Turning 25

17 June 2020

If you'd asked me even six months ago where I'd be spending my 25th birthday, 'at home in Dorset' would have been one of the last places on my list. Yet, last Monday when I blew out my candles, I was in the family home I'd grown up in - and hadn't spent a birthday in since my 18th.

25 is a strange age, it feels like I should really, really have my shit together. But I'm also fully aware that in the grand scheme of things, I'm still reasonably young. When I was 18, I was pretty convinced that by 25 I would have achieved a lot of things that I haven't yet - and I would definitely, obviously, be engaged.

The reality is, that the world I turned 25 in is one which is incredibly far from what I envisioned when I sat in my Italian flat, dreaming up life in seven years' time. From politics to, y'know, the international pandemic currently wreaking havoc around the world, very little remains the same.

Being in your mid-twenties feels like a football game, where nobody has told you which position you're playing. Some people are scoring goals upfront, and others are defending at the back, and you're running around thinking - I should fit in here somewhere - but unable to find exactly where you belong. Which results, a lot of the time, in feeling like you shouldn't be playing the game in the first place.

On the same day, I will spend a morning writing informative, professional assignments for a freelance client and later that evening be in my third hour of a TikTok binge, wondering if I should even have the app in the first place, (debatable). I will also, within that day, be pouring myself a big G&T, but then be retiring to my childhood bedroom.

In the eternal words of Britney Spears, I'm not a girl, not yet a woman.

At the weekend, I had a socially distanced coffee with my friend Abbie. Abbie and I met at school, where our mutual obsession for the blogging site Tumblr made us gravitate towards one another despite the lack of any friends in common. Ten years later and baked camembert and the same mutual disdain for men has replaced the roots of our friendship - and our ability to therapise one another.

Among the many, many discussions we had - one of the longest, was about 'goals'.

It struck me that whilst I am big into lists, I very rarely write achievable goals, or a plan, or an end that I need to figure out the means to reach.

And what I realised, in my first week as a 25-year-old, sat on that bench with Abbie, was that I do, actually have goals. And not just 'save money and lose weight', I have professional goals and mental goals and yes, okay, one is 'get a tattoo', but another is to start looking into writing courses.

Lockdown for me has definitely been a wakeup call, but I think that's because I'm finally open to being woken up. Where once (literally only eighteen months ago), I would have thrown caution to the wind and thought 'whatever will be will be, I'll get there eventually', the last three months have grounded me - both physically and literally.

I've had to confront the reality that if I don't want to be spending the next five birthdays in my childhood bedroom, I need to have a bit more of a direction. And that doesn't mean sacrificing travel, or cutting out my flat whites, it doesn't even mean I need to stop getting outrageously drunk on gin. It just means that between all of those things, I want to be working towards something, I want to not just be idly watching the world go by and letting things happen to me instead of making things happen.

I spent the first half of my twenties graduating from university and living in Australia, America, and France. At the halfway point, I can safely say I am so excited to see what the second chapter holds, but this time I want to make sure I'm writing more of it by myself.

Love, Alice x


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