ON TURNING 30 AND FINALLY ‘GETTING IT’

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“Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard and bears significant responsibility for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse.”

I am due to turn 30 in a couple of weeks. Wow, did that creep up quickly. Yet, I must say, I have lived a big life so far. I have some incredible achievements under my belt and I also have an extensive list of experiences titled: Well, that was a shit idea...

Speaking of lists, each birthday, I make notes about the year that was and what I have learned. But this year, there is no list. There is one major life lesson I am slowly, but surely, wiring into my brain.

That lesson is this: guilt is a pointless emotion.

Guilt’s purpose is to keep us in line with our own moral code. But what if our own moral code was built upon other people’s ideas of who we should be. Or, translated from society. Or, derived from poor self-worth.

As women, we run a guilt track in our minds all day. The melody sings I should, I should, I should.

I should be better. I should have said that differently. I should be prettier, smarter, more successful. I should wash the sheets. I should be working. I should pick those jeans up off the floor. I should clean the shower today. I should be a better girlfriend/daughter/friend/employee. I should cut out the sailor-mouth.

What I have learned is that most of the guilt is a waste of time and energy. If we want to become happy, successful, prosperous people, we have to find a way to release it. And this has been one of the hardest things for me to do in my life. It is the curse of one who forever has words in her head.

As I approach the big sayonara to my 20s, I am realising that I must have made some strides in this area. On the weekend, I lay in bed curled in my duvet all day watching Scrubs re-runs and I didn’t feel bad. At lunch, I decided I would walk around the block and buy a huge burger and I would come back and eat it in the sheets, even though they were going to smell like takeaways for two days. I considered putting a bra on – then decided against it. It was my day off, surely my breasts also deserved a break from being pushed up to my chin. I thought about changing my bed t-shirt – it is one my boyfriend gave me that reads I fuck on the first date with a photo of a big fat kid. But, I just popped a cardi over top instead. I surveyed my room, which was in desperate need of a tidy – but decided it could wait. Today was not that day.

I know what you’re thinking…woah there rebel.

But to me, these small things meant big things.

It meant I was finally starting to learn the art of letting go.

And aside from a Chloe bag, there really isn’t a better gift a girl can give herself for her 30th birthday…

Much love XX

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Hi, I’m Katie. I am a kiwi neuroscientist with a love for consuming and creating content. This site is where I share my personal thoughts and the thoughts of incredible minds from around the world. PhD in Neuroscience, University of Otago.

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