On Tuesday, I will be turning 25.
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a whole year since I turned 24.
Until now, I’ve wished away the years in a bid to seem older and wiser than I am. I think it’s a combination of a teenage-me wanting to date the older boys, and compensating for turning up to dates in my school uniform. I also have a particularly adolescent face and a difficulty to be taken seriously. Has your appearance ever left a four year-old bemused as to whether you’re a “grown up or a child”? Have you ever been ID’d to buy a lighter when you’re a decade over the legal age of purchase? Have you ever been asked if you were on your way to school while commuting to your mid-management job.
Last year I was asking for camera lenses to pursue a potential career in photography, and this year I’m asking my parents for money to put toward thread-vein removal. I’m all too aware that at 25, mathematically speaking, one must round up. So now 30 feels closer than ever, yet my maturity is regressing daily.
I remember when I planned an entire year around my birthday, counting down the days to what I deemed as the most important occasion in the calendar. I was like a reincarnated Jesus at his second-coming, dishing out multipack bags of Cadbury’s sweets as my classmates fought for the Caramel minis (although this was not documented in the Bible). I never once feared that people wouldn’t come to my birthday parties either; who wouldn’t want to go to a reptile experience TWICE in a three year span?
Now the antithesis of my former self, planning birthday parties summons an overwhelming anxiety. Last year my worst nightmare came true when 50% of the mishmash group I’d invited to dinner failed to show, and I desperately tried to fill seats with my friend’s significant others. I spent the night so conscious everyone was having a terrible time that I ended up leaving my own party, curled up in bed with my cousin by 12am. I am not exaggerating when I say the highlights of my night were:
- Receiving a Grow your own Avocado! kit
- My Uber driver’s innuendo regarding UberXL’s
It’s begun to set in that being a writer isn’t as easy as posting a few funny Facebook statuses and chasing viral tweets. Talking to a comedian friend (yes I have some friends, yes one of them is a comedian, no he did not turn up to my birthday dinner), he bleakly reflected that if we fail in our industries, we only have ourselves to blame, because it’s entirely dependent on what we put in. Last year I made a promise to start writing that book I’ve been threatening, and 361 days later, I’ve still only got a list of potential chapter names for a plot I realised has already been published. So now it seems my arrogant assumption that I’ll definitely make it one day is no longer valid.
It’s not just my career though, it’s failure in general. The first time since I was 16, I’m experiencing a relationship crossover with my birthday. I should be excited to celebrate with him, but instead I watched a BBC video clip about how 40% of marriages end in divorce, and I’m now I’m questioning whether monogamy is a farce, while spiralling into a deep existential crisis.
To add weight to the already crushing heftiness of societal expectation, my mother sneered again last night that I was unlikely to produce grandchildren for her. In a bid to provoke, I used to tell her I was going to buy a monkey instead of having a child, however, after realising all conversation I can make with children revolves around the statement “I like your shoes”, maybe it would be better to invest in a pygmy marmoset than a human baby?
Wishing my grandma a happy 90th birthday yesterday, I can only deduce from her comment, “I hope I don’t make it to 91”, that it doesn’t get better. So raise your flaming sambucas as we cheers birthdays, turning 25 and reaching the NHS’ age threshold for smear tests. Happy Birthday!
Images via Giphy.