So, this is it, there’s no escaping. I can run, but I can’t hide.
No, not the iconic Craig David song where he documented just how busy he’d been over the course of a week (although it is an absolute tune).
I am in fact, entering the last week of my 20’s.
Regular readers of my blog (hi!) will recall how over the last few months I’ve written about my apprehensive feelings with regards to relinquishing that 2 at the beginning of my age and embracing the 3.
Well, you know what? As I see each day of my 20’s slip through my hands like metaphorical grains of sand (Jesus wept, I’m melodramatic aren’t I?), I’m slowly but surely becoming more accepting.
I had given consideration to lying about my age when asked in the future, and do what my Mum always threatens to do. Take a year off her actual age. But then, I’d just be lying to myself wouldn’t I? Thus, I might as well just suck it up and build myself a bridge and get over the damn thing.
Due to my impending change of age, I’ve found myself in something of a nostalgic mood of late. Certain songs I’ve listened to have raised a smile where I’ve been reminded of something from my past or I find myself regressing back to an age and thinking about what I was up to at that time. I often end up shaking my head at myself, mainly due to sheer embarrassment, but more on that later.
What better way, I thought, to bid farewell to my twenties, than to write a blog post where I look back on the decade where I went from being an incredibly irresponsible young woman to, well, er, an irresponsible older woman(!).
My life was SO incredibly different at 20 to how it is now. From my hair (no excuses I’m afraid) through to who I was with at the time, even down to what I’d get up to in my spare time (I didn’t drink alcohol until I was nearly 22!).
I thought this hair style looked good. WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME IT LOOKED SHIT?
I was in the same job I’d had since I was 18 and while I loved the people I worked with; beyond belief, I was bored and wanted more money. Sadly, the week before I was due to leave that job, my boss who was also a dear friend, passed away. For me, that will always be my standout memory of being 20. It was an awful time which had a profound effect on me and indeed the decisions I made over the next few months and years.
2 weeks after turning 21 and now in a new job which I absolutely adored (again working with some amazing people), I left home and moved in with my then boyfriend in a different part of Bristol, where I didn’t really know anyone. This co-habitation only lasted 10 months and after much soul searching I decided I wanted to be single.
There are no words.
A chance conversation with my childhood next door neighbour one Sunday afternoon led to me moving out of the home I shared with my then boyfriend and shacking up with her and her 2 housemates. This is where life really changed and without sounding like a bit of a sap, it took me on a journey I never anticipated. I discovered drink, inappropriate men and how making poor decision after poor decision would ultimately lead to me having to walk away from a job I absolutely adored.
22 was a good age. I made so many new friends and had so much fun – probably a little bit too much fun in fact. Would I change anything? No, because like I’ve said in the past, regret the things you haven’t done, not the things you have.
22 and a gobshite. An annoying gobshite.
The final months of 22 into 23 was a rough time, both my parents were diagnosed with cancer within months of each other. As one finished their treatment, the other was diagnosed with the horrendous illness and went through treatment themselves. Experiencing this at a young age and as an only child was tough but I was lucky enough to have some amazing friends around me throughout this period, their support I’m forever grateful for.
My eyes were also opened wide at the age of 23, learning the lesson that people aren’t always true and genuine. I certainly learnt a lot at the age of 23 and this added an element of cynicism to my personality and indeed my outlook on life, perhaps.
23 and still a drunken nause. But hey, at least I’d stopped flicking my hair out. PS. What ARE those earrings about? A dolphin could jump through they.
At the age of 24 I was in yet another different job after having to leave my longest job to date (and most well-loved).
It’d be great to say what I did but I honestly can’t remember. I know I worked in an office but in terms of what the company did, even 6 years on I still draw a blank.
At this age, I made the wise decision to move back home to save some money and to calm down my wild ways. One of the best decisions I ever made, and something that ultimately led to me deciding to lose the huge amount of weight I’d gained during my (wild) years of eating takeaway after takeaway and drinking pints of lager (don’t ask).
A flippant comment from my Dad one August day regarding how I’d put on a lot of weight resulted in me losing over 5 stone in 2 years. A proud achievement for sure.
Meeting Wes at the age of 24 was a life changer too. I finally knew what it felt like to be unconditionally loved by a man. Seeing how much he adored me boosted my low confidence.
Meeting this one at 24 was a highlight of my 20’s for sure (not sure if he’d share my sentiment!)
I recall experiencing something of a mid-20’s crisis at the age of 25. I was living at home, seeing Wes, in a dead end job (yes, I moved jobs yet again!) but unsure of whether to settle down or pack up my life in a bag and see the world.
Finally, at the age of 25 I was the proud owner of good hair! There I am, with trusty menthol in hand, I’m gonna miss those bad boys.
I decided on the former and at the age of 26 and 1 week I bought my first home with Wes. Trekking across the world with the contents of my life in a bag would never have suited me. The thought of being more than a meter or 2 away from a plug socket was anxiety inducting to say the least. I’m far too high maintenance for all of that travelling malarkey.
26 is my second favourite age. My body was where I wanted it to be, Wes and I had some great holidays/nights out, both together and apart. I was earning good money and really enjoying life (we also got engaged, spose I should mention that!).
1 month before turning 27 I found out I was pregnant with my son. It rounded off a great year for me.
I’m afraid to say, I was still a drunken nause at 26. Common theme here eh?
27 was all about being pregnant and then welcoming my son into the world. I suddenly felt very grown up and as mentioned previously, it was a huge shock to the system for many reasons.
Holding a 4 day old Seb….just look at those wrinkles on his arm!
I spent the last few months of 27 feeling incredibly anxious and realising I really wasn’t myself, being a Mum was overwhelming.
These feelings continued when I turned 28 and when I think back to being that age, I do feel sad. It was a tough year with my post-natal depression and anxiety which resulted in a break down during New Year 2015 and I know I’d lost my spark. I wondered if it would ever come back and if the Rachel of old was long gone replaced by someone I and indeed my family barely recognised anymore.
I feel sad when I look at this photo, as although I’m smiling, I know what is to come only a few days later.
I got better, of course, and although hearing I’d need an operation the day before my 29th Birthday made that birthday itself a little unenjoyable, my absolute favourite age of my 20’s has in fact been 29.
Allow me to tell you why.
There have been times at 29 where I’ve never known happiness and contentment like it. I’ve loved my job more than I could ever imagine loving a role (yep, another new one), I’ve loved being a parent and experienced some utter highs being a Mum. Starting up this blog has brought so much joy to my life and a real sense of achievement. I’ve also had some fantastic, incredible times spent with family and friends. Amazing nights out, holidays, day trips and even quiet days at home just the 3 of us. Moving house at 29 was great. I feel very settled where we are now.
Aged 29. Genuine smiles. Genuine happiness. Great age.
Don’t get me wrong, 29 has certainly brought its challenges but I feel I’ve dealt with them well and I’m proud of the person I’ve become. I no longer spend time with people I don’t want to, for whatever reason and I ensure I spend time with the people who appreciate me and love me for me.
I enjoy the balance I have in life.
Yeah, I’d like to be half a stone lighter, I’d love to have the flat stomach I had when I was 26 and I’d LOVE to no longer be in debt. But hey, I’m confident, I’m happy and my son is happy too and that’s the most important thing in life.
I’m excited to see what my 30’s bring. I’m excited to find out what I can achieve and what I experience. I’m sure there will be as many downs as there are ups but with everything I’ve learnt in my 20’s, I feel I’m ready for the next chapter. Bring. It. On.
Aged 23. Falling off a wheelie bin I was precariously perched on. Pissed. Obvs.