Now we are six(+24). – Anna Spargo-Ryan

Now we are six(+24).

Now we are six(+24).

This Saturday coming is my thirtieth birthday.

I remember my tenth birthday in particular. I was terrified of being ten. I remember lying on a blue couch and tracing the numbers ‘1’ and ‘0’ in the carpet and crying because I was so bloody old and I hadn’t achieved anything and I was nearly dead.

Now that I have my own nearly ten-year-old, I feel the anxiety of myself at that age even more acutely. I’m looking forward to this milestone birthday, because I feel like I’ve been sixty for most of my life and at least now I can be a proper adult, but as the day gets closer I am aware of how much the past 20 years haven’t gone as planned and where I’ve let ten-year-old Anna down. When I think about letting her down I think about letting my own daughter down, because she is so like me. These are the creative new ways my brain is discovering with which to torture me. You know that scene in Drop Dead Fred when Elizabeth talks to her younger self? That’s a bit how I’m feeling this week.

So, ten-year-old Anna, I’m sorry.

  • I’m sorry for getting you pregnant at 19. That was shitty. Our daughter is really amazing, but we are tired and old and it’s taken until now to really feel comfortable with being a parent. I’m sorry I didn’t give you more of a young adulthood.
  • I’m sorry for all the booze and drugs. They really messed with your brain, and that stopped you from doing some of the things you would have liked and made things more difficult than they should have been for, let’s face it, little to no return.
  • You know that plan to work overseas for a couple of years? Yeah, didn’t happen. See the aforementioned things I’m sorry for.
  • I’m sorry that I didn’t give you any clear goals and that for a while there I let you float around like a dead leaf. You really gave me a pretty good head start and I just dropped the ball.
  • I’m sorry about the baby rollercoaster. Jesus, so very sorry. I basically whacked your uterus with a big stick for a few years and then tore out your Feelings and ran over them with a lawnmower and then set fire to the pieces.
  • I’m sorry that I wasn’t better at choosing people to take care of our heart. It’s had a serious beating since we were ten.

But you’ll be pleased to know that there is good news!

  • You have amazing children. They are like funny little dolls with big eyes and short fingers and enormous brains. So far they’ve made you swell with pride every single day.
  • You didn’t make things work with their dad, maybe because you’re a bit lazy and also because getting married at 21 was not the most sensible thing you ever did, but you are really quite good at maintaining a relationship with him for the kids’ sake instead of hurling them from one car to the other and screaming the rest of the time.
  • You did find a man you like. He’s great. It was hard work for a while there, but that’s part of what made it good in the end.
  • Turns out the writing thing was not just a pipe dream. You were right all along.
  • Your parents are so proud of the 30-year-old version of you that they tell you every time they speak to you, even if they’re about to get on a plane or they’re in a meeting. Sure, it may be partly senility, but they seem to believe what they’re saying.

Happy birthday, ten-year-old Anna. You were right to be afraid, but you were wrong to think it was hopeless.

P.S. Sweet t-shirt.

32 Comments
  • Caroline

    October 31, 2012 at 10:03 pm Reply

    I think 10 year old Anna should be proud x

  • Kelly Exeter

    October 31, 2012 at 10:17 pm Reply

    You’d be a different person today if not for the journey of the last 20 years. And I’m kind of a big fan of the nearly 30 year old you :)

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      November 1, 2012 at 10:14 am Reply

      True! A better person? Perhaps. Not worth thinking about, right?

      I am a big fan of the slightly older than me you too ;)

  • Sara

    November 1, 2012 at 7:38 am Reply

    Oh my. Beautiful post. Existential angst at 10 huh? I thought I was an anxious 10 year old :). Your honesty was really touching – and made me think about my own apology letter to my inner 10 year old. Thank you!

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      November 1, 2012 at 10:13 am Reply

      Thank you Sara :) I actually feel a little better for doing it, quite cathartic!

  • Carly Findlay

    November 1, 2012 at 10:21 am Reply

    You blow me away with your words, your experiences and your willingness to share. Amazing. Happy birthday.

  • Kim Frost

    November 1, 2012 at 10:47 am Reply

    Beautifully written. Of course your parents are proud. They see that your head put you in horrible places and you’ve come through it all with beautiful kids and strong direction, doing what you love. I remember having a freak out aged 9 as well, and wishing I could be as happy and fun as everyone else. Not always so watchful. It used to drive me CRAZY when my dad always used to tell me to ‘Smile! Why the serious face?’ But hell – then what would we write about now? x

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      November 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm Reply

      Thanks Kim :) Agreed – I would have absolutely nothing to blog about had I not been a tortured child!

  • Malini Parker

    November 1, 2012 at 11:05 am Reply

    Hi Anna
    I can’t believe that you’re not even thirty! You write with such genius that I just assumed that all your words, arranged with such skill and humour and pathos, must be pouring out of someone that’s lived long enough to have practised more :)

    I turned fifty a few months ago. I was seriously not impressed with it (in the lead up). Blogging about it helped. http://www.maliniparker.com/news/if-i-could-turn-back-time/

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      November 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm Reply

      Ohh Malini, you beautiful woman! Thanks so much. It’s so interesting reading different perspectives at different stages of life.

  • Tash

    November 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm Reply

    Such perspective and lessons learnt……and yet raw and sweet at once. Great and revealing post. I have been considering doing a similar one with this birthday this year.
    Happy Birthday!

  • Rachael

    November 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday!
    Sounds like things worked out pretty great. I don’t think I knew what you know 10 years ago (when I was turning 30) x

  • Carli

    November 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm Reply

    I bet your kids are awesome Anna, how could they not be x

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      November 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm Reply

      They truly are! Though it is possibly in spite of me :D

  • Hannah

    November 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday for tomorrow Anna.
    If I was to write to my inner ten year old…
    x

  • Pam

    November 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm Reply

    Anna, I don’t think you have any need to apologise to your younger self for any decision you’ve made in your life. Those decisions and experiences have made you who you are today, a stong and beautiful person.

  • Jodi Gibson aka Lipgloss Mumma

    November 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm Reply

    Oh Anna, what a beautiful and heartbreaking post at the same time. At 36, I’ve finally realised that life never goes to plan. Sometimes it just damn well sucks. I don’t know how many times I have wanted to go back to my childhood, grow some balls and just MAKE life happen the way it was supposed to.
    Welcome to your thirties Anna, I promise you they will be better than your twenties.
    Happy birthday, I hope you have a fantastic day xx

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      November 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm Reply

      Thank you Jodi, for your lovely words. I am hopeful. So far they’re not too bad at all.
      x

  • Torre

    November 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm Reply

    I’m falling in love with your blog right about now.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      November 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm Reply

      My blog is a hussy, it’ll be anyone’s! Thanks for coming x

  • Sam Stone

    November 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday Anna! Your 10 year old self would definitely be proud and so should your 30 year old self.

  • Lauren Sherritt

    November 5, 2012 at 8:10 am Reply

    I second that, sweet shirt kiddo!

    I’m not quite close enough to it to have much of an idea yet, but thirty seems pretty great. Have you seen this? http://heythisis30.tumblr.com/

    Hope you had a great birthday!

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      November 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm Reply

      Well thanks, now I want to die :D I was feeling so young, too!

  • Maxabella

    November 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm Reply

    Happy birthday thirty-year-old Anna. I can’t see a single reason there to be disappointed. A life well lived, so far. Live it with feeling and fifty-year-old Anna will be just as pleased to meet you. x

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