Personal | Here's The Thing About Getting Older

It was my birthday yesterday so I am now the ripe old age of 23 and can no longer sing along to Taylor Swift's 22 with quite so much enthusiasm as I have over the past year (it's worrying how disappointed I am by that!)  When I was younger I never really understood why some people hated their birthday or couldn't accept that they were now a year older than they were before, but as I progress through my twenties I am starting to get it. It's not your age that matters, it's the realisation that you haven't done half the things that you thought you'd have done when you used to imagine how your life would turn out when your were 16. You thought you'd have it all together by now, and you really really don't. But it's ok really, none of us do! Today I thought I'd do a chatty post about what I've learnt from my experiences since leaving school, so here are my thoughts...

On Going to University: It's not that I felt pressured into going to university, it's that I never really considered not going. I assumed the majority of people would go off to uni straight after 6th form, and most people I know did, but when I arrived I was one of, if not the, youngest there. My birthday is in the summer so I'd just turned 18 when I started and I wasn't even 21 yet by the time I left whereas a lot of people had taken a gap year and were a year, or two or three, older than me. Now I wish I'd taken a year out, to save up a bit more money before leaving my job, to spend more time deciding what I really wanted to do, to figure out who I was after leaving school. University itself was more about the experience. I loved my course but it didn't necessarily prepare me for graduating. I loved the friends I made on my course but I found socialising and living with flatmates really hard. I loved the seaside town my campus was based in, but it lacked the vibrancy of a big city. Everyone's university experience is different, mine was full of highs and lows, and there is no one 'right' way to do it. 

On Love: I first developed a crush on Harry when I was 14 (nine years ago!!) and although it was a bit hit and miss to start with (what relationship isn't at that age?) we are still going strong now. I'm not an expert on dating, and I wouldn't have a clue where to start with Tinder, but I believe a good relationship shouldn't be difficult. Trust and honesty are essential, as well as making each other laugh and knowing when you need to cool down after an argument. Make time for dates, to do something fun whether it's going out for a meal or a round of adventure golf (I still hold the time I got a hole in one over Harry!). It's ok to let off steam with your friends if you need to vent about your boyfriend leaving his socks around for the 100th time but if you aren't happy about something in your relationship you need to go to the root of the problem. Above all you should be with someone that makes you happy and loves you for who you are. 

On Social Media: My Facebook is full of people getting engaged, planning their weddings, having babies or even buying their first home at the moment. It's scary to see people you went to school with suddenly acting like grown-ups, especially when you have only just got used to saying your 21 only to realise that you aren't, you're 23! (It took me three years to realise I wasn't 18 anymore too). The thing with social media though is that the majority of people only post when something really good happens in their life, unless your that person who posts when they're in a really bad mood but refuses to tell anyone why, and you don't get to see the bigger picture (reams of debt, family problems or when seemingly adorable kids won't stop crying). I could never leave Facebook because of FMO but I much prefer Twitter now to interact with other bloggers, catch up on the news or join in conversations. It's a lot more fun and those 140 character limits can be a blessing in disguise! 

On Money: Money is a fickle thing that is usually such a faux pas to talk about. While I'd never tell someone else how they should be spending their money, I'm actually quite proud of how we manage ours. While I was at university I tried to put as much of my student loan as I could into my savings account to put away for when I would need it instead of blowing it all. This meant that when I graduated I was able to treat myself to DSLR camera that I'd never have afforded otherwise. After I left uni and Harry and I decided we wanted to move in together we had to crunch through all the numbers to work out what our rent budget would be and if we could afford everything else. I am now queen of the spreadsheet and can easily see exactly where our money is going at a glance, we never miss a bill payment, and have so far never gone into our overdrafts or been in debt. We plan our meals, use cashback sites like Top Cashback and Quidco, and look for vouchers and discounts. It's partly because the idea of being in debt terrifies me but we figure if we are careful with how we manage our money now it will pay off in the future. 

On Friendships: Once you leave school it becomes so much harder to maintain friendships with people you don't see everyday. You realise how much you actually have in common and who you really want in your life. I'm awful at keeping in touch with people and it is one of my biggest flaws. I met some wonderful people at university but a lot of those friendships have fizzled out over the years since we left. It is so important to make an effort with your friends and it is one of those lessons that I have learnt the hard way. Now I have a handful of close friends who I love catching up with and know how rubbish I am at making plans! 

Getting older and becoming a 'grown-up' is terrifying, but it's not all bad. I live with my amazing boyfriend, like in a flat, on our own, where we pay bills and everything. I'm starting to feel like an adult, and I can turn my nose up at teenagers and sneer 'we were never like that'. I've developed a new love from home furnishings, interior design, and candles. I genuinely love a trip to IKEA. I know the importance of a good pair of shoes (sorry Primark you just don't cut it anymore!) I can cook meals from scratch, with fresh ingredients, and they taste pretty good too. It's ok that baby sick and nappies still freak me out because I'm not expected to have gotten over it yet. Yes I think I could get used to being 23, even if it's not worked out as I planned. 



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