Recently I had a birthday. The one that they call thirty.
I spent the big day recovering from a spag bol and rainbow cake dinner and a rather entertaining game of charades the night before, then screaming like a kid as I tackled the six metre vertical drop/slide at the National Science & Technology Museum… Living it large!
There was however another reason to celebrate. With the arrival of my 30th birthday, came the deadline for my “30 Things To Do Before I’m 30” list.
The list, created in a moment of creativity and enthusiasm about 20 months before said birthday, started out as a simple folly, turned into a challenge and in the end became an impossible task. At the moment (a few months after the list was written) that I decided I would really try to complete the list, I quickly realised it would not be possible. I had been a little too “creative” when compiling my items! So I set myself a goal: get through fifty per cent, but aim for somewhere between 17 and 20.
So how did I end up?
I hit the half way mark about three days before my birthday! With a last minute dash to buy an original piece of art from my talented cousin (Number 26) and the generous gift of 30 Instant Scratchies from my beautiful friend Ash (from which I won $8.00 and completed Number11!!), I managed to get to 15 items ticked.
However, because my fabulous friends supported my personal quest to tick items off a list, on the day before my birthday the clever Gem and Stu announced they were taking me horse riding!
And so today I completed Number 5 “Go horse riding – may as well try to conquer that fear…”. It might not technically be “before 30”, but it’s still in my birthday month, so I say it totally counts!
When we arrived at Glenworth Valley, the winter sun was shining and my hands were shaking. I had ridden horses when I was young, but a couple of bad experiences (one that involved no amount of “whoahs” bringing a runaway horse to a stop) meant that it was a good 20 years since my last stint at the reigns. To say that I was nervous was an understatement.
But here I am, horsing around on arrival…!
And here I am trying to look confident. Coz they can smell your fear right?
Not that this exactly helped…
Due to an exciting bun in the oven situation, Gem wasn’t able to hit the trail with me, so my riding partner was Stu. And though he looked longingly at the group who hit the trail on quad bikes shortly before us, he never faltered and was the perfect calming influence to my jitters.
So after un-ladylike-ly mounting my steed – a stunning beauty called Cassidy – including some impressive grunting and almost planting my butt in the face of the cute instructor helping me, I was handed the reigns and given a quick lesson in how to go, stop and turn. Piece of cake right? You would think so. But Cassidy decided to do her own thing, wandering off in the wrong direction… Let’s just say I tried to remain calm (could she smell my fear?), but was packing it on the inside (yep, she definitely smelt it). But we got the misdirection sorted with the help of a 10 year old volunteer who steered us, literally, in the right direction and hit the trail.
We spent two hours walking, trotting and crossing creeks in the glorious Glenworth Valley. Yes, trotting. Our guide quickly explained the rising trot and encouraged us to pick up the pace. Unfortunately Cassidy missed that memo and no matter how hard I kicked my heels and clicked my tongue and offered encouragingly-deep-voiced “C’Mons”, she just didn’t want to be told what to do. Well, not by me anyway… But when the guide came along and clicked her tongue beside us, Cassidy would take off! Usually before I knew what was happening. Leaving me scrambling to hold on for dear life, trying to get into a rising trot rhythm and ignoring the air bubble sound of my butt slapping the saddle…
Other than that, Cassidy and I were besties…
As we crossed the creek for the last time and Cassidy and I brought up the rear on the homeward trail, I let my mind wander to “that” scene from The Man From Snowy River and thought for a moment that I had not only conquered my fear, but maybe I really loved horse riding.
But then I realised I couldn’t feel my arse. So probably not.
Right, so not a newfound love of the saddle, but certainly an adrenaline high. I had conquered a fear, spent a perfectly glorious day riding a beautiful (if not somewhat precious…) horse through the picturesque countryside and ticked sixteen items off my list.
Bring on my thirties I say!
PS – Thank you SO much Gem & Stu. What an amazing birthday gift.
PPS – There have been many discussions about whether I should continue to work on the list even though the deadline has come and gone. I say yes.
PPPS – here is the completed list, with completed items highlighted.
Have an island holiday.
2. Go to the Margaret River and taste wine.
3. Register a business name.
Visit a country in Asia.
Go horse riding – may as well try to conquer that fear.
Dye my hair a completely different colour. Probably red.
7. Spend a day getting pampered with my fave girlfriends.
Visit a fortune teller.
Clean my oven. Properly.
Write down my family tree.
Win the lottery – large or small.
12. Start writing a novel.
13. Buy myself a beautiful piece of jewellery.
Test drive a Ferrari. Or a Mini Cooper S. I’m not so fussed…
Feel confident and comfortable wearing red lipstick.
16. Kiss someone passionately in the pouring rain.
17. Face my greatest fear…
Be an active member of a worthwhile charity.
19. Splurge on an amazing haute couture or designer outfit.
20. Be a TV/movie extra.
21. Make a dazzling entrance…
Read some more classics, especially Jane Austen.
24. Start a course on a topic that has always interested me, and finish it.
25. Run under a sprinkler on a scorching Summer’s day, just like when we were kids.
Buy an original piece of art.
Spend a night in the best suite of a 5 star hotel.
Clean out my wardrobe. Properly.
29. Buy a cottage in the country and turn it into my home.
30. Leave my mark. Somewhere. Somehow