NOTE: This post is in turns an emotional outpouring as well as a personal, cutting to the core, dissection with how I feel/where I am at 30. Like my previous posts, I don’t pull punches, and I don’t want to self censor. Others have felt this way; some probably feel the same right now, but I just wanted to take a moment to capture and express my fears, hopes, worries and dreams on Write Steve Write.
With that in mind, enjoy…
It’s been 10 days since my birthday. Since this…
— Steve Russell (@stevetendo) July 15, 2016
Honestly, I’m still accepting that I’ve finally ticked over into my 30s. No more will my age start with a 2 until I hit 200!
As I sit here pondering about all that I had dreamed of accomplishing in my 20s, all that I thought I would have done and what I thought my 30s would have looked like, I struggle at times to cope with the reality. All that I haven’t achieved. All that I thought I would be, but am not.
Kind of makes me feel like this:
And then someone comes along, shows you what it’s like to be truly cared about, and does something amazing to help you usher in a new birthday, a new decade, a whole slew of new opportunities, adventures and possibilities…
My girlfriend, Thea, is an amazing person, and I truly do not deserve her.
Well, since January, she has plotted, planned, positioned, and performed a perfect, unexpected, surprise party for my 30th, running around in secret and catering every minute detail to my personality, even down to the glorious black and yellow colour scheme (my favourite colour combo – something those who read Temporary will discover – closely followed by pink and black)!
She helped ease me into something I’ve been depressed and wary about for weeks. (LIE) Months. (LIE?) Years? Either way, it’s a notion that’s been playing heavily on me for a long while, mostly due to the laundry list of accomplishments I had hoped to have achieved by now. I look around at the people I knew from my Uni days, at the things they’re doing in the industry, and I question all the choices, all the dots that represent my wins and losses, that I’ve made along these 30 years. It doesn’t fill me with pride.
But, thanks to Thea, I’m not filled with an emptiness either. She did something for me I thought no one ever would. She surprised me with a party, and showed me (yet again!) what it’s like to having someone care about and support you. It fills me with anticipation for the future; an excitement for what is yet to come.
Sure, I didn’t achieve what I thought I could/would in my 20s, but what I’ve done is set myself up. I mentioned it in an upcoming episode of my podcast, ‘Sweet Story, Bro‘, where I say that I feel as though I’ve thrown the ball into the air, now all I need to do is take a swing and knock it out of the park.
I don’t use Facebook anymore, having finally annexed the weird (unhealthy) habit I had of constantly typing in ‘Fa…’ into my Safari, before hitting enter as it automatically filled the rest of the URL, and, honestly, I AM feeling better for it. I no longer put myself in that toxic position of logging online, looking at the amazing things other people are doing, falling into a negative depression spiral, and then not doing anything out of a frozen sense of uselessness, coupled with the idea that I’ve wasted years of my life and will never achieve anything on a create level, which is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do!
I DID, however, log online in order to post the following thank you, so that everyone could see not only how much Thea’s hard work meant to me, but how they’re presence there filled me with such unbridled joy. So much so that my face ached from smiling my goofy smile all night long.
It even made the morning after, where I threw up so much I only had a disgusting, acidic, yellow bile to heave, worth it. Every minor movement of my head, fuck, every monosyllabic syllable I grunted out, was worth it because of the night I had, surrounded with love, friendship and family.
The McDonalds feast I consumed might have helped ease the pain, too. A sausage and egg McMuffin meal, a sausage, egg and cheese Bagel meal, and three extra hash browns (making 5 total!) certainly did the trick in making me feel human again. And who can I thank for allowing me to wake them up at 8am in order to get it? You guessed it. Thea.
Man, I don’t deserve that amazing human in my life.
So, with the apropos tune of ‘What’s My Age Again?’ ringing out, please enjoy my heartfelt post:
It’s taken me a while to sit down and think on how to write this, as I honestly didn’t know how to begin. Plus the fun has only really just stopped, giving me a moment to finally reflect and collect my thoughts.
I just want to say a massive thank you to anybody and everybody involved with the planning and execution of my 30th birthday shenanigans.
First and foremost, because who else could I start with, thank you, Thea. You did an absolutely amazing job in preparing, organising, and pulling off a truly spell binding birthday, filled with so many surprises and thoughtful moments that I found it amazing that she was somehow able to consistently surpass her own high bar. In fact, scratch that. It wasn’t just amazing, it was flawless.
From waking up to a delicious Canadian breakfast, to the way too generous gifts, to my first ever surprise birthday party, I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have never felt so loved, nor have I ever had a birthday experience like this – because that is exactly what it was for me. An experience. One made all the more impactful by the inclusion and presence of so many people coming together to help pull off this spectacular surprise party – something I’ve always secretly wanted, ever since that episode of the Power Rangers. You know the one, the one where they throw a party for Zack after pretending to have forgotten all about it. Yeah. Seriously.
And she wouldn’t have been able to pull it off so perfectly without the help of those meddling kids, John and Jamie.
To walk through that door and be able to see so many people that have had such a positive impact in my life, from so many different areas of my life, was a breathtaking, humbling moment.
For probably one of the first times in my life, I was genuinely speechless. I felt as though I was frozen, a goofy smile affixed on my face as I soaked in the beautiful image of everybody that I care for in front of me as the apropos lyrics of blink-182’s ‘What’s My Age Again?’ blared. And as my niece, Amelia, ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug and I caught my sister’s eye, her face beaming, I finally felt my senses come crashing back to reality. Just thinking back on it causes me to smile.
No amount of thanks could truly express the feeling I have for what Thea has been able to pull off. I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve such a loving, thoughtful, considerate soul as my partner. Honestly? I feel undeserving of her affection, and still hope to one day be good enough for her. I’ll never stop trying.
To my sister, Nicola, for being there with her entire family to share such a special moment, having driven from so far. Thank you. It was amazing to see you all. I wish I could see you all more, so seeing your smile from the crowd as Amelia ran to me really did melt my heart.
My Ma, Merlyn, for the food. I’m sure you can all agree the food was amazing across the board, and it’s all thanks to my Ma’s culinary skills. Thank you, as always, for all you and Dad do for me. One day I’ll do good. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day.
To Tim and all my old-school friends that I have known for years, for helping to helm and sort out the playlist of all of our favourite songs, giving us a perfect excuse to dance and sing and have fun as we always have at the top of our voices. Stoked to even get some ‘Adventure Starts Tomorrow!’ in there! I haven’t had that much fun in a long time, and it was incredible to see you all. From those that still live near by, to those who had to travel miles to be there (Charlie), thank you for your time and for being so key to so many of my cherished memories. This is just another one to add to the collection.
To Kaya M, for knowing that he needed to do the job to the true champion, allowing me to pin him for the three count. What a special gift, and one that we can both share. I loved wrestling with you that night, bro. We are truly the tag team champions. And that’s undeniably just too sweet.
I’m sorry it took me a while to decompress and get this response online. I don’t really use Facebook anymore, being more of a Twitter guy (Feel free to follow me @ twitter.com/stevetendo /plug), and may have missed a lot because of it. But I logged on specifically to share my thanks, my love, and my appreciation to every single person that I have been lucky enough to call my friend that was there that night to share in the celebration.
To my friends old and new, to my BJJ bro’s for keeping me humble, to my family and, of course, once again, Thea.
Thank you all for being a part of my life, and for allowing this youthful 30 year old man-child to be a part of your life, too.