My aunts were exclaiming the other day (as aunts do) over how much we’ve grown. A very sensitive topic with the cousins who were now in their mid 30s, and an even sorer point with those of us who were verging on them.
But I digress. I’m not here to tell you of my age-related woes (hey, I still look younger than I really am, right? Just say yes) but of how this decade, just a tiny speck in the greater scheme of things, has proven to be so determining. If I had to stop and take a look behind me, I’d probably find myself scratching my head, eyebrows raised, wondering how the hell that happened. At 19, I probably thought grandly of myself. A woman with a purpose – whatever that was. Now I know my head was mostly full of fluff. If I could whisper to myself while I slept on the eve of my 20th birthday, here’s what I’d say:
- Honey, what cousin Claire told you is true. They will flash by so fast it will hurt.
One minute I’m just out my teens (I used to tell everyone I’m twenteen. God I was lame), the next I’m hitting the big 3-0 faster than the bite of the mosquito you’ve been hunting but never saw coming. It’s irritating just about the same too. It has one wondering whether it’s the heightened sense of consciousness which makes it seem to be going by faster than previous decades. Agh, ignorance really is bliss sometimes.
- You will build up confidence, only to have it shattered. Build-Shatter-Build. You’ll kill at the game.
Yes, you will question the purpose of everything – including yourself. You think you’ll find the answers, maybe at work or in your relationship, only to have them thrown back in your face and you’re back to square one. And if that’s not happening, you will probably be hanging somewhere in between, uncertain, a bit lost sometimes, not too sure about where you’re heading. Hang in there though – there is a reason to it…
- Your 20s will be extremely defining years.
You’ll get to make choices, so many difficult, demanding & defining choices. They will help you build character and shape what kind of person you’ll be. It’s only natural therefore to feel your confidence slipping just a little. You’re threading unchartered territories here, from the work life you’re launching yourself into, to new responsibilities and commitments, which you may find can tie you up in quite a knot. Keep your head up – I won’t promise it will be plain sailing, but the journey will be worth it.
- You will come to realise that nothing is ever set in stone.
So you thought you’d get married by 25. Rriight. You thought you’d graduate in Education so you could change the world one student at a time. Yes, but no. You believed your life was pretty set out in front of you, like a stone path. Sturdy and sure and as straight as an arrow. Nope. You’ll find lots of intersections along the way. Don’t be scared to take a left or a right. They would not have been there if they were not meant to teach you something.
- You will start appreciating your family so much more.
Because you’ll realise that just as you’re getting older, so are they. You’ll realise that the days you used to dismiss when you were younger can never be returned and you will genuinely feel sad about the fact that you cannot do anything about it. About the fact that your mother’s wrinkles are there to stay and your dad’s slight limp will not get any better. That we’re all heading one way and the days grow shorter, not longer. So love your family and make sure they know it and give the dog or cat the attention it needs now. Because we’re never getting now back again.
- You will have WAY less time on your hands and WAY more things to do.
Seems logical, no?
- You will see how some change is good…
When you instil change not for the sake of change, you’ll see how it is without a doubt the best thing you could have done. Don’t be scared to jump into things you may not essentially know everything about. They will prove to be the best thing to have happened. Do NOT take too long to change the things you’re not happy about. Write that down, stick it on your forehead.
- … But you’ll be quicker to identify the good you do not wish to change.
Then, at key moments in your life, you’ll happen upon gems you will feel are worth keeping. They will fall on your lap unannounced, unbidden but they’re there and they’re yours. You will know they are worth everything, without anyone telling you. I promise.
- Darling, you can forget you’ll be rich just yet.
That house you’ve been ogling over since you had a proper notion of what owning something means? Not happening. That beautiful car which oozed status and – nope. Louis Vuitton, Louboutain… No and no. I’m afraid you’ll still be glancing at the price tag before you even decide whether you like the item or not. #FunTimes. On a brighter note though…
- …You’ll learn how true wealth is measured in anything but money.
It is measured in health, happiness, love, respect. Aim for those and you’ll do just fine.
(Disclaimer: To anyone who might interpret this wrongly, of course, if a nice gift comes along … I’m not saying I’m a saint here … I wouldn’t mind getting anything Chanel or a nice ticket to the Maldives. Just wanted to get that across. Thanks.)
Maybe the best way to describe these years is by picturing yourself on a roller-coaster. The unexpected twists, the occasional stomach lurch, the heights you never thought you’d get to. You will fail at things and succeed in others and how you react to them will define you.
As for me, I still have 2 years to make something more of myself before another decade comes to an end. Even the sound of that… Another decade. God I sound old