My ageing hits me in waves. I am sure there will be many reading this thinking shut up your 29, you’re not old and I know, you’re right I am not but there are still moments when I think shit I am nearly 30 am I where I want to be? This question has haunted me through the majority of my 20’s. If I am honest my 20s have been nothing but waves, tsunamis actually of anxiety and worries. Every which way I turned my head there was doubt, concerns, failures, imposter syndrome, anxiety, sadness, rejection. You name it my 20’s have included every self-doubt I could have harboured but I guess in the last 18 months to 3 years I have really begun to enjoy how much I change as I get older and all these changes make me feeler happier, a better person and almost (because I am still a bit of a mess some of the times) proud to be who I am.
I was listening to this weeks episode of the High low and their interview with David Nicholls, something Dolly said during the interview about being nostalgic of her teenage years really struck me especially like me she hated her teenage years, felt unattractive, goofy and not sure of herself. Whilst she wasn’t saying she wanted to return to her teenage years she felt nostalgic for that time nonetheless which resonated with me. I hated being a teenager. I have covered before how I was bullied in school so by the time I was a teenager I had absolutely no idea who I was and because of that I tried to morph into a million different personalities and as a result, ended up being a bit of a dick head. I wasn’t nice at times, I dressed majority like a skater despite never standing on a skateboard with an added bit of feminity in there because my friends were all pretty with highlighted hair and nice fitted clothes so whilst I never ever want to return to that period of my life I am in a way nostalgic for that time, perhaps because I wish I could go back and do those years again knowing who I am now and being myself, but I guess that is the luxury of hindsight. I don’t regret those days as I feel they shaped me into the person I am now but wouldn’t it be nice to have known then what we know now. After that episode, it sparked in me all the reasons I am happier at the end of my 20s.
- I have a better understanding of who I am – This is fundamentally the best part of ageing and the reason, amongst being grateful to have the opportunity to grow older that I am excited to be 30. After what has felt like a lifetime of having no idea who I am I finally feel as though I have a good grasp on it. I know what I like, how I like to dress, how I like to be treated, how I should treat others etc. I know my views and opinions and that I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about them changing or being different from my friends and family. It is a great position to be in. I have always been shy because I spent my life worrying about what I say, whether it came across wrong, whether my views offended, whether someone didn’t like me. Knowing my morales and how I want to live my life as lifted so much of that worry for me.
- I am less worried about what I am doing and how it looks- This was all of my 20s. I went to University because I thought that I needed to to be a success. I took office jobs because the office meant professional. I shied away from writing my blog and doing what I wanted on Instagram because of fear of what people thought. Now at 29, I am in a job which I find fulfilling, in an organisation, I am passionate about. I have Todhpurs and whilst its slow it’s doing well and I am not afraid of what people think of our progress. I am happy with my blog, my photography and what I do and quite frankly because of that, as long as my boss is happy with me, the delegates who come to my events are happy and of course the customers who buy our boots are happy I don’t care about what anyone else thinks about my career.
- I know who my friends are – I am not naturally gifted at letting go of people. I like most people I meet and I want to keep them as my friends so learning to let go of people who are damaging even when I know they are not good for me never feels easy. Yet throughout the years I have cultivated friendships which work for me. Some have had breaks and reformed into something better, some have gone completely from my life but the majority are still in my life either on a daily basis or in a new capacity. There are also the friends who I have made recently who fast-tracked right to wing-woman, biggest support positions. It has been a massive learning curve through the years on what works, learning that people work in different ways and how to make time for all the people I care for but I finally feel I am there.
- I care less about peoples opinions – Out of all of the points I make, this is the one I do struggle with the most from time to time, but definitely something I am coming to terms with. I know not everyone is going to like me, not everyone is going to like or agree with what I say and whilst people not liking me is a hard pill to swallow because I am a natural people pleaser I am coming to terms with it and I know when the roles are reversed I feel the same. In the last few years, I have tried to let go of this worry, doing so with success until prosecco is involved.
- I don’t struggle with imposter syndrome so much – One of the best things my therapist has said to me is a mistake is not a mistake when you learn or gain something from it. I try to remember this as often as I can. Through my 20s I have struggled with imposter syndrome (I still can’t write this without thinking Millenial humble brag) I am not trying to say I am doing anything groundbreaking people wouldn’t expect from me. It is more that I have been in situations I sometimes felt I didn’t deserve and because of that fear of failure or fear of being caught out I always let it hold me back. In the last year, I have realised I am so much more capable than I give myself credit for and to drop the imposter syndrome. If someone thinks I have the skills and capacity to do something I will at least fake the confidence and give it a go.
- I understand my Mental Health better – This is quite frankly the best thing I did in my 20s. In the early days of this decade, I knew I was struggling with something but I had no idea what. I knew I had an eating disorder but I didn’t know about mental health. I really cannot remember it being talked about. I think I have struggled with anxiety since I was about 9/10 years old but I have always passed it off as nerves. I just thought I was a nervous child. In the last three years, I would say I have been on an overwhelming journey learning about my mental health and how to look after it. Because of this the future actually feels exciting now an anxious, what will happen to me mess.
- I know I can be good and whatever I want to focus my attention on (within reason) – I was very lazy with my abilities when I was younger with the attention span of a goldfish unless it really excited me. I didn’t have much self discipline for anything that could benefit me in the long run. I was all about instant highs, quick fixes and fun when I wanted it. Persevering at something I didn’t feel capable of and learning new skills and gaining knowledge of something I knew nothing about has been one of the most rewarding things I have done.
- I know my shortcomings – A lot are related to my Mental Health and by understanding that better I have learnt to understand why I act in behave in certain ways. When I was younger I would throw myself into this situations act and say whatever and however I wanted and deal with the consequences after. Learning how to handle my flaws and where I go wrong has helped me handle situations better. I am still not perfect but I am definitely improving.
- I am so much more confident in my own skin and with my appearance– This was a concept I never thought I would grasp. It is crazy how much we change when we think about it, isn’t it? I was so self-conscious and insecure when I was younger. I hated my face and didn’t think there was anything attractive about me. I would never have dreamt five years later I would leave the house more often than not with no makeup on or without straightening my hair. I haven’t done a whole ‘ I feel pretty’ 360 swivel on you all but I do see that there are parts of me I am happy with and the rest I can at least live with. In the grand scheme of things how I look really does not matter.
- I know what I enjoy and I don’t try to pretend otherwise – I am a picky person at heart there is a lot I like and an awful lot I cannot tolerate, from divey filled village pubs which make me assess why I am still living in the countryside to dick head people who I can’t stand being around. I use to go along to things I already knew I hated because I didn’t want people to think I was boring, high maintenance or narrower minded (all of which I think I can be peppered with and I am fine about that). I know I like nice places, I like drinking and chatting and not necking back cheap shots just to get drunk, I like going for nice food or staying in to watch films, I like old music I can dance to not a club that makes my organs rattle inside me. I am happier at a quiz than I will ever be in clubs. This is not just because I am older, these are things I enjoyed before I even turned 20 I just didn’t want to admit them out loud in case I didn’t look cool.
Now thankfully I couldn’t give two shits. So you will find me in the middle of my friends with my hair tied back converse on dancing like a twat wherever you can hear proud mary playing because that is what makes me happy.