out my Spirit Guide’s name. 2.23 seconds into your guided meditation and I’m a goner!

 

 

‘Holy Crap! Sleeping has never felt so good!’

 

 

When did sleeping start to feel so good? And when did it become one of my favourite pastimes? I would sleep all day if I could! Just curl up with a blanket and hit the snooze button. Hard to do when my kids are yanking my eyelids open… “Mum! You fell asleep in your cereal again!” Sometimes I feel like my life has hit the fast-forward button. A whirl of flashing pictures. Whizzing nanoseconds of nostalgic reminisces. A microscopic glimpse and they’re gone. Where did the past 10 years fly by? When did I become a grown-up? I mean, an actual grown-up? And when did everyone else become grown-ups too?

 

 

‘Holy Crap! We are ALL grown-ups!’

 

 

Adulting – we’re all at it! Whether it’s walking down the aisle, signing the deeds to a new home or popping out a baby, this ‘settling down’ phenomenon seems to be spreading out of control! At thirty, it’s now seen as abnormal to be anything but ‘settled’ into married life. Crazy, huh?

 

When did we become so… dare I say it…boring? Once the life and soul of the party, now the mere thought of going out has me stifling a yawn. In fact, I’ll do anything to avoid the five-day hangover that will inevitably follow… Yes, I said FIVE DAYS! 

 

“Sorry, I can’t come out tonight. I need to tend to my geraniums!”

 

 

It’s a plausible excuse, right? Seriously, though, I just can’t hack it anymore. Yelling over thumping music, wrestling through crowds, dancing awkwardly in a corner where no one can judge my 90’s dance moves. Jeez… it’s making me tired just thinking about it.

 

And as I slip away unnoticed, I feel glad to close the door behind me (literally) to a life that I no longer want any part of. And so, I hang up my dancing shoes, pull my feet into a pair of sheepskin slippers and ponder… “Maybe I DO feel different?”  

 

My twenties were fun, it must be said. But as I settle down for the night, surrounded by cheery Buddhas and burning joss sticks, I’m content with the fact that I am growing older. My perma-frown might state otherwise, but it’s true – there is much joy in being thirty.  I am smarter, happier and more confident than I have ever been. Thirtyhood – I’m ready for ya!

 

And as I embrace the fact that I am now a fully-fledged adult, I sigh deeply and say…

 

 

“Holy Crap! I forgot my handbrake!”

 

 

 

“The only time you really live fully is from 30 to 60. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.” – Hervey Allen 

 

 

 

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