I am 29 years old today and the sun is shining (despite the brrrr cold weather). As I mentioned in previous posts, I am not usually a “birthday” type of guy. I don’t like to celebrate birthdays.
This year is different. I am genuinely excited about a weekend of planned celebrations with my son, girlfriend, sister, nephew and friends. But more to the point is the fact I’m taking a much more optimistic outlook in life.
I have one year left of my 20s. I received an email today from an old university friend wishing me well on my birthday and advising me: “Make the most of the last year of your 20s, mate. Clubbing, girls and fun! Next year you grow up!”
A couple of years ago that’s the precise ethic I would have lived by. But now I’m a Dad, a devoted boyfriend, a loving brother and proud Uncle and these are the things that matter to me. I’m not interested in “clubbing, girls and booze.” Everything I need I have and I want to keep hold of.
So rather than focus on this being the final year of anything, I have to just look at this as the year I have to achieve everything I would have wanted to achieve by the time I’m 30. I set myself a target when I turned 18 of having achieved the following before I turn 30:-
- Get a Degree.
- Speak 5 languages near fluently
- Have my own business providing a comfortable income.
- Own my own house.
I’ve achieved all but one. The languages. Inclusive of my Mother tongue languages, I speak 4 with fluency. I speak the basics of a couple of others but have decided to pursue one of those very seriously this year – a more obscure one.
Swahili. 3 year ago I was supposed to go to Kenya. In preparation I started learning the basic, but just prior to my planned trip, there was a lot of violence breaking out in the country and the real threat of civil war, so the UK travel agencies suspended all travel there. As such, I went to Cuba instead and stopped learning the Swahili.
I plan to go to Kenya in Summer 2011 though and between now and then will learn as much of the language as I can. It’s a great language for English speakers to learn as it’s pronounced exactly as it is written down (since it was first written down by English colonialists). My target is to be able to speak it with a good level of fluency and to assist, I have enrolled in a course.
My Mother thought my targets above were really wonderful to have, when I shared them with her around my 18th birthday. But she was disappointed that my targets did not include being married and being a Father. I am now a Father of course. And well, there’s a whole year before I turn 30, so who knows – I might have fulfilled everything she would have wanted too