I just don’t really know

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I’ve never felt more conflicted than I do right now. You know how people say that they feel hunger like an emotion? That’s me with conflict. My brain is like a ball of “I don’t know” and it’s annoying and interesting and means I keep waking up at 4am to have a silent battle about big and small things and things I shouldn’t even need to question myself on.

I spend a lot of my spare time just being torn, not about a general direction for my life, but about almost everything. I have, as most people do, a gigantic, ever-growing list of things I want to do, places I want to go, food I want to eat, beaches I want to sunbathe on, cultures I want to experience, jobs I want to have, causes I want to help, clothes I want to wear – it’s endless.

I want to do different things with work and at the same time I want to do the same things with work. I want to go to a hundred new places, but I also want to revisit places I love. I want to channel all of my energy and spare time into one idea, yet I can’t seem to focus on it for long enough without getting more ideas.

In one rather dull evening at home alone, feeling a bit ill and a bit angry, I’ve felt conflicted about my hobbies, my travel plans, my next big thing to save for, if I should lay in bed or sit in the living room – it doesn’t matter how big a thing or how trivial, if it it’s my mind you can bet I’m conflicted about it.

Maybe this is just an age thing (27 in 6 days TICK TOCK), maybe it’s just another outcome of spending too much of my life online viewing how other people live and wondering how on earth they manage to do it all. It might be a bit of both, or it might be other stuff. It might be people close to me in both age and emotional ties fighting off killer diseases and making me constantly think about how short life is. It might be the fact I’ve just bought my first home and am feeling suddenly strange that this huge weight has been lifted and I’ve scraped over the finish line of this massive looming task.

I can’t seem to decide lately if I want to drink tea or coffee, let alone make choices that will impact my life every single day. Not knowing up from down and left from right is as annoying as it is sort of intriguing. If conflict is something that comes with this stage of life then I hope it brings good choices, early nights and late nights and absolutely immense amounts of cheese.

Knowing the answers is boring anyway, right?

12 ridiculous things people in their twenties have said to me lately

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Because I like to document the fact I only keep company with good people.

1) Going to the Planetarium has put everything in perspective. Everything will just one day dissolve. I felt so inspired I purchased a book.

2) I feel like I can relate to goats more than people at the moment.

3) I drank some water from the work surface the other day because I suddenly panicked about wastage and I was really hungover.

4) For £50, I would drink the dishwasher scum water.

5) I refuse to join real life. I might just live wild and start a photography blog of photos of me hunting and sleeping in hedges.

6) Are the grill and the oven the same? What is the key difference?

7) I just want to find a painting worth millions and cash in. Hard assets bruv.

8) But when the milk leaves the animal what then? What happens? Is there a procedure? A recipe? different between cow and goat?

9) I’ve never wanted anything more than to jump in that sandbox.

10) sometimes at work I stop and I’m like…I know nothing. I don’t know what anyone is talking about. I don’t know what I even really do.

11) I might simultaneously shit myself and throw up and no one cares about it.

12) I just opened my umbrella and a tampon came flying out.

The realities of living a career life 

  

When I first went to uni I had this idea in my mind of what it would be like to be a career girl. I didn’t even really know what a ‘career girl’ was back then. I just imaged someone who put on a smart, chic outfit every day, travelled into central London and sipped on lattes in the morning and wine after work. I’m not sure exactly what work I imagined I would be doing in between all this coffee drinking, shirt buying and cocktail bar frequenting, but there we go. I was a teenager with a dream, a student loan and a Ford KA. I bloody miss that car.

So now I guess, 6 years later, I am a career person. I have carved out a career in digital communications and social media and it’s going well. I can’t complain on any level about where I’ve got to aged 25. It’s all gone fairly smoothly. There’s been progression, good friends made, good work done, many stressful days and many drunken Friday nights. There has also been many boring days, many ‘omg what I am doing with my life’ days and many mornings where getting out of bed has seemed the worst thing in the world.

What it hasn’t been though, is absolutely anything like I imagined it. The reality is so different than the picture you come up with in your mind of this future you, strutting around the city in expensive shoes, Starbucks in hand, answering phone calls and arranging working lunches. Life is most certainly not an episode of Gossip Girl. It’s more like Hollyoaks with less murder and more hangovers and dancing on kitchen tables because going out to drink is too expensive.

To be honest, I much prefer the reality. I like waking up with just enough time to get ready, potentially not brushing my hair and just throwing it up and rolling into work on a packed, gross tube with my homemade lunch in a Sainsbury’s carrier bag. I know. The glamour.

I wouldn’t say I’m dedicating my life to work, far from it actually, but I have, and continue to put a lot of effort into my career. I don’t want to spend my days doing something I don’t feel is worthwhile. Working makes me feel good, like I’m spending my time wisely, and I’m always learning new things, which I think is a sign things are going okay for me. It’s just a life that is so laughably removed from the glossy ideal.

Working is a slog isn’t it, let’s be honest. Not always a horrible slog, but still. Even when you do a job you love, it’s tiring, it takes a lot of your creative energy, it takes up almost all of your time and everything you do comes back to work in one way or another. Your free time, your holidays, your sleep, your money to fund things and how much you have to spend on living in general.

I salute every young person who’s out there doing the 9-5 (or the 8-6 plus some email checking on the weekends),  or whatever your working set up is, good for you for putting in the time and effort to make something of yourself. Everyone has a different idea of what they want to do and what they want to be and there are many different ways that people are doing it. Getting there however is another ball game entirely.

I’m glad I wasn’t fully aware of the red, sore eyes, aching typing fingers, long teleconferences, stress headaches, office politics, feeling and looking like shit on public transport while being touched by strangers and everything else that comes with working life. It would probably have not filled me with drive and ambition the way my shiny, foamy latte imaginary life did.

I’m fully in support of my work life being what it is. I massively CBA to get out of bed and contour my face or throw together a Pinterest-worthy outfit every morning while preparing a to-do list, before making a smoothie and heading off to a coffee shop. Snoozing four times and eating breakfast biscuits over my keyboard with my dry shampoo bun suits me just fine.

5 reasons I can’t handle ‘going out out’ anymore

 So I’m writing this in the wake of a terrible night out in London while my friend writes a lengthy, formal complaint email, which is a definite sign we are firmly not teens/students/care free youths any more. I don’t think 25 is too old to be going out out, but I feel like it’s becoming more and more evident that clubs need to become a thing of my past. I’m not sure if it’s because I just can’t hack it, my tolerance of other people has become dangerously low in my mid-twenties or if this is just a normal transition. Probably a mixture of the three. Don’t get me wrong though, with the right company, the correct amount of gin and music from the early noughties, I’m as game as anyone.

I just feel lately like a good bar with comfortable chairs, or staying at home with an abundance of wine is my preferable socialising option. An abundance of wine and a nine course meal, to be exact. Anyway, these are my main reasons for wanting to steer clear of clubs and going out out for a while, maybe forever. (never gonna happen though, I’m not THAT boring.)

1) I tolerate drunk people less and less every day.

I used to find it hilarious to watch friends or strangers fall all over the place blind drunk, generally making massive dicks of themselves, but now, I just want them all to get in the sea. I mean it’s totally different if you’re drunk too, because then you are part of the fun and games, but being an observer of such behaviour now just makes me angry. It makes me tired. And it probably makes me hungry if I’m being totally honest.

2) Horrendous door staff.

This has been a theme of my life lately. Encountering bouncers who think they are actually working on an FBI mission rather than a club entrance make me want to sit down and start debating, rather than just pretend to be sober and let them act like a supreme power. This is also due to another kind of lack of tolerance- tolerance for utter dickheads. Security is important, but there’s no need to be an absolute twat about it.

3) I don’t like plans.

So this isn’t specifically about going out out at all, but being an adult is bloody tiring isn’t it!? I much prefer weekends when I don’t have set plans, and things just happen. I also much prefer impromptu nights outs rather than planned, regimented events because the older I get, the worse they always are. Sleep is bae.

4) When I see my friends, I like to be able to hear them

Since working gets in the way of most days and selfishly takes up a lot of time in general, seeing friends is hard. It’s even harder when you factor in responsibilities and adult things people need to find the time to do, along with relationships and families. When I do get the time to see my friends, I now prefer to be able to sit and talk to them and actually catch up, rather than necking tequila and shouting over dance music or squeezing in a quick selfie in a toilet cubicle.

5) Hangovers are HORRIFIC

Life is busy, there’s a lot to do. It’s a bit depressing really, but wasting a whole day laying in bed feeling poisoned and wishing McDonalds was on your lap is just a massive nuisance. They’re also getting worse. So much worse. A few glasses of wine can leave me feeling like someone is putting shelves up inside my skull. I wrote about not being able to hack a hangover a while ago, and since then it’s gotten even more true. Prophylactic paracetamol doesn’t even work these days. HELP ME I AM OLD.

Change in your early twenties

I was meant to spend this Sunday merrily wandering around in the sunshine with my friend but instead I’m in bed feeling vile. The only saviour is the fact I found a Callipo in the freezer and had time to catch up on stuff I can do without moving (laying, napping, rolling around in blankets). Also writing this. From bed. Hiya.

I’m also a teeny tiny bit happy to be lounging in bed because I’m so SO tired. Tired mostly from adjusting to a new job and a new routine. Change is one of those things that’s ultimately good for us. It might not always come about because of the best circumstances but it certainly proves who we are. Getting your head around change is hard and exhausting.

My early twenties have been full of change. Life seems to be ever-evolving and turning direction and while it’s never taken me somewhere I don’t want to be, it’s been a tiring ride.

Turning 21 and leaving uni feels like it happened to someone else. It feels like something that took place so long ago it can’t be my memory. Yet at the same time running around Kingston-Upon-Thames drunk on port and visiting the river late at night to watch the swans feels like five minutes ago. Time is weird. I’d kinda like time to slow down. It’s only being able to have a day of doing nothing that’s given me time to reflect on how much has changed.

Relationships have changed, homes have changed, life goals, career paths, friendship groups, hobbies and even food I like. It’s all changed. Some for the better and some maybe for the better, I’m not entirely clear on everything but who is?

This period of life, my early twenties (now mid-twenties I guess JESUS WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN) must be the same for almost everyone. Its like you haven’t quite found a clothes size that fits you perfectly because you keep fluctuating, but you feel like pretty soon that will stop and you’ll find a good fit. The not fitting quite right into anything period hasn’t been a bad one at all. Youth is wasted on the young, they’re right about that. I’ve had a ball of a time in the last five years and haven’t appreciated it enough. It’s been a surreal, hormonal, happy, sad, exciting, hard, confusing, tipsy and candle-burning at both ends time.

I’ve learnt the most about myself and the most about life by taking on changes and just rolling with it. Not knowing what the hell is happening around you is a good test of how well you deal with shit. I’m now glad for the instability and the financial recklessness and the adventurous travels. I’m glad I tested myself and I’m glad I am where I am at 25. I’d like to personally thank the challenge of change for shaping me and most people I know into fun, hilarious, cheerful and kind people. THANKS FOR THAT.

I’m going to go listen to Roll Deep or something and think about 2009.

Being young and career driven

So here’s something I would like to read more about: being a career person. I’m not sure what the technical term is, but I guess in my case it’s career girl? Professional super power? Work wizard? Well, whatever it is. In a blog market that’s saturated with overnight oats, ways to eat avocado, posts about happiness, mascara reviews and so on (which I, just like everyone else, still read), I like to also read posts that are geared up to the world of work. I’ve started writing them and they get pretty good stats, so I guess I’m not alone.

I think being ambitious is one of the best qualities you can have. I’m not talking being a total bitch about everything and being willing to push colleagues into a shark pool (imagine) to get what you want, I just mean having some drive to go out and get where you want to go. You know, like Leslie Knope. (If you haven’t watched Parks and Recreation, immediately leave this page and do so. That is an order.)

While your twenties is a time of often not knowing where you’re going and still an ideal period of your life to travel and move around and try loads of new stuff, it’s still also perfectly okay to be career driven. No one says you have go backpacking or live in a rain forest for a few months, or go to yoga retreats to find yourself just because you’re young.  If you want to be a go-getter in the workplace, then I say go get. I know I do. I want to go get (unsure exactly what because I’m 25 and I DON’T KNOW LEAVE ME ALONE) the kind of job where I do things I love and have freedom to work around myself. I don’t know precisely the job I want to do in the future, but I know the sector I want to be in and I know the things I need to go to achieve my goals. I like doing it. I don’t care about sounding like a bore or like I’m wasting my youth, because if you do it right, you can have it all.

Having it all is why I want to do well at work. I could lie and say I’ll be happy to live a simple life in a tiny home with the essentials for living because all you need is happiness, but er, no. That would be a million miles from the truth. Of course happiness is the main aim of life, but I like holidays, and I like Zara Home and I like feeling like I’ve achieved something good at the end of the day. I like finding things difficult sometimes without wanting to set them on fire. I want to do a job that makes me happy. So I work at it. I’m not constantly at home with my head buried in books and searching the internet for knowledge to get promoted or learn a new skill a week, I still have plenty of fun, but I always have something to aim for and it keeps me progressing.

Without sounding like an Etsy wall print, I think people that chase their dreams are inspiring. I think being young and being career driven is a good thing. I think knowing what you want is just as okay as having no idea at all. I think we should basically take this strange, pre-middle bit of our lives and do everything we can to make our time worthwhile. Yes I know, I should shut up and go sew my feelings on a cushion or something. I’m going to eat some Rich Tea biscuits though, because sew I cannot.

Wandering through your twenties doesn’t mean you’re lost

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Your mid-twenties are a bit of a weird time. You either aren’t where you thought you would be, or you are and you now want something else. Or you just have absolutely no idea about anything but things seem okay so you keep going with the flow (me) and hope for the best. Whatever your general feels are, you probably at some point have felt like you’re wandering in no general direction- it can’t just be me that constantly feels this way. (This is where I look for reassuring nods and shouts of OMG YEAH ME TOO.

It doesn’t apply to everything in life. I think you can have some aspects totally sorted, like having a good job that you like, or living somewhere you can see yourself staying, or being in a steady relationship, and still feel like you are aimlessly sauntering along, spending too much money on meal deals and communicating with people mostly via emoji. I mean, I quite enjoy a good WhatsApp conversation with my nearest and dearest using mostly sassy pink emoji girl and the happy poo, it’s 2015 after all.

I started to mildly panic at the start of this year that my life was okay, and there wasn’t one big thing that needed fixing, but that I had no direction. I think there was probably an evening where I laid in bed eating a 3500 calorie pick and mix from Wilkos while silently asking myself questions like WHERE? WHY? HOW? WHAT NEXT? Well I have no earthly idea tbh. I did throw together some sort of vague plan for the end of the year which I am sticking to- moving and saving, but that’s it. The wandering will continue until then, during this time and most probably after.

Despite having plans to aim for, I still have quite a big sketchy question mark that sort of floats around over my head like I’m a Sim. A Sim who’s being made to play chess to improve their skills and get promoted but they just don’t know why, and quite frankly, they don’t want to. I always thought my poor Sims would tell me to fuck off regularly if they could. Particularly Mortimer Goth. Anyway, Sims and question marks aside, it’s not all bad is it, this wandering business? If feels a bit daunting sometimes remembering how long ago you were a student, how long ago you were a teenager, how long ago you were at school and just how insanely fast life seems to be going. But still, it’s not so bad. The going away when you want, not knowing where you’ll be six months down the line, going travelling because you want to, applying to work abroad because you want to. Unsettled maybe, but it’s definitely not boring, and thank God for that.

So it might be a good idea if we just wander as much as we can, because looking back on the last few years, I’ve had a ball for the most part, and it’s all come about because I have pretty much just done things on a whim. I wish I could stop having waves of worry over my life and turning to binge eating and watching people fail at things on youtube (basically therapy).  I think most people will come over a bit panic-ridden and need a lie down with Bridesmaids and Cadbury’s finest selection from time to time, because getting older IS SCARY. But the thing about getting older is, you’re getting older (it’s science you see) and we might not be able to wander and be free as much in the future (let’s face it, we won’t). So let’s just take advantage of not knowing what the hell will be happening in our lives in 12 months. It might lead to really amazing stuff like travels, a whole new career, maybe even a puppy if you’re REALLY fortunate. Or maybe you’ll like, get married, have a baby, get a house and start doing real food shopping (no one panic, booking a holiday to Thailand and changing your bedroom colour scheme works too.)

Just because we’re wandering, doesn’t mean we’re lost.

6 mid-twenties turn offs 

  

I turned 25 on Friday. A quarter of a century old. Officially closer to 30 than 20. I could go on but I won’t, don’t worry. So I’m getting on a bit, and I’ve started to notice my list of things I can no longer tolerate is getting bigger. Much bigger. 

It started with little things like pre-drinking death cocktails from jugs, but now it’s become so much bigger. 

1) REALLY drunk people, in any vacinity (except for festivals, because that’s different). 

If I’m drunk too, then it’s fine, it’s more than fine, it’s ideal. However if I’m sober, and they happen to be on my tube carriage or remotely near me, I want to rip my head off. I used to find it funny and film strangers on snapchat (yes I am a creep) but now I just want them to F-off. The screeching, the dribbling, the chanting. Nope. 

2) Braggers.

 I used to listen to people who talked about themselves and how amazing life is for them all starry eyed and patient because when you’re not there yet, you sort of look up to it. I mean it’s always been gross, but back when I was a fresh graduate or still a student I listened without wanting to perform martial arts. Now though, JUST SHUT UP. Keep it to yourself mate, because no one cares. It’s a vile trait and I intend on culling brag-tastic arseholes from my life. 

3) Dirty kitchens.

 What used to be acceptable in a sort of ‘we are young, this is cool, it’s fine to drink vodka from an egg cup’ kinda way, is now just disgusting. Clean your kitchen FFs. And your bathroom for that matter. Poundland sell bleach, so there’s no excuse. 

4) waiting for anything.

 I wish I was less angry about waiting for stuff (trains, emails, being paid, paying in the supermarket) but I can’t help it. The older I get, the more ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’ vibes I have. I blame the Internet and contactless cards. 

5) Lack of ambition. 

This is a very new one, but when someone is outright lazy and puts in zero effort to get anywhere in life, I just want to dive in and tell them what to do. I don’t though because I don’t want to be universally hated. But I am SO concerned on the inside. 

6) Full weekends. 

When will I lay and eat crumpets? When will I not go to the gym but wear my trainers around the house? When will I drink coffee and sit in the kitchen bitching about the neighbours? 

26 life lessons from your early twenties that will serve you well

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In a few weeks I will be 25. Twenty actual five. Sometimes I think about it and it all gets a bit WOAH OMG. But actually, it’s all going to be fine. In fact, I am glad. I feel actually quite together for once in my life (apart from the stomach ache I have from eating too much dominos last night) and it’s mostly down to some serious lessons in life over the last five years.

1) Asking for help is wise, not weak.

2) Culling friends is necessary. Friends are your support system as well drinking partners and everything else you do together. Why have bad ones in your life?

3) Leaving porridge dregs in a bowl all day is a terrible idea unless cleaning a substance similar to concrete is your idea of fun.

4) You get absolutely nothing from wishing you had a life like one you only know from the internet or Instagram stalking. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Not. A. Thing.

5) Getting home safely at night is important (but ubers won’t always cost £7 and you can’t formally complain about them the next day when your bill is £20 for your drunken 2am jaunt across town)

6) Getting cutlery in the washing machine is a steep learning curve every time it happens. These things make us wiser.

7) Harry Potter will never not be relevant.

8) Savings aren’t for more grown up people than you. They are important and everyone should save a little, even if it seems like bugger all at the time.

9) Knowing how to cook more than two meals is a vital skill and will serve you well.

10) Rushing to settle down and get your shit together is not worth the stress and will make you feel defeated and frustrated and pissed off pretty much constantly. And probably give you premature wrinkles.

11) Everything you thought would happen aged 21 probably hasn’t and probably won’t happen quite the way you planned   (I still don’t have a puppy) however you will always get hardcore happy over cheap wine. Always.

12) Denial isn’t the answer when bad or scary things happen. Actually dealing with stuff helps. Like, really helps. Just do it.

13) Tea was the answer and remains the answer to most things.

14) Joining a gym just to be a member of the gym and thinking about going to the gym but not going to the gym ever, is the same as chucking some money in a toilet and flushing it away.

15) There really is something to eating healthy. It actually does make you feel good and is like, quite important for your body. Broccoli for life.

16) Skincare and sun cream are really important unless you want to want to look like a prune in 10 short years. Your mum was right.

17) Spots won’t go away in your twenties like magic.

18) Careers are actually hard and getting to the top takes time and probably some ass kissing. Shock horror.

19) Some of your friends will earn more money than you and live in bigger, nicer houses and that is just that.

20) Photoshopped bodies and faces and hair aren’t real and wanting to look like them is the same as wanting to look like a cartoon. (however it’s fine to want to look like the little mermaid when she’s a human though because life and Disney and that hair)

21) When it comes to health, it’s better to actually know and consult a medical professional than cry over Google and diagnose yourself with imminent death.

22) Actually keeping up with what’s going on in the world makes it easier to have conversations with people, makes you sound clever and informed and comes in really bloody handy at pub quizzes.

23) Taking control of your finances when things get out of hand can start with just your banking app and a post-it note. It’s better to know than to pretend you have the bank balance of Simon Cowell and blindly chuck more money at ASOS.

24) Money spent on travel is money well spent indeed.

25) Going to the dentist is better than not going to the dentist. You want to be able to chew your chocolate well into your sixties, right?

And finally, something that struck a chord when I saw it floating around Twitter last year

26) THIS:

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21 ridiculous things people in their twenties have said to me: Part 3

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1) I am going to write a book called endless non-joy. Everyone feels the non-joy. It can’t just be me. Imagine if it became a best seller.

2) I sometimes wonder how many times the words ‘get out of my fucking way’ go through my head everyday. I think probably over a thousand.

3) I don’t really want to get out of the road to be honest.

4) What’s asthma?

5) I started mopping up spilt tea in the office with a sanitary towel from my bag the other day. I just did it on impulse. People backed away.

6) When I can’t be bothered to queue in supermarkets I just think ‘today is the day I’ll break the law’.

7) I woke up wearing his top and he was wearing my coat. I have no explanation. I also hate him.

8) Let’s all get pregnant tomorrow. Imagine the Instagram montages.

9) My mum was really not impressed with that video of me dancing outside McDonalds fucked off my face.

10) Underwear is the key to happiness. GPs are missing a trick when they prescribe meds. They should provide lingerie.

11) I hate absolutely everyone. There isn’t anyone I like. Actually no that’s wrong, because I do like you.

12) I’m watching Gossip Girl at work. I’m sure this isn’t allowed.

13) I’m just scrolling through our WhatsApp history to work out when my last period was.

14) I may not be able to cook but I can do DIY. I can’t tell you how much I love glue guns.

15) Can you bring Pringles into Asia? That’s my main concern.

16) Me and my dogs love swimming. We don’t go together obviously.

17) I woke up at 4am and watched some teleshopping channel and one of the Pussycat dolls was talking about her bad skin for an hour. She’s never had bad skin. It’s fucking lies. I was furious.

18) I had to have a rest in Iceland yesterday. Life is too much sometimes.

19) How’s the menstruating going? Mine is full throttle.

20) Basically we played beer pong with pistachios then he poured a bottle of squash over my head. I need to mop the floor.

21) My dad just said ‘I love Eastenders, it’s what I live for, it makes me happy. I have the theme tune on my ipod.’ Oh Steve!