Most people dread turning 30. If they aren’t rich, married, at the top of some kind of Forbes list, own a home, etc, they see turning 30 as some kind of sign that they have failed in some way. Not me. I was ready for 30 at 25. I couldn’t wait! Birthdays are like national holidays to me and no matter how big or small the celebration, trust I plan on celebrating life each and every year. I mean, you can’t turn back time right, so why spend whatever time you have on earth dreading living…celebrate it!
With that said, I set out to celebrate 30 in a big way. I saved like a squirrel storing nuts so that I could do pretty much whatever I wanted for my Big 3-0 and boy oh boy did I have the time of my life! 2011 was the Year of 30 and my personal Eat, Pray, Love. I learned so much about life and myself. Some good, some bad, but all of it helped me grow. I can’t even begin to condense all that I experienced last year into a simple post, but I thought a good way to do it would be to tell you something I learned about myself in each place I visted this year:
Paris: I’m a completely different person when I travel alone. I’ve traveled alone before 30, but for my Year of 30 celebration I traveled alone ALOT. I discovered that I’m so much freer than when I’m with other people. Mostly because I feel the people I usually travel with don’t ‘get’ me or judge me in some way. When I was alone I was able to just be Danielle & indulge every whim and fancy…I need to figure out how to be that person at home also.
Jamaica: Trust that I can do it. I’ve jumped off of cliffs in Jamaica before, but this year when I jumped no one was there to catch me and I swore my non swimming behind would drown…but I didn’t. I made it to the surface and back to shore on my own. I thought I wouldn’t be able to do, but I’m stronger than I think, just need to trust myself more.
Curacao: I’m an explorer. I had a great time, but seriously the only real fun was on the beach and after a few days I was sick of it. I need real stimulation and you can’t get that in a resort town. I like to talk to people, ride the trains and really immerse myself in the city I’m in. Resort life is great, but for me I need adventure!
St. Croix: I’m Spicy! Let me tell you, the S.O. may not have wanted it, but ladies & gents everywhere I went I was bringing the boys to the yard for more than a damn milkshake. I’ve always thought I was a good looking girl, but this was the first time I felt like a hot and spicy sex kitten. No clue where that feeling came from, but men I met sure seemed to like it lol.
Spain/Italy: I Love Food! This may have already been obvious since I still need to take my ass to the gym, but in Spain & Italy I learned that I really, really love food! Everything tasted amazing over there and it just made me want to take as many cooking lessons as I can every where I go. Next up, Thai cooking lessons at the Blue Elephant in Bangkok!
Belize: I like taking pictures of myself. This year I think I took more pictures than I ever took in my entire life. I took pictures on the beach in Belize with two cutie white boys whose names I can’t remember. Pictures of me on a moped in Trini. Pictures of me in my apartment…just pictures, pictures, pictures…and I loved it!
Prague: I’m at peace when I’m traveling. In Prague all I did was wander the streets. Sit and read at fountains and be still. All the things I worry about or am anxious about constantly when I’m home didn’t exist. It was like some kind of Nirvana that I never wanted to end.
Trinidad: I need to learn more about my culture. I’m not Trini, but being there, surrounded by all of the culture just made me realize that I don’t know enough about my own. I know the basics, but I really need to take the time to truly understand the stock from which I came, maybe learning more about Guyana and Haiti will help me learn more about myself.
Bermuda: I’m more girly than I thought. I’m a hardcore tomboy, I never see myself as really feminine, but something about being in Bermuda changed how I saw myself. I wore maxi dresses (I hate dresses!), got spa treatments and even went on a date where I laughed and giggled like a teenager. Does this mean I will be wearing shoes and dresses all the time…hell effing no!, but it isn’t so bad being a girl…some times.
London: I love to dance! This year, for the first time in a LONG time I played mas…in LONDON!!! I’ve never played there before and it was amazing. I usually don’t dance, not because I can’t, but because I always feel like people are staring and judging me. However one thing I forgot during my mas hiatus was that Carnival is a judgment free zone! I had people pulling me to dance all day and night and before I knew it I forgot about who may or may not have been looking, let loose and danced, danced danced! I forgot how much I enjoyed dancing…and how tiring it was!
New Orleans/Chicago/Vegas: Dee Likes To Party! I’m soooo not a party girl. I prefer to sit in the corner and watch the scene, but for some reason all I did during my trips to these places was get my party on. I dougied on bars in Vegas, wobbled down the middle of Bourbon Street and drank so much alcohol in the Chi that my liver and kidneys left my body just to smack the hell out of me. Who knew that I liked to party?!
New York City: I play well with others. The last month of the year I met an amazing group of strangers turned friends who seriously changed my life in one night. I’m not one to let people in and even if I do the walls are still high and Fort Knox tough, but these people and their genuine spirits melted all anxieties away. I’ve always felt like I didn’t play well with others, but really what it was, was that I never felt I could be myself with others, I always felt judged in some way, but not with this group. Not saying that we will all be BFFs for life or anything, but God definitely put them in my world for a reason because the minute they came around I felt a huge weight lift. I can’t wait to see how our budding friendships evolve this year.
I learned a few more things about myself this year:
- I take EVERYTHING personally and soooo resent certain people for things they don’t even know they have done to hurt my feelings or piss me off. Gotta work on that.
- I STILL need to take my FAT ASS to the gym and I am seriously procrastinating out of some kind of fear. Gotta dig deep on that one.
- I AM FEARLESS!!! During my Year of 30 I ziplined, skydived, cliff dived, took surf lessons, stomped grapes and even went hunting. Even when I was scared shitless I pushed through and made it out semi unscathed lol. Fear holds many of us back from doing so many things, but for 30 I realized that the only thing to fear is a life not fully lived and I refuse to be an unsung song!
- My life can be amazing ALL THE TIME! I saved 5 years to make 30 amazing, and it was, but this year an important lesson I took away was that I don’t need to wait for a special birthday, occasion or even other people to make my year amazing. All I need is me and if I want an amazing life…all I have to do is live it.