‘Under Pressure’ (the David Bowie and Queen version) is probably one of my all-time favourite songs. If it were a movie I’d give it 10 pumpkins. It’s perfect.
It’s perfect for describing how I’ve felt in the lead-up to my 30th birthday. Not content with just sliding into a new decade like most folk, I decided it would be more appropriate to skydive into my thirties with a whole list of youthful challenges completed.
Of course, as the big day drew closer so did the Top 30 Challenge deadline…
I surprised myself by completing 28 challenges with time to spare. In the past year I’ve… gotten engaged, run a half marathon, become a qualified scuba diver, travelled recklessly, cared for some living creatures and murdered a living creature, swam with dolphins and sharks, visited India and Nepal, enjoyed AFL and league, wakeboarded, skydived, banned myself from TV and the fridge, chowed down on homemade maccas and homemade monstrosities, appeared on TV and disappeared into the wilderness, worked and played, watched more movies than you can poke a stick at, spent money and made money, gone all out and phoned it in, reunited with old friends, and… blogged the living daylights out of every last minute of it.
But there are the things I didn’t do too. I didn’t actually *prove* that I’ve been learning to sing all year… does this photo of me with my teacher count?
Oh, and the real kicker?
I didn’t finish my damn book.
Anyone who’s ever been to uni knows that it’s Murphy’s Law that whenever you leave an assignment to the last minute, your computer and/or printer WILL fail you at the final hour. Just in case you were wondering, it’s also exactly what happens when you leave writing a book to the last minute.
But you have no idea how close I was! I was just one chapter away when my computer sounded its death knell. It just up and died as I was penning my ultimate chapter.
BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!!!
One chapter away! Really! I already knew what I wanted to write even! IT support (as I lovingly call him) was still at work, so there was nothing for me to do but switch it off and on again and until even I could admit defeat. By the time he arrived home, it was too late to resuscitate her.
If you exclude the words I wrote that have since been flung into the abyss, I made it to 22,692 words. Pretty damn close to the end target I had planned for my pre-teen fiction. (And no, I won’t tell you what it’s about. It’s as embarrassing as it is anti-climactic at this point, and it’s also in need of about as much work as an aging soap opera star).
But hey, my first draft is close to complete and I’m promising myself to finalise the editing this year and maybe even (if I’m brave enough) send it to an unsuspecting publisher or two, if only to get a crisp rejection letter in reply that I can frame and hang on my wall.
The book has been a labour of obligation, rather than love, but I really do feel touchably close to a lifelong dream. And, believe it or not, the writing of a pre-teen fiction is less “cop out” than I might have you believe. In fact, this almost-book is the culmination of a dream that has followed me since my own pre-teen years – A pitiful little gift back to the world that gave me the ‘Babysitters Club’, without which I may not have the confidence to do half the crackpot things I set out for myself this year and in life in general.
It probably sounds ridiculous, but anyone who loved those books as much as I did probably took at least as much away from them. It was feminism in its most embryonic form – A gift to young women everywhere and a whole bunch of fun. In some ways, they were the most important books I’ve ever read…
Okay, okay, that sounds like a desperado trying to justify her book-writing decisions, and maybe it is. But I genuinely do believe in honouring the intellect of young people, and maybe my silly little book will do that one day – even if only for my own children and the children I know.
I’ll admit that I folded under pressure today. In fact, when my computer decided it wasn’t going to play nice, my best response was to walk up the street and treat myself to a different type of pressure – a massage. Because, you know, sometimes life gets in the way, and sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan. And sometimes you just need some stress relief so you don’t set fire to your own house just to destroy the infidel computer inside…
Despite what some may perceive to be a failure, however, I did enjoy my thirtieth birthday today. In truth, I don’t feel any different from yesterday (if only because the obligation of a book completion still looms over my be-wrinkled head).
The morning was pretty tragic – I spent far too much of it in the evil local post office and nearly experienced my second semi-Bridezilla moment. The rest of the day, however, was pure magic. I fielded lots of beautiful calls, texts and Facebook messages. I got lots of “happy birthdays” and a rather enthusiastic “onion!” from my darling little nephew. I had breakfast in bed, birthday carbs and carbonation for lunch, and a nostalgia-inducing Nepalese meal for dinner.
Oh, and my daring fiance proposed again with a stunning new (old) art deco/retro French ring and the World’s cutest smile.
What I’m trying to say is, life is damn good and I thank you for sharing the past year of my life with me. I may not be an author… yet… but I am the World’s luckiest thirty-year-old. And, hey, JK Rowling was 32 when she wrote the first Harry Potter! Bring on the next thirty! Marriage, children and maybe even grandchildren…
And so, after everything, I guess this is goodbye…
Time to write your own story.