15 July, 2013

Being a 20's scholar - would you go back?

This Buzz Feed (courtesy of Pink Little Bean) got me to thinking of all the ways in which my life has changed since my early 20’s. These changes are not small. The difference between 22 and 27 is vast. This was most apparent to me when I lived with a girl 4 years my junior – either she was juvenile or I had grown up and got sensible at the speed of light. I think it was both. 

My friends and I have chatted a lot recently about we can now no longer stay out past about midnight unless fuelled heavily by coffee and the promise of 2am pizza. Whenever I find myself saying yet again how I miss the days of being able to rave ‘til dawn no worries, my mind flashes back to that episode of Friends where Ross, Joey & Chandler realise they are now 29 and can no longer party like they did with Gandalf. I used to watch that episode and think ‘of course you don’t go out anymore, you are OLD’. Never did I think I would see this day myself - 27 and tired. 

Apart from my inability to stay awake upon raving, there are countless other ways I have changed.

Then & Now

This sums up my 22's

When I was 22, saving money was out of the question. Mainly because I was on a salary fit for a legal dispute and could barely afford to eat, but also because I didn’t understand why one would keep money they could spend? 

My week used to work towards Friday nights out, now I look forward to (hangover free) Saturday mornings

I ran around trying to please everyone, now I please myself

I prioritised fun, now I prioritise family

I used to think that skinny equalled attractive, now I know strong and comfortable in your own skin is beautiful

I used to lose ½ a stone in 1 week, now I’m lucky if I don’t put that on in a day

My fridge consisted of wine, diet lemonade and crumpets. Now I have a glorious selection of fruit, meats, cheeses, GOOD wine, and low fat yoghurt

Going to work on one hours sleep, still drunk, was bearable. Now, if I get anything less than my 8 hours I JUST CANNOT COPE

I didn’t know myself. Now I do. (Not as in #youbetterknowyourself of Big Brother 7)

I thought pink shiny miniskirts suited me. I don’t need to finish this sentence.

I craved what I didn't have, now I am just so grateful for what I do have

I am in control of my own life

I now know what real life stress is. Boo. 

I now know what real life confidence is. Yay! 

So would you go back?  

Some of these changes have been timely and deliberate – I wanted to detox from years of 5am bedtimes and sinking 2 bottles of wine before leaving for the bar. I wanted to live somewhere that ‘bedtime’ didn’t mean ‘by all means hoover your room at 1am on a school night’ and more than that I wanted to wake up and feel ready to be a powerful career woman goddammit! I didn’t want to take naps in the disabled toilet at work anymore. 

Yet some of these changes have been less fun. Sometimes I wish I didn’t want to sleep as much as I do, sometimes I wish I could lose my holiday weight by just ‘staying off bread’ and ignoring cake, sometimes I wish I could still get away with a pierced belly button, sometimes I wish my hangovers did not last 48 hours, and sometimes I wish the bags under my eyes weren’t quite so permanent. 

All the tricky things about evolving into the late 20’s seem to be physical. Our spare tyres are more prominent, our crow’s feet are starting to show and vodka stays in our system for what seems like a week and a half. But you know what? I would never, ever, EVER, go back.

I would never trade the confidence I have now, my better sense of style, my many and varied interesting interests (not just drinking!), the excitement of my friends getting married, the salary that actually allows me to feed, my Cosmo (soon to be Good Housekeeping) subscription, my Filofax, the understanding of my body and what healthy means, the ability to say ‘it’s okay I will drive, I’m not drinking’ and not feel any remorse, the ability to accept people’s differences, the patience of not a saint but of something better than I was, the permanently stocked fridge, the labour of love that is my baking cupboard, the man I wake up to every day, the shoes that aren’t stinking/broken/from Primark, the ability to willingly save money for a rainy day, the buzz I get from things like watching a boxset or buying a new moisturiser, the utter knowledge that it really is their loss – whoever they may be. The belief that I AM ALRIGHT, instead of I AM A MESS.

I would never trade that. I would never go back to the anguish and setbacks we suffered whilst we learnt our lessons and found our way. I am much happier here thank you, a 20’s scholar, a 30’s undergrad waiting patiently for the big 3-0 to arrive and bombard us with a whole new set of rules. Oh goodness, please be kind!



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