“Thirty and Flirty and Thriving”: Birthday Girl in the Western Cape

Chloe Diggs University of the Western Cape, South Africa


August 28, 2017

I told my mom that life would basically be over once I turned 13 years old. Leaving my pre-teen years meant saying goodbye to discounted meals and movie tickets and saying hello to being grouped with the notorious teenagers that never seemed to get anything right.

I was not completely off the mark when I dramatically accepted my fate at the age of thirteen, but I did not live through my teens without becoming smarter, wiser, more observant and more accepting of myself. One thing I am glad to have learned was that there is no need to place so much emphasis on having a wild, Gatsby-like celebration for the big 2-0.

I spent the week leading up to my special day focusing on what I needed to graciously walk into my twenties.

Peace of Mind. I cleaned my room and adorned the outline of one of the walls with soft string-lights. Having everything organized and in place allowed me to think clearer and move more intentionally in my space. I wrote in my journal every day which also helped me to declutter my brain.

Soothed Sinus Passageways. Seasonal allergies and a house full of sick people are not laughing matters. I purchased a few essential oil items from the Old Biscuit Mill market to make my nighttime breathing less of a hassle. Every night, I emptied a few drops into my shower to inhale while I quickly rinsed off.

Soft Skin. From the market, I also purchased a container of organic shea butter. Instead of using lotion, I mix the shea butter with my body oil to rub into my moist, post-shower skin.

Positive Interactions. I believe that you receive what you put out. I put in the effort to only spread positive vibes and was fortunate enough to not be involved in anything that caused unnecessary stress.

Healthy and Full Belly. I cook for myself here since there is no meal plan offered. I found a cool website with interesting recipes, made an extensive grocery list and purchased everything I needed to eat like a self-reliant queen. I also made it a point to incorporate garlic and ginger in almost every dish to give my immune system an extra boost.

I woke up on August 27th after having a full night's rest, feeling bright and hopeful. I listened to music while getting ready, in a rush for no one and for nothing. My housemates surprised me by being amongst some of the first to wish me a happy birthday via text and by decorating the kitchen with balloons and a card signed by everyone. There was also a birthday sash and crown waiting for me!

A few people took me to a market out in Kirstenbosch and my birthday sash earned me some freebies including a piece of art and a mango, passion fruit smoothie. We stopped on the side of the road on our way home to buy low priced fruit from a local farmer. I spent the evening in, chomping away at a pizza one of my lovely housemates ordered for me. I fell asleep feeling satisfied and at peace with leaving my teens.

I didn’t turn 30, I don’t consider myself too flirty but I sure am thriving!

(If you caught my 13 Going on 30 references you are winning, my friend!)


South Africa Semester