Turned 30


Today marks three decades of my life. I turned 30 today and celebrated this game-changing milestone with some of my closest and dearest friends and family. Overwhelmed with love I cried while reflecting on being content and in love with life when silence and darkness fell at a decent 3.30am (last night/ this morning). Factor in my almost third all-nighter in a row leaving me severely sleep deprived,  having a blood alcohol limit giving me the dizzy spells and being surrounded by gifts of flowers and wise words inscribed on recycled card leaving me proud, I couldn’t have asked for anything more or less.

It’s now Sunday evening and after a mammoth weekend of a jammed packed Landcare schedule as well (the Gold Coast Landcare Forum was yesterday), and still sleep-deprived and again overwhelmed with love, I asked myself, how could I genuinely respond to so much gratitude?

To start with something I thought I would share my 30th Birthday Speech. This isn’t exactly what I had said but it goes along the same lines. I definitely added in a lot more punch and thank you’s…  thank you for sending me much love and lovely messages.

My 30th Birthday Speech

A week ago I found a slither of time. I was resting up, perhaps taking a mid-afternoon nana-nap and I started thinking. What’s the deal with turning 30? Why do some people shy away from turning 30, while others embrace the third decade? What actually happens when you turn 30?

I jumped onto Google and looked into it… Googling “what happens when you turn 30?”. According to science we get better.

You see our brains sharpen, we actually start to own our personality (rather than many), are less insecure, stress less (maybe), and most of all you finally feel free to be yourself.

For me that is unique.

On my 12th birthday I got a birthday card from a friend and there were three monkeys on the front. Two were doing the same thing, while the other one, the third monkey, was pulling a funny face. On the inside of the card it said, “Happy Birthday to the most unique person”.

At 12 years old I had an idea what unique meant but I wanted to be sure, so I looked it up. At that time I was shocked because all I ever wanted to be was like my friends, the same as them. It’s now 18years later and it all makes sense. I am unique, one of a kind and unlike anyone else. 

And I am unlike anyone else because of the people in my life and the experiences I have experienced.

Everyone here tonight has played a part in influencing me to be – unique.

To be born into a family full of love, differences and compassion, I am extremely lucky and thankful. Mum and Dad, you are two of the most inspirational people in my life. You have been my biggest fans and supporters when frustration to change the world ‘yesterday’ gets the better of me. I remember coming home from university one day and said to you [mum] how I want to be a park ranger and save The Spit. Your response was that I could save and do much more that just The Spit. Indeed I am working on that. Above all your love, generosity and passion for others to live a life they love has grounded me to follow in your footsteps and that is to give before I receive.

Miss Anna, my little sister. You are far from little; you have been my sunshine, definitely not my shadow. Your outlook on life, positivity and free spirit is what I admire the most. There are so many memories. From walking to the corner store across the park to buy lollies and then divide them equally on the cushions when we got home and then eat them at the same time so neither of us would miss out on what the other had shows the love and respect we have for each other. Then there are the moments when we just laughed at nothing, we laughed and laughed for no reason. You inspire me to be free – or at least live a non-scheduled day every once and while. Thank you for being the best little sister anyone could have and for making tonight incredibly special [because she organised the party].

There are a few more people I want to say something special to. So hang on!

Olaf, I am so glad you are here tonight to share this special occasion with me. You were the rock in my life when I most needed someone to be honest. When David was dying you were patient and most of all courageously honest. At the time I hated you for being honest. I frequently think of the conversation we had. To have that conversation you would have had so much courage. No one had that amount of courage to tell me the truth and that the stories I was telling myself weren’t true. This is what I admire about you and am [this much] more courageous having you in my life.

The Montoya’s – my second family. You are like a warm hug that keeps giving. You adopted me like your own daughter and sister and trusted me despite the circumstances we were in. Circumstances we never wished to be in but they were special times that have inspired us to live a life packed with meaning and purpose. It was a crazy rollercoaster with good times in the end like the crazy road trip we did to Yeepoon, and running out of petrol on the Bruce Highway at 3am, and me laughing at nothing because I still can’t understand Spanish! One day, I will get there with my Spanish and visit Colombia. It’s on the 30-something to do list.

Compassion, free spirit and courage have gotten me this far in life and I am stoked. When I was 20 I had ideas on what might have happened leading into my 30’s – things like meet a guy, get married, have kids, buy a house, and you know how the rest goes… ideas that haven’t happened. But I really couldn’t be more stoked.  

So what’s installed for the next 10 years, even 30 years?

I imagine myself waking up and it’s my birthday, so that means I am 40 today. It has been raining. The air is fresh and smells new. I can hear music in the background and children playing games. The dogs are sleeping outside. And I am in love with my best friend.

Sounds idyllic but not entirely a dream. I am working on it. I might have to ask out more random men at petrol stations or find a best friend willing to marry me.

What I do know is that I would have completed my PhD thanks to my awesome supervisors, travelled to Colombia and built up an epic organisation with epic people that is a game-changer for Landcare, that is Intrepid Landcare. I get to do stuff that matters everyday.

Now that brings me to the end of this speech, it’s not a tangent. Being unique has opened a life full of random opportunities and experiences. I’ll finish up with echoing what someone wise once said to me now a decade ago; “It is up to you what you want to do with your life, why not create a masterpiece”.

I am creating a masterpiece with each of you here tonight. You are all part of the masterpiece that I call my life.

A special shout out to Katherine, Maxine and Johanna for being the best girlfriends and Jesse for seriously inspiring me to go to the next level over the last year and to all my dearest Landcare junkies, especially Megan!

Raise your glasses and let’s toast to being unique and creating a masterpiece.

_ The End. Bring on the 30s.

Until next time thank you – again.

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