This week, I officially hit my mid-thirties and it made me reflect on just how much has changed in the past decade. These days, I happily opt for nights in with a cup of tea and the cats over brightly-coloured shots and loud clubs. In fact, the mere idea of binge drinking makes me cringe (and dry-heave a bit).
The last time I got categorically Off My Face drunk was on my hen do in 2016. This resulted in me spending the next morning with my head down the toilet in a posh hotel as my poor sister-in-law witnessed the whole thing. Good times.
As my girls are only just discovering such ‘delights’, I can’t say I envy them. For me, being a teenager was downright traumatic and, in hindsight, my twenties were a rather unpleasant learning curve. I raced through my late teens and jumped feet first into adulthood with no real thought as to where it would lead nor the lasting consequences of the rash decisions I made.
It was in my mid-twenties that I learnt all about humility, accountability, being brave and new beginnings. The juvenile stubbornness began to fade as I took responsibility for my own life and, in turn, became much more cautious about who I chose to let in. Like a newborn giraffe, I stumbled my way through this new chapter and slowly found my voice, along with a surprising level of resilience as I raised my girls and began to take significant steps forward.
My early thirties changed everything. Along with tragedy, this period of my life taught me my most valuable lesson to date; stop putting up with other people’s negativity. I began to challenge narrow-minded views and mercilessly cut off those who were draining me, the kind of people that I no longer had the energy nor inclination to pander to any longer.
For this, I remain unapologetic. Not all us are fortunate enough to make it this far so why on Earth would I want to spend another moment of this precious life around contemptuous beings? Of course, I’m still learning and humble enough to admit when I do get things wrong. It’s just that these days, my priorities are different. My social circle is small yet solid and when it comes to my career, I feel that I’ve finally found my focus.
Sure, the face that once glowed is now growing old and my body is showing the tell-tale signs of wear and tear, with several joints clicking involuntarily as I move and the scars of a turbulent past forever engraved into my skin.
My once-plump lips are getting thinner and the deep frown lines on my brow are evidently here to stay. I won’t lie; I’ve been toying with the idea of Botox and lip fillers recently in a vain effort to preserve my youth for just a little bit longer but I can’t justify the expense nor bother with the upkeep of such commitments.
Instead, I’m learning to be kinder to that girl in the mirror. You see, we’ve been through a lot together and she’s always had my back, keeping me motivated when things seem hopeless and survived some intolerable circumstances. I’m proud of her and looking forward to seeing what the next few years bring.