Growing up, I had a really easy life. I feel that sometimes you read all of these stories about how my mother didn’t want me, how my life spiralled into a mental health car crash, and how my relationships all seem crumble. But my life has never been just that.
I have travelled the world with the most loving parents in existence (I am biased, what can I say?). I had good education at every level. I have been allowed to fall down, and get back up again. I had the best of times at my school discos, eating 20p pick & mixes, drinking juice from a plastic carton (which we chewed the bottom of and drank it upside down, thinking it made us cool.). I have always had a supportive family, eating corned beef butties at my Auntie Rita’s house
I have always been allowed to be me. I never thought it back then, I would always fight the usual battles as a child, thinking that my parents hated me because I wasn’t allowed to smoke. I battled with my dad, sometimes terribly. As I have grown up, however, I begin to look back at such moments with guilt. I never realised back then that the undertones of what I was writing, basically that I didn’t like my dad, or respect a visit from him inside my room, is crippling to a father. I love my dad. We have this almost silent understanding of each other. When he hugs me, he smacks my back in that kind of manly hug that real men do, and it stings for a while, but I love it.
Three of four times a year, me and my mum will remember the time that I ran to grab some sausage cheese (the smoked german cheese that is shaped like a sausage, duh!) from the cheese counter in Morrisons when I slipped and went crashing into said cheese counter, splitting open my chin. I am now at that age where we joke about how I thought I got away with stealing bits of vodka at the age of fifteen, with the intention to drink it with my friends on the park every Friday night.
When I was 13, it was time to pick my options for my GCSE’s. We got given four extra slots in our timetable to pick from a range of subject. I was told that I was good enough to take both German and French, that I should probably also pick I.T (hey, we were on the verge of the technological revolution in 2007!). However, I looked at my mum and dad and told them that I wanted to take as much performing arts subjects as possible. Rather than shake their head and tell me that I was crazy for picking a controversial career path, they welcomed it with nothing but praise.
Two weeks have passed since I turned 24. I left the early twenties, ready to dive straight into the mid-twenties. As a teenager, the years fly by. You complain about school, how the weeks drag as you crawl towards drinking stolen vodka on the local park every Friday night.
I think one of the biggest regrets most mid-twenty year olds experience is that we were all guilty of wishing the time away. In high school, I couldn’t wait to be older. I couldn’t wait to live the adult life, and what I thought would be the adult dream. The kids, the house, the car, the career.
Oh, how funny that is now.
Knowing what I know now. I am glad I don’t have the kids, the house, the car and the career. Thats not to disrespect those that do, because thats what they wanted. But it was never for me. It wasn’t until I reached my early twenties that I realised this though.
Carrie Bradshaw said it best, but doesn’t she always?
“Enjoy yourself. That’s what your 20s are for. Your 30s are to learn the lessons. Your 40s are to pay for the drinks.”
– Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
In the true spirit of Carrie Bradshaw, maybe we can revisit this post in five and a half years time, and we can talk about which lessons we will learn in our 30s.
The mid twenties for me contain travelling the world solo. Starting a Masters Degree and making a solid foundation for myself. Finally getting a hold of my finances. Finally understanding my mental health. But apart from that, my mid-twenties involve me finding myself in this world.
We are a generation that grow up too quickly. We are a society that pushes a lot of compulsory education and sitting in line on our children. Now I’m 24, I am independent enough to stand on my own two feet and walk at my own pace. But I’m young enough to make mistakes and run back to mum and dad.
We should stop viewing the mid-twenties as a slippery slide to the dreading 30, and start embracing it as a time to be alive.
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