Count them in any way, the numbers don’t add up. The last decade has filled two times the memories, with episodes so vivid that the flow of time must have been stretched to fit it all in. Berlin? Four years in the least. Toronto, surely two. But was it only last summer that I came to Edinburgh? No. That, actually, was six years ago. So I asked myself—do I have anything to show for the ten spent, and so here we are.

First, the corrections. I got my teeth straight so I could smile with confidence, and my nose straight, so I could breathe through both nostrils. I got my back straight and grew a whole 2 centimeters and, with the help from a voice coach, I changed my accent to the point that the native speakers are mortified to ask me where I’m from (which, trust me, is a good thing).

Next, the transformations. Through meditation I found my way to contentment and, through yoga, the joys of stretching for a happier body. Introspection helped me to reframe my thought process into a person more understanding, and writing and reading out loud in front of people helped me find my voice. Writing and being, both, shall remain a work in progress.

Finally, the learning. I learned to truly appreciate the drag culture (yass, queen) and, inspired by Johnatan Van Ness, I learned to walk in heels. I learned that gender bending is enjoyable, and I learned how much courage is required to be just a little bit more different. I did a deep dive on Eve online (a full month; not recommended), and a deep dive on spectating sports (american football; recommended). I overcame my fear of gyms and learned to appreciate the physical workout (with help from a personal trainer). And I learned Japanese. The final and most recent development is tackling design head on, and I hope it shows (look around, girl!)

So that’s, in short, my thirties for you: observation and implementation. The future feels bright, and I’ve got a few of ideas as to where to go from here. Will I upstage myself in the forties? Not that I have to, and not that it could be measured in any way, but it sure would be interesting!