At the weekend, I drove up to Coventry along with my family for a family friend’s 100-day baby celebration. It was such a fun day filled with catch-ups, laughs and nostalgic memory swapping, and I came away feeling mostly refreshed, inspired and, well, happy. I might not get out much but when I do, I make it count!
These are the girls (well, women, now!) that I grew up surrounded by. We spent family occasions together, navigated Christmases together at the kids’ table, wore each other’s clothes and did each other’s makeup… And now we’re grown. I’m one of the youngest of the pack at 28 and whilst it’s always fun to see the girls and cuddle their kids, what I mostly took away from the weekend was that I am most certainly in my late-twenties now. Like, firmly there.
Photos by Sian
While my peers are seemingly all moving at an average human adults’ pace, I often feel like I’m wading through treacle.
Mornings continue to be a struggle for me, never mind whilst getting kids ready in the morning. I regularly feel like my career is coming to a crossroads, even though my business is thriving and SO many of you ask little ol’ me for advice. I’m still hunting for my first home and getting my life in order ready for the biggest purchase of my life.
Sometimes I still make potato smileys for dinner.
When does adulthood set in?
Like many of my friends, when I was younger and encouraged to map out my ideal life, I threw a random age out there as a ‘deadline’ and never gave myself space for movement or growth. At the grand age of, I think, 15, I’d decided that 26 would be a great age to own a house, be a mother to two and have worked for five years in my dream career. (I can practically hear you all either chuckling or wondering why that wasn’t realistic.)
The thing is, we’re growing constantly – daily, in fact – and our ambitions grow and change too. At 26 I was newly moved home to England with no plans for breakfast the next day, never mind my future. I came home with no job and threw myself voraciously into freelancing, which has somehow worked for me. Did I envision myself starting a business from the ashes of my old life and crippled in a haze of grief? Well, not really. But somehow I made it work and now I’m in my late-twenties, keeping on keeping on.
The girls and I caught up on how time moves at a devastatingly rapid pace. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were learning to drive?! And now one of them is happily a mother of three, even though she was adamant she didn’t want kids. Another is newly moved back to her hometown after four years living in her dream London townhouse.
If spending time with the girls I grew up with has taught me anything, it is that life’s curveballs throw you wherever it wants you to go and oftentimes that is for the better. 99.9% of the time when I talk about my time in Hong Kong, it’s all positive but, daily, I think about why that was a chapter in my life. It of course had a profound impact on me and yet I fret that it was me that made the decision to move there, and subsequently tore a tornado through the life I’d previously planned for myself.
Could I be in a managerial position in an editorial team by now? Probably. Do I still hold the ambition and fire in my belly to reach for that? The jury is out on that one.
I bared my soul to the girls about this very topic at the weekend, and they all said the same thing to me:
It’s funny how life happens. You can plan for one thing, but something else will land in your lap, and yet here we are: working things out.
Wait – I’m in my late-twenties now. And with almost nothing planned, that’s totally fine. I’m ready for whatever comes next.