Twenty-Six

I am now twenty-six years old.

In my head I still feel about nineteen and when I see pictures of people going off to uni I want to shout ‘take me with you, I’m not ready to be a grown up!’ Which is still because I starting uni seven years ago (thanks to Ali for reminding me of that one).

Leading up to my birthday, something I always get excited about, I was nervous. My original plan (pre pandemic) was to be in Disneyland for the week, come back the night before my birthday and go out to celebrate on the day because it was finally on a Friday. Nope, can’t happen.

Then I organised a small BBQ with close friends to celebrate. Then the rule of six came in. Right, let’s go again. Time after time plans had to change so I was a little apprehensive about my birthday. I didn’t need to be I actually had a really wonderful day full of surprises.

There are the most wonderful people in my life who bought me gifts, sent me messages, baked cakes, sent things to my house to surprise me. I was, and still am, in awe of it all. How loved I felt, how even though I couldn’t really see people I had a full heart and felt on top of the world.

So why, only two days later did I find myself feeling anxious and sad?

I know that twenty-six isn’t going to be the year I thought it would be. My last year of my mid-twenties was also going to be the year I finally married the man I love. With each day that passes we get closer to the fact that we’re almost certain we’re going to have to postpone our wedding. Instead of the plans we had we’ll be packing up our flat to move.

These things are coming and while I try not to be doom and gloom I know they will be hard – but I’m hoping good things will come out of it too. There are silver linings and I am going to make the most of them.

I cannot predict a thing about what’s to come this year – so I guess it’s time to just go with it.

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I’m Not Where I Thought I Would Be – Are You?

Next week I’m going to be 25 years old and while it might not be a landmark birthday (although my next one will be 30 *shudder*) it has made me think quite a lot about where I am, where I want to be and what I’m doing. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that my life looks very different to what I thought it would be like when I was a child/teenager.

So I thought why not have a look at those expectations

I thought I would…have bought a house.

*laughs, laughs, cries* I don’t know anyone my age who went to university and can afford a house. The only people I know are those who have been working since they were 18 and saving hard. I’m happy for my friends who have their own houses, I’m also jealous. I am a long way off of owning a home so for now, renting it is.

I thought I would…be married.

25 is aaaaaaaaagggeeeee away and so grown up right? Haha. So I thought. Although, on my 25th birthday I’ll be a little over a year away from getting married! So I guess this one was close.

I thought I’d have…at least one child

My Mum was 21 when I was born, my Dad was 22 so for me I thought this was a great time to have a baby. In 1994 it wasn’t such a bad idea but both of my parents left school at 16 and worked quite soon after.

So, I assumed I’d also have my own rugrat in my early 20s. But instead I packed up my life went to university and spent my 21st birthday in a Wetherspoons with a bunch of friends and was carried home by Ali and my friend Lex.

There was a little while where I doubted whether I’d be good at being a parent, whether it was something I really, really wanted. After a few issues and a little scare something might be wrong (thankfully it’s all fine) I know I want children but I’m not in a rush.

I thought I would…be working for someone.

From being a little kid to my early twenties I had a LOT of ideas about what I would do with my life. There was a musical theatre actress, singer, teacher, Dr of Literature, Marketeer. It kept changing so, that’s one thing I didn’t have a solid idea for.

But I was never one of those people who thought that I would go off and build my own business, my own empire – now that’s the dream. It just didn’t seem like something I could do but at this point in time I don’t know how I could do anything else. Funny how time changes things.

Looking at all of these, I think that I definitely based what I thought my life would look like based on my parents – I mean didn’t most of us look at a grown up in our lives and go that’s what my life will be like or that’s who I want to be. But, even though the gap between me and my parents is 20 years, the world has changed so much. I can’t get a 100% mortgage, we’re fighting more for jobs and having children later.

So while I’m nowhere near where I thought I would be at 25, I’m not unhappy. I have a flat I’m renting, a fianc√© I adore, my own freelance job and beautiful hamster babies. It might be a little different but it’s still pretty good.

Are any of you nodding along with any of these? What did you think you’d be doing at 25? Let me know in the comments below. ūüĎá

On Loneliness

Recently, I heard that young people between the ages of 16-24 feel the most lonely It didn’t surprise me in the slightest because I completely agree. The last few years I’ve felt very lonely – even in the last few weeks I’ve struggled with loneliness. I have a very loving family, I quite often just go and hang out with them.

I feel like there are so many ways you can feel lonely and, often, it’s not easy to talk about. You don’t want to worry people, you don’t want to seem needy and, for me at least, there are confusing feelings. Have you ever been in a room full of people and felt alone? I’m sure you have.

But what are the biggest reasons to feel lonely?

Social Media

I love it, it’s literally my job to create, manage and monitor social media. That said, everyone posts a highlight reel which means it can look like everyone is out having fun, living their best life and you’re sat at home in your PJs. I know this and, sometimes, I still feel lonely! It’s easy to get swept up in it.

Growing up and apart

Your late teens and early twenties are also a time of huge change. You grow up and a lot of times you can grow apart from people you’re really close to. Some people I know have moved to new cities or even countries.

Not knowing what the hell you’re doing

I can *seem* like everyone else has their shit together. They don’t, I promise you. Everyone I speak to says they don’t know what they’re doing with their lives, they question everything they do. But for that conversation, one of you has to admit it and that can be the hardest part, am I right?

Relationships

So many people I know feel lonely because of relationships. I have friends who are single who feel lonely, friends in relationships to feel like they’re disconnected from friends who are single or in very different relationships. For me, I feel lonely when Ali goes on tour, as I write this he’s in Manchester. Not having him to hug can be really lonely.

That’s just some of the reasons I think people my age are lonely – but I might not have your reason listed. I guess I’m writing this because I wanted to say you might feel lonely but you’re not alone.

Book Review: 30 Things Before 30 by Hope Alcocer

30 Things Before 30 - Hope Alcocer

‘Twas the night before my thirtieth birthday and all through the house- wait, I don’t have a house. I rent a ridiculously expensive apartment in New York City with the occasional cockroach and a radiator from 1908 that sounds like it’s about to eat me.’

Now, 30 seems scary right? I know it sounds it to me. Next week I’m going to be 24, officially in the ‘mid-twenties’ section of my life. Gulp. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who feel like when your 30 you’re supposed to have your shit together. That’s why I picked up this book and I am so glad I did.

This isn’t going to tell you what you should have done by the time you were 30, but that’s the beauty of it. In this Hope talks of her life and how things didn’t follow a rigid life plan that we’re all supposed to. She talks openly and honestly about her struggles with mental health and the clarity this gave her later on.

There is a whole chapter focused on just trying. Try something out, do what you need to do. This was so refreshing, we’re told so many times that 30 is the end of something, the end of fun perhaps? And Hope challenges this.

This didn’t feel like a self-help book, it felt like listening to a friend give you a pep talk and most importantly, Hope doesn’t pretend that she has all of the answers. She admits that she’s muddling along with whatever life throws at her, she makes mistakes, she doesn’t have a clear idea about what she’s doing but she carries on.

For anyone who’s nervous about heading towards their 30s, no matter how close or how far, this is perfect. In fact, even if you just want a positive read then this is also fab. I gave this 5 stars, it’s a book that I hope to read a few more times to share in Hope’s wisdom. I look forward to also read her first book.

What Do You Do For Fun? 23 and ‘Boring’

I was recently asked what I do for fun, what my hobbies¬†are. I replied as I always do I blog, I read a lot and I write. People don’t really believe me when I say that’s what I do for fun. Don’t you go out? Don’t you drink etc, etc.¬†That’s usually how it goes. So sometimes I think about it, am I boring for my age?

I’ve never been one for regularly going out to clubs and partying. When I was a teenager I went to house parties, hosted by my boyfriend. When I was in college I didn’t go out drinking still, only to a few house parties. In my first six months at university, I went out to a club grand total of two times the first I was on the night bus crying by midnight because I had an anxiety attack. The second time I came home early. In¬†Second year I’d get drunk so I wasn’t anxious and go out with friends. In¬†Third year I didn’t go out at all. Then I graduated and became even more comfortable with my own life.

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You might follow me on Instagram and think, hang on I’ve seen pictures of you out with friends. I do go, occasionally. Once a month my friends and I try and go out for drinks or I might go to see or do something. For a long time, I got hung up on the fact I didn’t feel ‘normal’, I felt ‘boring’. I had this idea in my head of what I was meant to be doing.

There is a pressure I think. Travel the world, but save money. Go out and party, but spend all your time networking and building a career. Have fun, but think seriously about your future, you only get one chance. All of these things going through your mind.

The thing is, I like staying at home and reading books or writing. Blogging makes me happy. Spending time on my craft, reading a really good book, having lie-ins¬†or just chatting with my boyfriend is a good weekend. I like going out and seeing and doing too but I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not going out every weekend.

I thought, for a long time, the worst someone could call me was boring. I was fun right?¬† I was entertaining? People would want to hang out with me? I tormented myself worrying about this shit. Slowly, I’m working towards not caring about that stuff, about doing my own thing and what makes me happy. And, for me, that’s what’s important doing things I love to do rather than what everyone else is doing.

I want to hear from my lovely readers! Do you ever feel like you’re not doing ‘what you should’ or a bit boring? Do you ever feel under pressure to be or act a certain way because of your age? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Growing Up With Young Parents

Growing up with young parents

1996, I wish I was still as cute

Last night the internet finally got their answer to the Kylie Jenner mystery as she posted a message and video to announce the birth of her daughter.¬†It was beautiful and made me tear up a little. Something struck me at the beginning. Her best friend¬†Jordan reflecting on Kylie being 20 saying ‘When you’re 20 years old you’re figuring out your life…there was one thing your Mom knew for sure, and that was you’. It made me think about my own parents.

When I was born my Mum was 21 and my Dad had only just turned 22. They were in their early twenties and got engaged a few months before I was born.  Then there I was this little screaming baby that they were going to take care of, and take care of they did. I was a first child, first Grandchild, first Niece, I was so, so loved.

When I tell people how young my parents are, they seem shocked. A lot of people I know have parents who are 10 or more years older or the people I work with are the same age as my parents and can’t get their heads around it. The thing is it’s always just seemed normal to me, it is what it is.

The thing is I never felt I missed out by having younger parents. I had a pretty amazing childhood. I went to Disney land when I was little, I had lots of lovely toys. I always felt loved and encouraged in whatever I set out to do. I knew that I was my parents’ whole world, then I got a little sister when I was six and I just fell in love with her.

I’ve gotten into arguments with people before, those who were incredibly narrow-minded, about the fact that people can and should have children when they want to. I know people who’ve waited until their 30s, my best friend had my Goddaughter at 17. Everyone’s journey is different, who are we to judge?

I’m past the point of where my parents were when they had me, I won’t be a young parent just because my life is different and the world is different to what it was in 1994. I love having younger parents, I always have. It might not be the same as what my friends have but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My family is pretty cool.

Any other people from young parent families? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday Seven: My Busy Week!

Ever since I got back from Majorca, my life has been so damn busy! To the point where I worried my blog was suffering because I was getting home and just falling asleep. This week, in particular, has been so busy but also a lot of fun, so for something a little different I wanted to share with you a snippet from my super busy week!

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Wickett 

While I was staying at my Mum’s house sitting, Wickett and I had some quality time and he started to fall asleep in my hand. This was a BIG deal, Wickett hates being picked up, he really doesn’t like it. So for him to cuddle up and let me hold him was huge. I really wanted Ali to see and cuddle him and this week Ali to have the cuddle too!

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Goth lipstick of dreams 

When I was a teenager I wanted to be a full emo/goth but I was never quite brave enough to get black lipstick. I found some for a pound and decided what the hell. Who knows when I’ll wear it (it was to go see the Addams family but it was raining and smudgy). My Dad says this picture makes it look like I’m in a movie, I’m down with that.

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New Harry Potter Pops! 

There are new Funko pops. I may have pre ordered one or two…oops.

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Dinner with friends 

Ali works most weekends in the summer, which means organising going out with friends can be difficult. We finally managed to lock down an evening where the four of us could go to dinner at a local pub. Look at this dessert though. Nom.

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Sonia’s leaving tea party

I’m going to be taking over from a lovely lady called Sonia while she is on maternity leave. We had an absolutely adorable tea party for her on Friday with cakes, biscuits and tea. It was all so adorable and tasted so good. I think the whole office was on a sugar crash at the end of the day.

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My first work night out 

That evening I went for my first Indian! I know, I’m 22 years old and have never had an Indian. I had the best time chatting, eating and drinking with my new colleagues. I also had the first glass of wine I’ve ever really enjoyed. New woman, right here.

 

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The Addams Family Musical! 

Abbie and I went to Southampton for her birthday surprise! I’ve had these tickets for MONTHS and it was so hard not telling her, I almost burst on her birthday last week because I was so excited. I’m a huge fan of Carrie Hope Fletcher who played Wednesday Addams, she didn’t disappoint!

 

I wish I could say this week was going to be a slower one, but I’d be wrong with dinners, writing and Pride! Here’s to a busy summer!

I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING! (But nor does anyone else)

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Ah the life of a graduate, the new and exciting¬†opportunities, meeting new people, perhaps travelling, isn’t it wonderful? Well, it would be if life worked out like that. Recently I was talking to a few friends of mine who are coming into the final part of their last year at uni (how it’s been a year since that was me I don’t know) and they had the normal worries of a final year. Worries about the deadlines and dissertations but most importantly feeling like you don’t have a bloody clue what you’re doing. So I let them in on a little secret, I don’t know what I’m doing and as far as I can work out nor does anyone around me, some are just better at pretending than others.

My graduate life is different to how I thought it would be, because working full time every day is hard. It’s a different kind of hard work to what uni was. This is a physical type of exhaustion, my whole body is tired as well as my mind. Do I think Uni prepares you for working full time? No, no it doesn’t. I loved the freedom and the independence of uni, working from home and working when I feel most motivated. When you’re working you have set hours, depending on your employer you might or might not be able to work from home, although I’m yet to meet a graduate who is working from home full time.¬†The transition is hard, it’s not all bad, but it is hard.

There are so many days when I feel my head is spinning and I don’t have a clue that I’m doing. BUT out of everyone I speak to and I mean everyone (who’s willing to admit it), no one thinks they know what they’re doing. There are some people that feel more in control and some that are better at pretending they do.

I have days now where I wonder what I’m doing because my life hasn’t followed this detailed plan I had in my head. I didn’t know that I can to know what I want but roll with life at the same time! So don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do, no one does!

Sunday Seven: 22 and a half

This week I hit 22 and a half, I know¬†most¬†adults don’t count their half birthdays, but firstly I don’t see myself as an adult and secondly I like using this as a benchmark to take stock of what I’ve done in half a year. I mentioned way back in January that I don’t like making New Years Resolutions, instead, I like to use my year birthday to birthday to see how things I have been going. So let’s take a look back and see what I’ve learnt in the past 6 months.

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You don’t need loads of friends to be happy¬†

Now I’m back in Basingstoke we don’t have as many friends around, but that really doesn’t matter. I still talk to Joe all the time, although it sucks I can’t just pop and see him. I also have Abbie and Ben on the other side of town. I have a lot smaller group of people that I’m in contact with but it’s really about the quality rather than the quantity.

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The pain of losing someone you love never goes away, you learn how to deal with it

A few weeks after my birthday I lost one of my hamsters. Although, to me they are my babies. Noodle passed away and it broke my heart, I still miss her each and every day and that never stops.

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I want to write, so I’ll goddam write¬†

Enough messing around, it was time to get serious, get planning and get on with it. We’ll see what happens…

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Having your own space is key to happiness 

We finally moved home! Having our own space has made it much easier for me to relax and have time to myself and Ali.

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It’s ok not to be ok.¬†

I have a problem with wanting to be perfect. I always have. In the last few months when things have gotten tricky I’ve had to remind myself that I’m allowed to feel tired or overwhelmed, that I’m human. So, I did what I always do and I wrote about it and it made me feel a lot better.

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Leaving a job that isn’t right for you doesn’t make you a failure

Back in November I left my first full-time¬†job for a variety of reasons. I wasn’t happy there and didn’t feel like it was right. When I left, even though I had another job lined up, I felt like a failure because I hadn’t been there long. That said it lead on to bigger and better things and just because it didn’t work out didn’t mean I was a failure.

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Grades aren’t everything.¬†

For a good few months, I hid my degree certificate. I didn’t want people to know that I wasn’t perfect and didn’t get the first I’d been dreaming about. I hated mentioning it and whenever I did I’d follow up with ‘but I was only 3% off of a first!’ as if getting a 2:1 in literature was something to be ashamed of. I won’t lie and say it doesn’t hurt but at the same time my life was a mess in third year, to come out at all with a degree is fine with me. It now happily sits on my desk while I write.

Sunday Seven: Seven Things That 20 Somethings Are ‘Supposed’ to Do

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking this week about what is expected of 20 somethings. People have a lot of opinions about your twenties, what you should be doing, what you shouldn’t be doing, how you should feel, how you shouldn’t feel. It’s both exhausting and annoying. While some people are truly trying to help and pass on wisdom after the mistakes they made, it is SO hard not to roll my eyes most of the time. Anyway, I’m hoping that I’m not the only one who gets these!

You should travel, all the time, everywhere! 

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Now, don’t get me wrong I enjoy visiting other places, seeing other cultures and their history BUT I’m not someone who’s into travelling. The thought of just having a backpack and all that jazz doesn’t appeal to me, it never has. I have a list of places I want to go but you won’t see me heading off for weeks or months at a time to share a room and a shower.

You should get experience, lots of experience! 

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I’m lucky enough that I’ve had some great opportunities, but very early on I learnt that coming from money can really help get your career kick started. There are so many industries where you are expected to get experience by working for free or on minimum wage. I know for a fact most 20 somethings really do want to get experience but simply cannot afford it without support.

You should/shouldn’t be thinking about getting married!¬†

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People are obsessed with when¬†they¬†think you should or shouldn’t get married. There’s a total divide on what people think in my life. A lot of people are like you guys have been together forever, when are you getting married? OR they will tell you under no circumstances should you do it in your twenties, I have to say though most people who say this are divorced.

Go out! Party and make the most of it! 

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I did a year of partying at uni, sometimes it was fun but it was never my thing. I’m quite happy to go to the pub every now and again or go out for some cocktails after payday but I’d rather save my money and do exciting things that won’t make me feel awful the next day!

Don’t forget to save!

Between all the travelling, partying and unpaid experience?

You’re in the best time of your life, remember that.¬†

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So far my 20s have been good, but they’ve also been pretty hard. I think people forget the confusion, the stress of trying to work out who you want to be and how to make that happen and all the expectations on you. Oh and not to mention the debt if you went to uni, so much debt.

What are/were you guys told throughout your 20s? Let me know in the comments below!