A reflective essay as I turn 26

In two weeks time I will be twenty six. Almost twenty six and I finally feel I know who I am, what I like, adjectives to describe me. I am slightly terrified about turning twenty six, and by slightly, I mean a lot. and by a lot, I mean absolutely. But here I am, I’m juggling a masters with a full time job and then just as many hours again freelancing as a writer. I’m not sure that I’m exactly flourishing and I’m scrounging around for hours to fit in my friends, I’m fitting in a boy at midnight after I’ve finished a shift at the restaurant and all we have time to do is grab a quick drink and then sleep before we have to be somewhere else in the morning. But I’m making a living as a writer, this is all I ever wanted. I’m thinking about the year ahead and perhaps starting up my own creative agency at some time in the next few years. I’m thinking about my post-graduate life. I’m thinking about a boy with blue eyes. I’m thinking about more than just today. I used to only think about yesterday and then I convinced myself to live for today and now finally, I’m almost twenty six and I can look ahead to tomorrow without losing today.

This time last year, I decided to be more ‘fuck it’ once I turned twenty five. I get so caught up, so worried about hurting people’s feelings and being liked and being well thought of that it’s almost paralysing. It’s not a bad thing to be selfish sometimes, because as long as you’re polite and justified, how can anyone blame you for putting yourself first when you need to? So fuck it. I wanted to let some of this fear and anxiety wash over me. It was difficult for sure and I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered it by any means, but bit by bit, I’ve grown into myself. I realised that I am resourceful, I am intelligent and I land on my feet because ultimately I put in the work. I put in the work and with a bit of luck, I land on my feet. And I learnt that people won’t always notice and won’t always tell you, so you have to tell yourself, and so: I am so proud of myself. I deserve good things. I deserve to have good things happen to me. So fuck it. I have ‘be kind. be brave’ tattooed on me, to remember to be kind and brave but also with myself, to be kind and brave, for myself.

So now, two weeks to twenty six, I’m thinking what next? Where do I go from here? If I’m being honest with myself, in-between two full time jobs, the masters and maintaining a minimal social life, I forget to eat, I sleep late and wake early, I have a job where I’m constantly on my feet but I don’t make time to go for my runs or to go back to the exercise classes that I really enjoy. I run through ten minute yoga routines and then I jump in the shower and run off to my hectic schedule. So maybe I should promise to take better care of myself. Maybe I should promise to nourish myself and be kind to this home I live in. Twenty six feels scary, twenty six feels like adulting, twenty six feels like babies and brunch and having your shit together. I have none of those things. But I have myself. I turn up for me.

Two weeks to twenty six and I want to make it count. I want to be sat here in a year’s time looking back on a year of wondrous achievement. And perhaps you won’t be able to measure it in medals, money or on paper but I want to look back and see how far I’ve come. Maybe I don’t need to put a name to what I want to achieve, maybe it’s enough to simply want to continue to be better, for myself. Maybe it’s enough to say: this year I want to be even more of myself. I want to flourish and dazzle and be sparkly because I am capable.

There is so much pressure to be everything in your twenties, there’s celebrities that have more money than you can dream of and they’re only twelve. There’s successful entrepreneurs that are creating exciting new ways to discover the world and the internet makes it even easier to see each other’s curated digital lives. And you know, you can remind yourself, that we censor ourselves, we only put the best of ourselves out there, we don’t know what happens to other people once they’ve posted the picture and turned off the camera. But sometimes, it’s hard to force yourself to remember that and all you can think of is how you feel like you’re swimming in an ocean of people and will you ever truly matter? My year of fuck it has helped with this, because I just keep turning up for me. But of course, as I turn another year older, I am reminded of everything that I’m not, as opposed to everything that I am.

In two weeks I will be twenty six and I’m not exactly embracing it, but I know that I’ll continue to be better, to move forwards and strive towards the things I want, even if it feels like the things that I want are vague and hazy. Here’s to another year of ‘fuck it’.

4 comments

  1. I love this. Everything about it. I’m so glad and happy that you said ‘fuck it’. You won’t necessarily see it but you’ve changed so much in the last year – it’s been incredible to witness xxx

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