It is so many years before one can believe enough in what one feels even to know what the feeling is — W.B. Yeats

In some parts of the world, the newsflash ‘30 is the new 20!’ offers some urgently needed consolation to those of us ready and waiting to enter the post-GFC workforce: hyper-educated, relatively affluent children of the 80s and 90s reared on the idea that the world is our very own oyster bed bursting with possibilities – and choices. But what if the bed dries up overnight? And what if the oyster you chose makes you want to throw it up?

Another New Leaf explores some of the questions and obstacles confronting millennial as they come of age (finally), from the vantage point of a distracted earlythirtysomething doctor trying to jam her foot in the door of the Third Sector.

In 2013, in the wake of a failed long-term relationship, she decides to move from London to Mae Sot, a small town on the Thai-Burma border. The plan is to volunteer with community-based organisations providing healthcare to migrants displaced by protracted conflict, economic collapse and political instability on the fringes of Burma/Myanmar.

Part pre-emptive memoir, part essay collection, part travelogue, part reluctant-feminist invective, part pop-philosophical self-help guide… think (erm ahem) David Foster Wallace meets Simone de Beauvoir meets Adrian Mole, and his diary – on the Thai-Burma border.

In essence, it’s a blog about turning 30, and the way in which a new leaf – however dreaded – can impel someone to alter their personal and professional life-trajectory.

In May 2013 I did a 10-week course, Narrative Non-Fiction at the City University London. It was a prescriptive 30th birthday present aimed at helping me overcome a debilitating form of writer’s block (like writer’s paralysis) that had been getting incrementally worse since the start of university. Very good, as was the teacher, science writer Peter Forbes. This blog synopsis is the product of one of the assigned exercises.

© anothernewleaf 2013

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