Turning 29: a series of confusing, drunken and hilarious events.
There's one thing that defined my twenties: caring too much about things I needn't care about (plus Pinot Grigio).
At the height of Manchester’s hipster revolution, I’d regularly find myself in a city centre basement nightclub. I’d wear painted on high-waisted jeans and a tight body suit (no bra – duh), in a near desperate attempt to join this cool, alternative hip-hop subculture - a place where septum nose rings weren’t a requirement but highly encouraged. Nearly everyone drank cans of Red Stripe. All the girls had pierced nipples and spoke like they were from East London. They weren’t. The majority smoked roll ups. I did absolutely none of these things.
The DJs were Manchester megastars, scene-makers and music-makers, completely drunk on their own self-importance. Naturally, I thought they were bloody amazing. It wasn’t long before I was deeply infatuated with the main guy. He walked with a swagger – or maybe it was a limp? I’m not so sure now. Come Thursday nights I’d be snaking my hips behind the DJ booth like the fast girls my mother warned me about. I was like a music video vixen but without a paycheck. There was zero point in me being back there – other than to take drunken song requests.
Man, I tried so hard to be cool and angst and sexy (again, I’m absolutely none of these things). And each week I hoped to get pictured by a heavily tattooed, very edgy fashion photographer who only posted pictures in black and white. He never did take that picture.
After more than a year of booth riding, I had the gall to ask the main guy if one of his mid-tempo new wave love songs was about me. He replied, ‘nah’.
So I got out. Fast. I took my shame and my American Apparel bodysuits with me. You may not be cringing as much as I am right now but this still haunts me. I adored the music scene and all those cool people (still do) but I hated that person – a person who cared so much about what people thought and tried so damn hard.
I thought I knew everything at 23. But that’s your twenties – I mean, if you didn't have a fling with a DJ did your twenties even happen? In a decade supposedly devoted to finding yourself, there’s been a whole lot of losing myself.
I have much more twenties anecdotes to draw from – some sad, some hilarious and most of them embarrassing. I’ve come a long way. I’ve made countless mistakes and I rarely listened to good sense (note to self: credit cards ARE bad, invest in property now, save money and your Zara obsession is crippling you dude). This whole becoming an adult thing has been a real slow burn.
So I’d be lying if I said I was not absolutely shitting it about growing older and approaching my thirties. I am scared. A lot of us are. We’ve officially reached the age where we should ‘know better’ – YET I STILL HAVE NO CLUE WHAT I’M SUPPOSED TO KNOW.
What’s more, I'm surrounded by people having a weird life crisis; everyone’s 'soul searching', going through a crystal healing phase, marrying the first person to say hello or attempting to learn what the actual f*ck a mortgage is. Everyone's sensitive and anxious and jealous and resentful and vegan and annoying. Am I lying?
And haven’t you noticed that the older you get the more real this whole adult malarkey becomes? My late-twenties were sobering. I lost people, a lot of people. Some died and some just left me. Sometimes I wish pulling the DJ was the only thing I had to worry about now.
But I'm an adult, and adults go through things and we paint on a smile and we eat our avocados and compliment each other on our blossoming Instagram careers, right? (Damn millennials).
Listen, I can’t promise that in my final year as a twenty-something I won’t regress and fall in love with yet another musician and run up more credit card debt, but my greatest achievement by the grand old age of 29 is having a little more clarity about who I actually am. If you’re still figuring this out in your 30s that’s fine too.
All you need to aim to achieve by 30 is a modicum of happiness and a greater self-acceptance (as much as I wish I made the '30-under-30' Forbes list). Most of us are far too hard on ourselves. Instead, try to cultivate relationships that make you feel something (you’ve no time for the posers now). Yes, you're getting older and things will happen and change. You’ll want to make better life decisions because you ARE smarter. You will get up. You will live. You will learn and you will grow.
And know this: while your metabolism may slow down, you are still young enough to throw on a bodysuit and drink cans of Red Stripe at 29-years-old, but my God when it comes to the next course of your life, don’t be the girl standing by the DJ booth, be the f*cking DJ.