I remember going to a family bbq years ago and sitting in a room with the world’s coolest teenagers. They must have been around 18, I guess, then again everyone looks big when you’re in jelly shoes, tbh.
I was in complete awe of them – knowing what I know now, I was fan-girling hard.
They were slipping in and out of a language they supposedly made up. I think it was called avangan. Disclaimer: If ‘avagan’ is your mother tongue then please correct me if I am wrong on the spelling.
I would tell you how to use it but for fear of unravelling years of hard, linguistic research, I won’t.
One of the girls whose house it was, let me go in her bedroom and honestly, to nine year old LC that was like getting a free backstage pass to meet Samantha Mumba or something.
Today’s equivalent? A free ticket to go on a dog safari.
In short, dear reader, I was excited.
When you’re a young girl, or boy for that matter, growing up is such an enigma. You never think you’re going to reach 18, ever.
You’re convinced you’re going to be a small person, shopping in Tammy Girl and aggressively sniffing scented gel pens forever more.
Fyi, grape was always a personal fave, the lilac one.
I vividly remember this girl at the bbq, dressed in a pink leather jacket with perfectly blonde, poker straight hair – let’s call her Maxine – and I spent the next six months (translation: 2 years) searching for said jacket in C&A. If only Instagram and outfit tags were a thing back then, eh!
Anyhow, there’s only so much you can entertain a nine year old before they stop being cute and you want to get back to discussing dick types without having to turn the conversation into a metaphor every time like f*cking Carrie Bradshaw and her colouring-in example.
Seriously, she makes sex sound so artistic when really, figuring out the best way to cup your vagina and waddle to the toilet is about as creative as it gets.
I mean, I don’t know how it goes down in Manhattan but I’m pretty sure New Yorkers still have to do that part.
So anyhow, these girls said if I go and play on the bouncy castle they’ll give me a fiver, ha. So off I went.
I swear I was only gone for a minute but when I came back I was like, sh*t. I grew up.
My tits didn’t, but I really, really grew up.
Look, I have nasolabial folds and grown up nail beds and everything.
One minute I was on the bouncy castle and now, here I am getting excited about non-slip coat hangers and microwave meal plastic film that peels off all in one go.
All the milestones I thought I’d have hit by now haven’t happened, not yet.
Getting a dog, buying a property, taking before and after pictures of our badass kitchen renovation yada yada yada.
Pinterest boards and paint swatches = peak adulthood.
None of that has happened for me and naturally, I’m a having a bit of a wobbler about it. Mostly the dog part. I’m seriously cut up about that.
Ya see, no one really warns you when you’re growing up that the societal milestones that are so often shoved in your face – if not in Clinton Cards, then by your great aunt Sal – are completely arbitrary.
They’re not a birth-right.
And that is deceiving as hell because, while it might seem like all you ever hear about are the people that have ticked off those conventional life wayposts, there’s plenty more that haven’t.
The 27-year-old pal living it up in Brixton, single and renting but you know what? She’s pretty f*cking happy.
The less than ideal house shares, average salaries and dirty, fajita-stained Tupperware stacked up on the draining board.
Working out if you can really justify splashing out on sports-specific, scented tampons (oh, how scented gel pen life has changed).
It’s so easy to look at someone else’s life and how it’s panned out compared to yours and think of yourself as a lesser human.
Only the other day, I was sat on the sofa looking up at my BHS wall art (RIP fella) that says, ‘the world is your oyster’ in gold letter foiling thinking, ‘oh f*ck off will you, just f*ck off’.
The world is not *always* your oyster, no matter how hard you work. And while motivational wall art has its place, you can’t always be a woman and a boss and wear the trousers at the same time.
Sorry, Stormzy pal, if only it were that easy.
As soon as you hit your late 20s, there’s this wild assumption that you should have the answers for everything, but *spoiler* you don’t.
Not all of us have an uncle – poor in health but rich in sterling – to bail us out every time sh*t gets hard. Some of us have to go it alone: get in debt, forgo nutritional meals and holidays, cohabit with mice, settle for the means-to-an-end job.
And I’ve got some news for you Aunt Sal, just because I’m not sterilising bottles and plastering the walls of a weekend just yet shouldn’t automatically mean I should be freezing my eggs and seeing a life coach.
Ok, I still have to ask my landlord’s permission to hang aforementioned wall art but that doesn’t mean everything I’ve built up to this point means anything less. It’s still home and I’m still doing well.
It’s your own life to lead and there’s no better opinion on what you should be doing with it, than yours. No one else – not least society – gets to decide how you define your own success.
Because, get this, I’m in my late 20s and I can’t tell my arse from my elbow. Stick that on a greeting card, Moonpig.
Who’s with me?
Love you bye.
Photography by Olivia Foley
Mesh dress over jeans: h&m
Sunglasses: Quay Australia
Boots: Zara (old) but similar here from ASOS
Watch: Olivia Burton