Yes, he really <i>is</i> cheating on you

Noah Wyle - always a welcome distraction at age 13.

Noah Wyle - always a welcome distraction at age 13.

It’s finally here: I’m finally 30 and flirty and thriving.

(Well, I will be tomorrow.)

Unlike some of my friends, one of whom turned 28 four years in a row, I don’t feel any great sense of dread about entering my fourth decade.

If anything, my Saturn return came bang on schedule around 28 and seems to have fizzled by now. I mean, who knows, I may wake up tomorrow sobbing and wondering where it all went wrong, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’m feeling pretty confident.


And while I don’t have any crushing sense of existential dread about the big 3-0, I have found myself doing a bit of a stock-take and looking back at the path that led me here. What advice would I give 17-year-old, or 4-year-old, or even 29-year-old me?

Here are a few thoughts, one for every year I’ve been around so far. And please feel free to talk to yourselves in the comments (even if you only have a particular “young you” who needs a pep talk; I’ve only done 30 bits of advice because IT’S MY PARTY, DAMMIT). It’s quite illuminating.

1982 - Well done, you went and got born! FYI Prince William just got born at almost exactly the same time, too, so the nurses are about to walk in and present Mum with a bottle of champagne. Any minute now...

1983 - Hey, nice dungarees. And I really like the way you’ve accessorised them with a mixing bowl as a hat.

1984 - Your family are about to take you to see E.T. The Extra Terrestrial; for God’s sake, don’t let them. Why not save yourself sixteen straight years of E.T.-related nightmares, eh? Just stage a kerfuffle outside the cinema.

1985 - Congratulations on winning the coveted role of Mary in the Lady Foster Kindergarten Christmas nativity play. A word of advice, though: maybe don’t shriek “MUM! STOP SMILING AT ME!!” from behind the manger.

1986 - Primary school! You were born smack in the middle of the year and apparently you’re “gifted”, so get used to being younger than everyone by at least six months. Also, Minnie Mouse frilly socks over black tights is a great look.

1987 - I’m sorry to say, but drawing dragon’s scales on your hand with texta actually won’t transform you into a dragon, it turns out.

1988 - Bicentenary!! Fireworks during the day-time! That Bob Hawke really knows how to throw a party, doesn’t he? Oh, don’t lose your Bicentennial Heritage Medallion; in 21 years you’ll try to explain the Bicentenary to an 18-year-old, and props would be really handy.

1989 - Hey, when your auntie gives you an amazing box full of costume jewellery, and the bigger kids at school tell you they want it, it’s okay to tell them to get stuffed and not give it all away except for one small necklace.

1990 - It’s your birthday and I know you don’t care about spoilers, so I just want to let you know that yes, you did get Sugar Apple the Candy Cane My Little Pony. And the song that’s about to come on your clock radio as you unwrap her is Belinda Carlisle’s Summer Rain... told you!

1991 - This year you’ll start at a new primary school, because the Kennett Regime closed your old one. Heads up, you’re about to start getting bullied, so breathe in and hold tight for the next, oh, nine years.

1992 - Your obsession with musical theatre will begin when you score the lead role in Oliver! despite being female and a good six inches taller than the boy who has to say “My goodness, he’s not very tall, is he?” They’re going to cut your hair. PS don’t let Mia tear up the Valentine’s Day card that Jonathan is about to give you.

1993 - Look, this year is just going to be straight up shit. You’ll end up playing with your Prep buddies because every single girl in Grade 6 has frozen you out. Just shine it on.

1994 - This will truly be the best and worst of times. You’ll attend Year 7 at Elwood High, which is pretty much the coolest school of all time, and Ashley Gaudion from Year 12 will actually talk to you after musical camp. But then your Dad is going to get really sick, and the family will move to the suburbs and away from your awesome school. Hang in there, baby.

1995 - In Year 8 you’ll have about three friends, and Mrs Mohandoss is going to ask your parents if there’s been a death in the family because you’re so bad at maths it’s the only reason she finds plausible. Start watching E.R., Noah Wyle is really cute.

1996 - You’re about to be the first Year 9 student to win a leading role in the school musical. This also means that your first kiss will be in a rehearsal room with your co-star, David Mould, and under the watchful eye of Mrs Clayton. Sorry about that.

1997 - Hey, I know it’s tough being different. You’re going to wear zebra-print jeans to free dress day and Liza will yell at you to “Go back to the f-cking zoo!” But you’ll also get your first boyfriend this year, so the joke’s on her, really.

1998 - David Schwartz doesn’t love you and never will, no matter how many times you sit next to him in media/literature class, let it go and save yourself the agony.

1999 - ...Or you could ignore everything I just said and cast him in your Year 12 media film instead. You’ll spend most of this year being an outcast and hanging out in the art rooms, but you’ll get an ENTER of 93 just by doing arts subjects, and you’ll end up having one of the coolest jobs once your ten year reunion rolls around. Also: the Y2K bug is a total letdown.

2000 - This is the first year a boy will say “I don’t love you”, though not the last. Oh well, who needs ‘em? You have an appalling haircut and a wardrobe full of hanky-hem boob tubes!

2001 - Put down that copy of Let It Blurt: The Life And Times Of Lester Bangs. Please don’t become a music journalist. Please, for the love of God. Don’t.

2002 - Dammit.

2003 - Yes, he really is cheating on you. Maybe don’t mail him that photocopied excerpt from a book about sexual deviancy with pertinent passages highlighted? Just a thought.

2004 - You’ve moved out of home! I know it feels good right now, but don’t subsist solely on Spekulaas and Ceda for the first six months of your life as a functional adult?

2005 - You’re living alone for the first time, and you’re about to find out that yes, you really do suffer from depression. Buying a parrot at this time is not the best idea. But beginning therapy is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

2006 - You’re about to try quitting music criticism. I’m afraid you won’t be able to do that for another six years.

2007 - Don’t give that Backstreet Boys album five stars in the newspaper. You’ll always regret it.

2008 - Okay, breathe in: this is probably the worst year of your life. You’ll have a nervous breakdown and then get engaged only to find yourself socially isolated, on the dole, and emotionally abused. But you’ll get through it.

2009 - See? You made it. Treat yourself with a trip to New York. Just watch out for that five-day H1N1 spell that’s about to hit you while you’re there. Also a handy way to unblock a New York toilet is to cover your arm with a Duane Reed bag and reach down into hell; you’re welcome.

2010 - Your boyfriend is about to insist you wear a horse bit in the bedroom and call him “sir” (FYI they make you dribble all over yourself). Maybe tell him to get stuffed?

2011 - Do it, move out of your flat and into your Mum’s laundry. Next year you’re going to move to Los Angeles to try and make your dreams come true. Believe me.

2012 - You made it. You made it through bullying, the recession, family illness, depression, loneliness and a variety of bad haircuts. Sing this song with purpose. I’m proud of you. PS Tom Hiddleston is single. Just a tip for 2013.