Turning 30 has been one of the best things that ever happened to me. I feel like I am on the other side of a whole lot of confusion and growing pain and directionlessness. Throughout my twenties turning 30 had always been framed as something women would dread, because wrinkles and the “inner clock” and the time passing through our fingers like fine sand. Honestly, fuck that.
As a teenager I was super easy prey for anything comforting – I started working at 12 and I mainly spend my hard earned cash on things that were meant to ease my insecurity, like make up, clothes and drinks. I remember the day of my first period like yesterday, how random it seemed and how unwelcome. A few month later I saw a gynaecologist and went on the pill for the next 12 years of my life. For many of these years I even took the pill year round, meaning that my body`s natural cycle was suppressed before I even got to know it. Now don`t get me wrong – there are lots of good reasons for being on the pill and there is no shame in that choice whatsoever. I just wonder how much this is related to our sense of our life`s journey, the milestones we reach or are meant to reach and our ideas about identity, time and possibilities. And this actually never felt like a choice to me, like many other things around that time.
Collectively we are incredibly disconnected from our bodies and, as an extension, from our needs and our inner knowing. If you are reading this and you feel it too, please don`t blame yourself. We are so restricted by gender norms, Western beauty ideals and consumerism that it has become hard to just appreciate time passing, things changing and growing old as a beautiful thing. If I´d soak up very message I got from advertising, the bottomline would be this: I have about five more fertile years, after that I am past it and if I don`t even try to be pretty, I am doomed to die old, alone and undesirable.
If you`re researching history beyond the white Western male-dominated canon it becomes clear that eradicating rituals, traditions and wisdom traditionally practiced by women has been both strategic and incredibly effective. Without a sense of time, space and meaning we are much more likely to live fearfully and to adapt and assimilate to the mainstream around us. I don`t think that more and more people talking about “The Great Remembering” of folk medicine, story telling and earth-based spirituality is a coincidence, I think it is actually a very sensible survival strategy in very uncertain, deeply troubled times.
2014 has been a hard year for me, so I thought a lot about how I wanted to mark my 30th this year. So much has changed dramatically in the last 12 months and I don`t think I have ever been as authentically and sustainably happy as I am now. I am a big believer that when it comes to our own dramas, dividing and conquering is a good idea. When you´re constantly tired, overwhelmed and anxious changing “your whole life” is too big a task. Choose one thing and giving it all your heart. I chose to focus on building a business and deepening my faith and it turned out that once some basic things like my income and day to day freedom was sorted, a lot of other stuff fell into place.
I turned my 30th birthday into a three week, five city celebration with everything I love – community, food, deep self-care, travel, magic and adventure. I began in Berlin by inviting some family members and friends to stay in an apartment I had rented for the occasion. We had delicious dinner the night before, got tipsy on cocktails and told old stories. On the day itself we all went to the spa and floated around in salty water listening to beautiful music after sipping fancy green juices. Later in the night friends came over and we all shared cakes and hugs. The morning after, the first day of my thirties, was a new moon and 11/11 – could not have asked for more magic. I flew to Marrakech on a honeymoon with myself, checked into a beautiful riad and just hung out on the roof terrace with the moon and some books. It was perfect, with roses on my bed and romantic visits to the spa. A few days later I travelled into the Sahara and saw the milky way, one of the most beautiful experience of my life.
The next stop is Brighton before I am going back to Hamburg to celebrate with my extended family in my home town, so its a full circle. I did spend money on this which felt a bit extravagant, but it actually wasn`t about the money at all. I bought myself some time and some freedom and I marked a life event in a way that was meaningful to me. I think we all need more of this – orientation in time and space through rituals we have created ourselves. I see a lot of broader connections in this – I think, for example, that the way we mistreat nature and the planet is only possible because we are pretty disconnected from the seasons and the rhythm of life, to a point were we have lost our understanding for the interconnectedness of everything in the universe. Rituals are important because they provide comfort by grounding us in our own values. You don`t have to sing to the full moon naked, but maybe you can light a candle for yourself more often.
If you were worried about growing older and you wanted my advice, I`d tell you this: You are as powerful as you allow yourself to be. Let the space around you become so dark and so quiet by cutting out all the crap that you can really hear your own voice. Realise that wether or not you want children is a decision only you can make. Be careful with the compromises you make. Trust your intuition. Don`t trade your own sanity for worldly approval. Be fiercely unconcerned with opinions of people who do not share your values. Remember that your ancestors are far greater in number than your immediate birth family and that they have successfully walked many paths you might not feel courageous enough to walk yet. Trust that things will unfold as they need to. You are not alone in anything.