When your youngest turns the big 3-0

Comparing lives with my youngest daughter 

Some of my favourite posts were the ones I wrote comparing my life to that of my daughters, at the age they were back in 2013.  I wrote these posts when I was just starting to get serious with my blogging and I enjoyed the chance to sit down with each of my three daughters and ask them about their life at ages, 25, 28  and 30.

I also wrote about my mother’s life at the age of 53 – the age I was at the time.

Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday

Five years on

It’s now 5 years on and my baby daughter is turning 30 (in 2018), so I thought I’d update the original post with what’s happened in the meantime.  It’s also to assuage my feelings of guilt for being out of the country for her big 3-0 birthday.

You see when my eldest daughter turned 30, I not only attended her birthday bash, but I travelled solo across to the other side of the world for 4 weeks, to do so!  For my second daughter’s 30th we joined her and some friends at a beach house, organised by her then boyfriend, now husband.

So for my youngest’s 30th I’m out of the country!!  She has told me to ditch the guilt and just enjoy myself, so I’m trying not to feel too bad – she’s a very wise girl 🙂

2013 – at age 25

Eliza, my baby, turned 25 in 2013 and was living in a Brisbane suburb with Shawn. They had been together for over three years and met at Tangalooma resort on Moreton Bay Island, where they were both working in 2010. She lived a very different life to me at age 25.

Eliza nearly wasn’t born, as after having complications with Sarah’s birth (and Melanie’s in 1983) the doctor warned me against having any more children. I am very glad that I went on to have her as she completed our family, as well as being a bright spark and a little cutie!  Nothing much has changed 🙂

Eliza playing in Victoria Park in Bath
Eliza playing in Victoria Park in Bath

Life is a struggle – 2013

Eliza feels that she has struggled at times although she says she is quite content. Her life isn’t what she expected, as she didn’t expect to be living in Queensland and she never expected to be a sailing instructor, having grown up in rural NSW.

Life is harder as a grown up than she thought it would be. She would like to stay as free as a child without the responsibilities that being an adult brings. Money is an ongoing issue and getting ahead is difficult. Being the youngest of three girls she feels she always has to keep up with her sisters, though no one has ever expressed this, it’s just the way she thinks. She has a friendly, bright and bubbly personality and is a delight. I think she suffers from a lack of self confidence at times, but, as her mother, I think she should be happy with what she has achieved and what she has done in her 25 years.

Travel – 2013

Eliza had already travelled the world extensively in her 25 years and I suppose we started this love of travelling by taking her on a year long teacher exchange to UK when she was just three years old. This was my first real overseas trip too and was a huge learning curve taking three little girls away for a year. She completed all her schooling in Tumbarumba and despite a few lacklustre years in the middle she finished with a bang, sharing the award of Dux of Tumbarumba High school in year 12.

She has had more than her fair share of sadness to deal with but, to her credit, it has made her stronger. I feel that life is hard for young ones today, there are a lot of expectations and pressures, but I wonder if it is really that different to when I was 25, maybe the priorities are just different.

She took a GAP year after finishing her HSC and worked on an activity camp in UK and travelled Europe before returning home to attend University at Lismore. She graduated with a Bachelor of Sports Tourism and found work on Tangalooma Resort, as a water sports coordinator, after completing an internship with them as part of her uni course.

Shawn and Eliza have travelled overseas together on numerous occasions and she took Shawn to see her hometown for the first time in 2013. Considering that Shawn hadn’t been out of Queensland when he met Eliza, she has done well to expand his horizons and show him how much fun travelling the world can be. They plan to travel overseas again in a few years time.

She has a love of elephants and is worried that they may become extinct and be only available for her grandchildren in picture books. She would like to live in the country at some stage in the future but as Shawn is a city boy, a compromise will have to be made. She wants to be happy and healthy and eventually aims to have children, maybe before she is 30. She also wants to get married one day, preferably to Shawn.

Work – 2013

Since leaving Tangalooma she has worked as a flight centre consultant, swimming instructor, tennis coach, vacation care activity instructor and at the time worked as a full time sports coordinator for Moreton Bay Boat Club. She enjoyed this role immensely, teaching sailing to young kids and organising other events as required. There appears to be a theme running through all her jobs!!

It may not be surprising to know that she was always very sporty; she loved swimming, tennis, soccer, netball, AFL, rugby union, cricket, dancing, skiing, touch football – anything really – and was good at them all.  She has always been competitive in everything she does. This is one of the problems with our family, everyone is so competitive!!

By the time I was 25 I had had one job, working for the Commonwealth Bank, and then put my career on hold to have a family. Eliza wants a career and is working on making contacts and learning as much as she can.

Talking with Eliza she feels that people don’t appreciate everything that they have, that young ones want to grow up too fast today and think they know everything by the time they are 14; that kids don’t play outside enough and aren’t as active as they should be.

1985 – me at 25

In 1985 at age 25, I was a mother of 2 little girls, having just had Sarah earlier in that year and Melanie was just over two; I had been married for almost six years and we were in the process of buying our own little house in Georgetown in Newcastle.

Life was a struggle for us too, being on only one wage with two babies & paying our house off. But Eliza wasn’t aware of our struggling times as she wasn’t even born then. I had to grow up and be very responsible very quickly.

Life wasn’t always fun for me at 25. It’s much more fun now, as I am more affluent and comfortable with myself and my circumstances. These things take time to achieve and if I could tell Eliza one thing it would be that all things pass, you just have to make the most of it and get on with it.

When I was 25 I still had all my grandparents alive and Eliza still had hers alive in 2013. She always had a good relationship with them all and is genuinely fond of her family. Despite being spread all over the country we do attempt to catch up whenever we can. I think she needs our support and I love being in contact with her most days. She has had our support in lots of ways over the past few years but is becoming more independent. I, on the other hand, was in an entirely different world at 25 due to being a young married mother. My parents were grandparents to my children and as such I wasn’t dependent on them in any way.

Our lives were completely different at this age, mainly due to the nature of our roles. I was a young married mother making my way in the world and Eliza was a young woman trying to keep her head above water and carve out a career while trying to enjoy the life of a 20 something.

Update on Eliza – turning 30 in 2018

Since 2013 Eliza worked hard at her sailing job, enjoyed it and learnt a lot. In 2017 she changed jobs. She now works for the Australian Drug Foundation in Brisbane and is enjoying the change in roles, especially as she now has weekends free.  She’s also moved house a few times in the intervening years, bought new cars and furniture, becoming more settled.

Wedding in 2017

The big news is that she married Shawn in a small intimate wedding in Fiji in October 2017. It was going to be an elopement but they decided to invite just immediate family and one set of friends.  There were 15 of us in total!!  I wrote a post about my thoughts on a destination wedding and as with my other daughter’s wedding I blogged about my MOB (Mother of the Bride) journey along the way. Her big sister wrote this post about the whole event – Travel, Love and Weddings – An elopement to a wedding abroad  and it sums it up beautifully.

Just married!
Just married!

In sad news Eliza lost her beloved Uncle, (her father’s brother) in July 2014.  He was taken suddenly and way too soon at age 55.  It was a shock and we all miss him dreadfully.

In January of 2018 she lost her Grandad (my father) who she was very close to and often visited, especially when she was at university in Lismore. She has a lovely relationship with Grandma and often phones her for a chat, which i think helps them both.

In happier news she attended her sister’s wedding in 2015 and enjoyed planning her own wedding in Fiji in 2017.

She is still an active, fun loving girl, she loves to read and is a great planner.  She has organised an overseas trip to incorporate her honeymoon, and 30th birthday, for later in the year, revisiting Fiji on their way home for their first wedding anniversary. She is trying to become more independent and doesn’t ring me for advice as much as she once did, but she is in touch regularly and also stays in contact with her sisters.

She is still living a very different life to mine at age 30, but I think that’s the way of the world these days.  It’s different, but similar, with family love holding everything together. It’s been nice to look back on how things were back then and what has changed – for both of us!

At the same age I was preparing to take our young family to live in England for 12 months with no experience of travelling, let alone living on the other side of the world. I sometimes think we were mad at the time! Luckily it all worked for us and we had a great year which has gone on to impact on all the girl’s lives in some way.  This is me in the photo below, at age 30, a mother of three little girls about to take on the world of travel. It’s strange that as I write this update I am back in the same village we lived in back then and I have just been to visit our old house and the family we swapped lives with for the year!

Family photo
Family photo

Happy 30th  Birthday Eliza – you will always be my baby girl and I will always be proud of you.

Mother and daughter, wedding. mother of the bride
B2B with MOB

Deb 🙂

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29 Replies to “When your youngest turns the big 3-0”

  1. Happy birthday to Eliza, Deb and what a wonderful tribute you have written. It is amazing how different our daughters are at say 25 to the way we were at that age. I can just feel how proud you are of your family and how much you love them Deb. Thank you for sharing Eliza with us. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue, it is interesting to see how different but somehow similar too, our lives have been. I love these sort of reflective posts and yes I’m very proud and full of love for my daughters. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely post Deb and what a proud mum you are. I feel as though you’ve brought us into your family circle with this inclusive post. Happy birthday to your beautiful Eliza. xx 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful to read about your two lives. And quite inspiring. Now that my baby has just turned 31, maybe I will sit down and write a similar comparative reflection.
    Our lives at their age we’re indeed quite different.
    Thank you for your openness and honesty in sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment Jan. I find it fascinating to see how different our lives are at the same age. It’s such a fun experience, to sit down and talk about how we live/lived our lives at that age and to share the stories. I’d encourage you to give it a go!


  4. Lovely post as usual Deb, I have been trying to think back to when I was 30!! Life was certainly different as I had 3 children and a husband that spent a lot of time away, but
    somehow we coped and have come though it all and live to tell the tale. Not sure that I would want to be 30 again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh I love this! I am traveling with my 2 youngest daughters (22 & 20) and they were literally fighting over the front seat! I told them when I was their age I had 2 kids! So I love how you compared what was happening in your life at her age, what a great idea! She sounds like her life is very exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Our girls always revert to their younger selves when they get together, no matter how old they actually are! So pleased to hear you enjoyed my post, so thanks for your comment 🙂


  6. What a great idea for a post! I have 6 daughters and I really enjoyed your comparisons. Thanks for linking up with us at the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 38

    Liked by 1 person

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