In 2017 I celebrated my 28th birthday with a trip to the Malcesine Opera, followed by a few drinks (ok, a lot of Tequila), before ending the night skinny dipping in Lake Garda. It was by far and away one of the most memorable birthdays of my life, and the subsequent year after that has been one of my happiest yet. So, for anyone freaking out about approaching the dreaded 3-0 or if you're just generally panicking about heading into the twilight of your wilderness years.. I’m loving getting older, and so should you – here’s why.....
1) The FOMO is calming down.
All through my early twenties I always felt like there was this big party happening over there and I just hadn’t quite managed to get an invite. At 28 I’ve realised what an incredible myth that all was and how I never really missed out on anything. No matter what happens – there will always be another party, another night out, another funny moment –so you don’t need to drag yourself out if you’re tired, upset, sick or in need of some alone time. Just chill and remember there will always be more good times and it's not worth sacrificing your sanity for. And remember - 99.9% of what you see on social media is a load of rubbish anyway. Usually - when you're having a genuinely amazing time you're not posting about it, you're just enjoying it.
2) A relationship has become an optional perk.
The older I get, the happier I am by myself– which means if you want me to give up my singleness then you’re
going to have to be pretty special – and treat me right. In you’re early twenties, sex and relationships can seem
like the only thing on anyone’s mind – and the desire to be in a couple can have you settling for far less than you really truly want (I definitely never went out with any kind sarcastic surfer types who bought me flowers and made me laugh at myself....) but there’s a hell of a lot more to life and (despite what Disney tells you) your happiness doesn’t
hinge on whether you’ve found your prince or not. Between 18 and 25 I was only single for about 3 months and I was that girl who was always getting over one person and under someone else. It was definitely not the happiest time of my life and I took much less than I deserved in some of those relationships. However, the best things about going through all that is I now have standards with a capital ‘S’ and no tolerance for anyone that isn’t willing to meet them. If that means being single, then so be it – it’s far better to be alone than to be with someone who doesn’t love and protect you. I also no longer care about being called ‘crazy’ or ‘stuck up’ – in fact these days I might even find it a compliment - Damn right you treat a girl badly, she’s going to go ‘crazy’ - I think you’ll find it’s called ‘Self Respect’.
3) If the whole world is telling you to go left but inside you just want to go right – go right.
At 28, there are people getting married, having their first child, doing well in their chosen careers and buying property. There are also people getting divorced or finding the courage to start a whole new career, dealing with unexpected illness, deciding to do a ski season (hello!), moving back in with their parents, going back to university, selling their property, losing their careers, marrying for the second time, looking after sick parents, battling serious depression, giving up everything to travel - there are simply no rules anymore and no way to live other than what works for you. You pave your own path and do whatever it is that you want with your life because it’s yours to live – and at 28 I think it I finally started to feel that was true. Throughout school and then university, and then the years after university there was a path I watched people follow - one that I unexpectedly found myself thrown off - and it always left me feeling ‘behind’. A few years on and yoi stop feeling that way and realise that if you want to live your most genuine life it doesn’t matter where you are compared to other people – you just have to go your own way and stay true to yourself. As I get older I've also learnt to trust myself and my own instincts - no one knows you better than you - so when you're at a crossroads, or you're lost - ask for advice but ultimately let yourself have the last decision. Trust yourself - you know what to do.
4) You don't have to attend every battle you're invited to.
There is a lot of noise in the world today - with all the technology, media - social media - it can be difficult to find any peace and not be swamped by the 12,000 opinions and 30,000 voices we hear and see each day through our phones. But you don't have to listen to everything - or attend every battle your are invited to - and you can always use the 'off' switch on your phone, on your T.V., on facebook, instagram - you can even click the little 'x' in the corner right now if you've had enough of me. At 28 I've become picky about what I let in - what I listen to, who I follow and what I watch. There is a lot of fear and negativity in the world at the moment and living away with no T.V. and not much media showed me how important it is to know when it's bad for you. The noise out there can be can be far more damaging to our mental health than we realize, and as the FOMO ebbs away, this becomes a lot easier. (N.B. at the time of writing this post I was on a break from facebook and instagram - and it was lovely and very good for ye olde mental health.)
5) The sex just keeps getting better.
You're still young and hot - just now with experience...go figure.