Posted in Future

How to be a grown-up.

At 25, I reckon I’m doing a pretty good job of being an adult.  Things go tits-up sometimes, but I learn from these mishaps.  Being an open-book and a natural advice-giver, I often share with my friends what I’m doing to be a successful grown-up and tell them how they can be a grown-up too (I wonder if they appreciate the unsolicited advice…).

Personal experience has driven most of this list, but fear not, I’ve also included advice from various female writers who I bang on about to my friends and family.  All.  The.  Time.

So here we go, as far as being a female –

Being a grown-up involves:

  • Looking after yourself – make doctor appointments, get on top of your sexual health, go to the opticians, go to the dentist.  Even when you have to pay.  You cannot put a price on good health.  Neither can you put a price on having good hands and feet; cracked heels are a feature of some pensioners and bitten down nails tend to be synonymous with teenagers.
  • Moisturising.  Wearing SPF all year round.
  • Eating avocados.  If there’s a God, these are God’s gift to humanity.
  • Wearing fabulous lippy.  Lipstick if you’re blessed with full lips, lip-gloss if your upper lip leaves a lot to be desired (I wear lip-gloss on most occasions).
  • Being truthful when friends ask advice on an outfit when shopping.  We are no longer in competition with our friends as to who’ll look the coolest or sexiest at Saturday’s party.  By lying, you run the risk of that friend wearing the terrible when you’re out together and you’ll have to put up with that the whole day.  No one wants that kind of hassle.  Great advice, Roxane Gay.
  • Losing the amount of fucks you give‘, says Caitlin Moran.

  • Knowing what you want, but not being worried if the plan you had when you were 17 isn’t working out.
  • Trusting yourself.  Your body knows what it needs, let it have it.

Being a grown-up necessitates:

  • Being kind.  Be generous with your time and money.  Being kind is so so sexy.
  • Sticking with plans.  Better-offer-itus is a teenage condition.  Don’t flake, you won’t end up with many friends.
  • Behaving like the person you’d want to be friends with.
  • Being friendly with friends’ significant others.  But for god sake, don’t flirt with them.  Do not have sex with them.  And don’t have emotional affairs with them.  If they engage in this behaviour with you, they’re an arsehole.  Your friend shouldn’t be with this arsehole and you certainly don’t want to be with an arsehole.  They are ‘abundant’; get one of your own.  Thanks Roxane Gay – excellent advice!
  • ‘Having confidence levels high enough to kiss the exterior walls of ‘arrogance’ without ever transgressing wholly into that territory’, according to Polly Vernon.  Yes!
  • Reading excellent non-fiction.  Expand your ideas.  Strengthen your ideas and be able to discuss these ideas coherently.
  • Keeping up to date with current affairs.
  • Knowing how to cook nutritional meals.  Pizza is delicious on a Tuesday.  Curry is yummy on a Sunday night.  But eating shit every day will make you fat, your insides gross and you’ll feel sad.
  • Trying not to drunk call your exes, call your friends instead; then you can have a giggle about it the next day rather than hiding your head under your pillow all day.

Being a grown-up could mean:

  • Trying new things – go to new bars / pubs / restaurants.  Try classes, find some hobbies.  Be willing to give things a go.  Meet friends as an adult.
  • Reading good literature.
  • Finding someone with whom you want to share your life.  If so, you need to find someone you can be honest with and they can be honest with you.

 

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Posted in Future

We are who we hang out with.

Lots of us set ourselves life goals to reach by certain checkpoints in our lives.  I used to, and I wanted to tick off x, y and z by the time I reach 27.  But that’s less than 18 months away and I’m reconsidering my chosen career path and I’m still very much single.  So this has called for a total shift in my expectations.

I’m not reaching these goalposts and that’s okay, but this has meant that AGE can no longer be the defining factor in life goals.

As we experience life, our values may change, as may our criteria for what we want to achieve or how we achieve them.  With people seeming to marry later in life and postponing having children until their careers and housing situation is under wraps, why are single woman still bombarded with concerns over not finding their ‘other half’ yet or not settling down and getting knocked up?  Why is it that getting married is seen by our society to be the final check-point?  In my experience, people always ask women if they’ve found a boyfriend yet and remind these women that ‘he’s still out there – keep looking!’  Do people ask guys whether they have a girlfriend yet?  Not in my experience.

I do want to get married and have children (for Christ’s sake, I have a blog dedicated to finding my Prince Charming!!), but I really ought to be enough.  We don’t need to be married to have children, and in 2017 we barely need a man for this.

Recently, it’s become very obvious that any man won’t do.  He has to be the right man, and if that means waiting until I’m 30, so be it.

What I do believe is worth spending time in cultivating is making yourself a more interesting person – try out various activities, make time for your family and friends, excel at your career.  Make and strengthen friendships that will see you through good and bad times – we have complete control over the friends we chose in our 20s.  At school, we are thrust into classes of 29 other children and we just have to get along with them.  And this continues until we’re 18.  After we leave school can we can totally avoid social interactions outside of work and we can even choose a career that requires no socialising whatsoever, so we need to have friendships that help us develop into better versions of ourselves.  We are who we hang out with and we need to behave like the people we’d want to know.

So I’ve decided to stop accepting the ‘so-so’ guys.  Their company does nothing for me: they suck the joy from my soul and I feel like a weaker version of myself.  I work double-time to keep us afloat and with my full-on career, I can’t be dealing with that.  I want a man who will strengthen me.  He needs to compliment what I have to offer the world, and be charming at the same time.

 

 

If anyone knows the name of the book this image is from, please comment and let me know!

Posted in Future, Single Life

The hook-up culture that is 2017…

Single Millennials have dug themselves a grave.

We’ve created a hook-up culture where, if we’re not willing to participate in a NSA (No-strings-attached) relationship, someone else will.  We can have free sex whenever we want it.  Women have fought, and continue to fight, for the right to be as sexually liberated as men and not be deemed a ‘slut’.  In 2017, if our sex drive is through the roof, we can meet up with a friend or stranger who’ll satisfy us – we don’t need a relationship.  Being such a women, I relish in the availability of sexual partners on offer.

Although the sex we’re having is the same, it plays out differently for men and women.  Men are applauded for wracking up the numbers.  Women are judged and shamed.

Continue reading “The hook-up culture that is 2017…”

Posted in Future, Single Life

What’s your ‘Scary Age’?

I have also always wanted to be a Mummy.  Growing up in a big, loving family has given me strong family values and when I was younger I presumed I’d be married with a baby on-the-way by the time I turned 27.  Evidently, this is not looking likely.  And I’m surprised at how little this has phased me over the past few years.

Since I was 15, 27 has been my ‘scary-age’

whereby if I don’t have this, this and this ticked off by then,

I’m gonna panic.

Having fun at Uni and having a good start to my career has put me off reproducing for a few years and being 25 is turning out to be better than I anticipated:

  • My social life isn’t covered in a cloud of peer pressure any more
  • My friendship circle is full of people who I actually want to be friends with, not just because they’re cool
  • I can assert my right to say ‘no’ to things, ‘No, I don’t want a head massage, thank you; just shampoo and conditioner is fine.’
  • Sometimes, a Friday or Saturday night can consist of tea, BBC iPlayer and my onesie.  And bed by 10pm
  • Everything in my wardrobe suits my figure
  • My ‘scary-age’ is 2 years away.  But it’s really not that scary anymore.

At least it wasn’t, until recently.

For the past 25 years, health has not been my friend.  I was born with a heart defect and as I journey through my twenties issues are manifesting themselves.  As The Eternal Optimist,  I’m remaining positive – although my mum keeps checking in to make sure I’m not depressed or suicidal.  The recent manifestation has be a fertility issue:

“Having children won’t be impossible, but it’s going to be very challenging”

Said the hospital technician.

I still haven’t found out the full extent of the baby-making problems, but I know it’s not looking great…

————————————————————————————————————-

In her book Sex Object, Jessica Valenti noted:

The things you do in your twenties are just things you do.  But as you approach thirty what you do starts to become who you are.

This rings true for me in so many ways.  I’m a true believer that personality is pretty set and you learn who you are and you shape yourself through childhood, teenage years and into early adulthood.  When I first read this, I texted my friend with how this quote is so applicable to one of my exes: he went through the fun times of being a teenager and early twenty-something, but he’s still doing these things and now it’s ingrained in who he is.  Therefore – not suitable Husband Material.  Likewise, 10 years my senior, The Bar Man is not Boyfriend Material.

But I’ve also realised it isn’t just what I do that determines who I am, it’s also what happens to me and how I deal with it.  Knock-down has followed knock-down in my dating life.  Boys haven’t been kind and my stead-fast resilience has been tested.

And then we add fertility complications to the mix.

Being 25 and single is totally fine.  And I’m enjoying dating people and seeing what happens.  But I think I’ll now be a little more discerning when choosing someone to date; I can’t waste the latter half of my 20’s with fuckboys.

 

Posted in Future, Relationships, Single Life

I gave it another shot.

I know getting back with you was a risky move.  No one supported my decision, and at times, I majorly regretted starting things up again.

 

Round Two started after I wrote you my letter.  I asked you to make the effort.  And you did.  On a quiet Sunday evening, you phoned me up and asked if I wanted to go for dinner as a date.  You started to say it was fine if I wanted to keep things going as friends but then you told the truth; that wouldn’t be fine – you really wanted me to accept your offer.  You told me you’d changed: you said you realised you had been lazy last time and felt comfortable so stopped making the effort.  This was everything I had wanted to hear all summer.  So we went on our date and things escalated.

As predicted, you were irritating me even from the beginning of Round Two.  But I remained optimistic.  I took a step back, enjoyed us for what we were.  We were having fun and you were making me happy.  I made us happen because I wanted you.  You made us happen because you needed me.

Even our frank conversations helped us to feel closer with one another.  We were honest for the duration of Round Two.  But unfortunately you were in deeper.  You wanted (want?) to spend your life with me; and I wish I wanted that too, but it wasn’t going to work – and I knew that from the beginning.  I’m sorry things ended again, but this really is for the best.  Imagine if we had moved in together and married and had babies…

  • Firstly, my family and friends would have disowned me
  • I’d have driven you crazy
  • You’d have driven me crazy
  • Either  Both of us would have cheated
  • You’d beat me up
  • Our children would be miserable
  • We would be miserable
  • Divorce would be messy
  • I’d have tonnes of debt (of course you’d be living off my salary)
  • We’d be 40 and single
  • And my parents would have said, ‘We told you so’.

A lucky escape for both of us, I reckon.

Selfishly, I had to participate in Round Two; I needed to know my decision was the right one.  Sorry.

Posted in Future, Relationships, Single Life

This isn’t a practice run.

There really is just one chance to get your life ‘right‘, isn’t there?  You can’t just ‘have a go’ and hope for the best and hey, if it goes tits up, oh well – try again next time.  I’m 25 and don’t have a partner and the scary thing is there is no way of knowing if I’ll definitely be married by 30, 45, 60..!

What if I’m still single in 20 years’ time?  Then what?

By then, it may be a little late for a Plan B…

Posted in Dating?, Future, Relationships, Single Life

Let’s not beat around the bush.

In dating and relationships, I’m a real advocate of ‘honesty is the best policy’.  It’s not fun hearing someone isn’t into you, but at least you know.  It’s not fun admitting a relationship has run its course, but at least you aren’t clinging onto false hope.  It’s not fun accepting the possibility that you might never find Prince Charming, but at least you can get on with your life rather than idly waiting around.  When I was well-and-truly single a few months ago, I really had accepted the fact I might not find someone for a while (at least not on Tinder).  It was shitty at first, but it meant I spent more time making plans with friends than sitting on my arse on the sofa, swiping through pictures of random men.  Now I’m sort of back together with my ex (shhh, I know…), I’m viewing the relationship from a vantage point; this is Round 2; an opportunity to make a few changes and see what happens.  At first, Round 2 seemed to be a winner – we were jumping through hoops and scoring top marks, and when the going got tough, we’d take a step back, press pause then resume at a more convenient time.  This seemed to be a fab solution to a temperamental relationship.  Everything ran smoothly until he fell harder.

We’re no longer on the same page.  I’m continuing to take our relationship day-by-day.  He’s thinking very long-term.

have been honest with him.  I said, “You make me happy, and I’m going to keep doing what makes me happy until it doesn’t make me happy anymore.”

He said this seems very short-term and like I’m not planning far ahead.  Yep, that’s true and I told him so.

Recently, on a Saturday night, our different stances on future plans blew up.  He told me how committed he is and how he wants to spend his with life me, marry me, raise children – the works.  I played my trump card; I openly stated that I will not live with, marry, or raise children with someone who is an alcoholic and drug-dependent.  Naturally, he didn’t like that comment, but we went on to have a frank discussion about the future and we seem to be back on the same page.

 

Posted in Future, Single Life

Thank you for judging my life, Mr Taxi Driver.

At £2.20 I was making small talk with the cabbie.  He asked how my night was, what I’d been doing and who I’d been with.  I asked how his night was.

By £4.10 he was asking about my social life, whether I was out with my boyfriend.  ‘No – I don’t have a boyfriend.’

‘Oh, if I could turn back time…’

Awkward stare out the window.

By £6.70 I was saying how I’m only 24, progressing through my career as a teacher and enjoying spending time with my friends.  Then the fare soared (metaphorically, of course).  He ranted on about how being 24 is the perfect age to get married and start a family.

Don’t focus on your career; it should take up 30% of your time and your real life should take up the remaining 70%.

As we approached the end of my road, I was batting off his comments by advocating my housemate-filled life.

At £8.80 he said, ‘housemates are a waste of time’.

I handed him a tenner and waited for my £1 change.  That cab drive definitely cost me more than £9.

 

 

Posted in Friends, Future, Relationships, Single Life, Starting Something New

Walk away…

I ended things 4 days after my previous post .  We had a fun weekend planned with lots of socialising, but he was late on Friday evening due to a heavy one the previous night.  I spent the weekend being extra bubbling (it’s rare I have 1 social event at the weekend; let-alone 3!) and he spent the weekend being hungover, on a come-down and generally ill.  Sunday was a sad day with lots of tears.  We took the following week as a ‘break’ to help with the sadness, but as the weekend approached, it was becoming more and more evident it was the right decision.  Also receiving a 100% response rate of, ‘Well done, you did the right thing’ showed me it was for the best.

This weekend we decided to meet.  I wanted to finalise our break and have some closure; I also thought it would be good for him to know where I stood, no matter how heart breaking it was bound to be for him.

 

How wrong I was.

It was tricky seeing him again (he looked irritatingly gorgeous) and John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ came on in the cafe – you really couldn’t make this up!

What I was wrong about was how he responded.  Part of me wished he’d have made promises to change.  I knew I wouldn’t have accepted them, and the text the previous Sunday about how he’d do anything for me was clearly a load of bollocks, but he just accepted the end of the relationship.  It’s just another indication of how he isn’t my Prince Charming.

 

 

Posted in Future, Relationships

There’s this grey area…

When discussing my relationship with a friend, she highlighted to me ‘this grey area’.  It’s the time between loving your partner and breaking up with them.  More specifically:

It’s the area in which you’re not in love with that person anymore, but the thought of having sex with them doesn’t physically repulse you.

This sums up my current relationship status perfectly.  The guy I first thought was Prince Charming has shown his true colours; from not having constant sex, to trying to reconcile with the fact we have completely different personalities, myself and my boyfriend have been having a rocky few months.   We have very little in common beyond each other.   Amongst the daily arguments, there have been promises made and broken, lies told and nasty things said.  I’ve gone from loving him so much, to feeling strangely indifferent about him, particularly when we’re apart.  When we’re together I flit between feelings of indifference, passion, hatred, astonishment and frustration.

 

The end is undoubtedly in sight.

What a shame.