How To Deal With Ageing & The Expectations That Come With It

As a few of you might know, it was my birthday in June. Whilst it wasn’t one that’d be classified as ‘major’ (I turned 26, FYI) it meant that I’ve now reached the age at which I’d always imagined I’d be a married homeowner with a baby on the way. Despite these dreams being those of a much, much younger me I’d always imagined twenty-six to be the age at which I have my shit together. This is absolutely not the case and my existential crisis is as true and as major as ever.

Whilst my friends and I all worked hard at school, went to good universities and passed with mostly 2:1’s there’s such a dramatic divide between where we’re all at both financially and emotionally. Although this is pretty normal and almost rather expected, every single year that goes by increases my surprise and shock at pregnancies, engagements and divorces of past school/university friends. It’s that awkward moment when you feel oh so not ready for any of those things whist also feeling the pressure to conform to all the societal norms. Which slowly but surely seemingly loom around everything.

So as my birthday approached this year I felt more and more conscious of what (younger me) I had presumed I would have achieved by now and the vastly contrasting reality of where I’m really at. So, while most people tend to look forward to their birthday and eagerly anticipate the date weeks in advance, this year mine rather loomed over me as a reminder that I’m not a homeowner. 

I tried to go along with the excitement of it and booked a holiday with my boyfriend and family on a dreamy hot island in an attempt to embrace the age and pre-empt my inevitable tidal wave of melancholy. It was all going to plan until my younger brother was taken ill (thankfully very briefly) and a whole new level of perspective was given.

As I told myself over and over when friends of friends tragically died too young age is a privilege not afforded to many and although I don't own a house, am yet to sign any form of permanent job contract and have failed to purchase any form of designer bag it's not the be or end all.

I read a really excellent quote this week that encapsulated all my anxiety towards ageing and the expectations that come with it so perfectly. 

So, don't worry. Or at least take a deep breath and remember you're not in this alone. Everyone gets overwhelmed by pressures and expectations, try to be kinder to yourself and know that you're very much going at the right pace for you. 

Try to handle your expectations. It honestly takes me a little while to work out whether I'm actually happy about something or if I just simply like the idea of it and then, whether being happy ALLLL the time is even happiness. It's all so painfully subjective. 

Whatever you do for your birthday be selfless and make it about you. Whether that's treating yourself to a pedicure or yoga class in the morning, prioritise the things you love. So whether you're feeling it or not your birthday will be a little of what you wanted and all the more rosy because of it.

But what I have learnt, amongst this jumble of thoughts is that ultimately, birthday blues are manageable - it's your party you can cry if you want to. I absolutely have and inevitably probably will do when 28 comes around too. 


The Best Summer Read's Of 2017:

2017 has been yet another great year for really great books.

I don't know whether my recent inability to read a single book apart from when I'm away on holiday which has made me appreciate a really great one all the more.

Whilst its hard to define what makes a great summer read a great summer read, holidays provide the perfect excuse to get into a good one and quickly forget a bad one. Whether it's a real-life thriller, gritty crime story, or heartbreaking novella that'll have us sobbing into our sunbed. Holidays give you a guilt-free window to read and read, soaking up plots as quickly as you soak up the sun.

So whether you're moved by memoirs or captivated by cutesy reads there's something for everyone...

The Girls, Emma Cline

An evocative and thought provoking read. I could not put this one down. Cline's debut novel came out last year but reallly picked up the heat this summer. With the focus upon a teenage girl who joins a dangerous commune in late-60s California. Inspired by the Charles Manson affair, it's so hard not to review these without giving too much away so all I'll say is go buy it now.

What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories, Laura Shapiro

Literally feed your mind with this witty memoir. Detailing everything from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's love of bread-and-butter sandwiches to Eva Braun's last supper this love story about fitness, dieting and body images also gives a whole new perspective on social history.

The Goddesses, Swan Huntley 

For thrill-seeker's this haunting story is ALL about betrayal and forgiveness. Telling the tale of a woman who moves to Hawaii with her family only to find herself getting a little too close to her yoga teacher and then irrevocably wrapped up in a dangerous friendship.

Yes Please, Amy Poehler

I re-read this again this summer. I bloody love Amy Poehler and when I first read her memoir it spoke to me and really helped me gain a fresher perspective on things I was going through at the time. It was so great that I often quote it (and her) to pals who encounter the same things. There's a whole Pinterest board dedicated to her sassy and inspiring quotes... 100% worth picking up again.

Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney

Sharp and intelligent this novel on friendship, lust and jealously covers the unexpected complications of adulthood. A really brilliant observation of human frailty it's hard not to identify with Frances.

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Levy's follow-up to her Booker-shortlisted Swimming Home is a clever tale of duty, obsession and identity. Following a mother and daughter who embark upon a journey in search of a medical cure for the Mum's paralysis in a Spanish village. With almost expectant twists and tales its a realllll page turner.

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