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At the age of ten life seems simple, it's all about running jumping and climbing trees. By eighteen you have discovered the opposite sex, alcohol and nightclubs. By twenty five you are your own person, confident and full of life. Suddenly you hit thirty. You find yourself questioning your choices from the years that have past, feeling slightly left on the shelf, wondering where your life is heading, juggling family and friends and faced with ever aging parents. You are not alone, welcome to 30 years and countinga sideways look at life in your thirties.

Face up to being grown up

Last  year I went to see Kate Nash play at a gig in London. I had a great time but the whole experience did leave me feeling rather old. While there was a real mixture of age groups at the gig a large majority of them were around the late teens early twenties bracket. I wouldn't go as far as saying that I was jealous of them but as they danced around without a care in the world singing at the top of their voices and spilling beer over their friends I was stood with my hands in my pockets worried that someone would nick my wallet and pondering about whether we would make the train home in time. I felt kind of self conscious about being there. Most of all I felt a sense of sadness knowing the period in their lives they are living through was well and truly behind me. It is said that youth is wasted on the young and certainly at the time I didn't really appreciate just what a great time I was having. Of course maybe I shouldn't be longing for the past. Maybe it is time to admit to myself that you're not 18 anymore.

There is something about your late teens which is such a special period in your life. For me (and most of my friends, trust me I was there) it was the period of  firsts. First pint in a pub, first nightclub, first proper girlfriend, first sexual experience, first time living away from home, first exposure to other cultures.....the list goes on and on. Everything was new. It all seemed like one long party and I had boundless energy to keep up with it.

One of the biggest and most life changing experiences of my teens happened when I was 18 back in 1997, I left home to attend university. I read (I never knew why they say that instead of studied) Applied science and forensic investigation at the University of Teesside which sounds more impressive than it was. Before leaving school a teacher had said to me that going to university was just as much about discovering yourself through socialising as it was about studying. I really took that advice to heart. I don't think I went a day without a pint in the three years that I was there. Every night there was a different club, bar or party to go to resulting in crazy stories to tell the next morning. In the summer when I returned home the story continued as the days were filled with working a crappy store job and the nights out on the town with Tom, Mark and Tris. Something always seemed to be happening and I always seemed to be in the middle of it.

Ten years later and the crazy nights seem to have left me. Sure I still have the odd one but on the whole a night out is now spent pretty much sitting around with my friends talking about what crazy nights out we used to have. The adventures seem to have stopped. Tom doesn't really drink anymore, Mark works funny shifts and I hardly see Tris at all due to his job. I can't even remember the last time we went out just the lads together. I miss that. Instead I find myself overweight, feeling that my life lacks any sort of direction and struggling to remember those once great stories.

I have still continued to knock back the pints but without drinking buddies it is a lonely affair and one which seems to be greeted with disapproval from my piers rather than an amusing episode. I feel a bit like Van Wilder (the guy who never left behind his college life) but without a party to go to anymore. In many ways my life seems to have grown up around me but I haven't. I still want those crazy, exciting and unpredictable times of my youth all those years ago. Society of course says I should settle down, have a steady 9-5 job and probably wear a tie as many have my friends have done with their lives but I feel disillusioned with society in general. At the heart of this blog are my regular rantings and at the heart of them is the need to reach out and discover that it is not just me who feels like this. That I'm not the only one who hasn't got all of their shit together yet.

Once upon a time it all seemed so limitless and now I find myself asking; is this it?

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