I think 24 was the age I stopped looking forward to birthdays. In 2015 I literally woke up on January 1st, sat up in bed and though 'F*ck. I'm gonna be 25 this year. I need to get my shit together.' Literally. This literally happened. I wasn't in the career I wanted to be in, I felt directionless and disappointed with myself, and thus the birthday-as-deadline was born. I haven't be able to shake off that idea since; that a birthday is not only a celebration but a line in the sand asking 'what have you got to show for this year, hmmm?'. But having turned 26 last weekend, I have to say I've noticed some significant upsides to this whole ageing thing. For example:
FOMO DIES A SWIFT AND DECISIVE DEATH
I do not. Give a flying f*ck. About your night out. In the nicest possible way. I'm sure you had fun, I'm sure your story about who drank what and was sick on whom is pithy and original, but I fully stand by my decision to remain indoors watching Luke Cage and cooking an elaborate and time consuming asian curry with my boyfriend in our pyjamas. That is how I roll now.
"I just ate a whole bag of chicken ramen flavoured crisps on the sofa"
I seem to have discovered within myself a very solid ability to stand by my decisions without apology or qualification. I do not like drinking or clubbing, therefore I do neither. Whereas I once would have wondered if this meant I was 'boring' or missing out on 'the best years of my life' I now see things much more simply. I know what I like, I do what I like, that's it. I didn't cultivate this confidence. It just sprung up one day and took root. I asked my BFF the other day if she was prepared for turning 26 soon, and she replied 'Well I just ate a whole bag of chicken ramen flavoured crisps on the sofa so yeah'. Friends, I think she's ready.*
SAID ASIAN CURRY CO-CHEF AND I GET ALONG MUCH BETTER
He's not quite at the 26 mark yet, but ageing has had a profound affect on my relationship with my boyfriend. Given that we're two quite fiery people, it's just. so. calm. We've both naturally chilled out with age, and a lot of the hallmarks of young relationships (insecurity, jealousy, bad communication, holding grudges) are just not there any more. It's weird to imagine us behaving like that now that everything's so easy all the time. We haven't got everything figured out by any means, but we make an awesome if extremely labour intensive massaman, so that's a start.
*chicken ramen flavoured crisps are a real thing where she lives
What are your best bits of getting older?