21

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Just over a month ago today, I turned 21.

Faced with the prospect of encroaching adulthood and various responsibilities, I downed half a jug of white wine sangria and a few more litres of mulled wine, and for a brief twelve hours, I forgot about bills and taxes and rent payments and monogynous relationships, shitty bosses and stressful university assignments. Adding fuel to the fire was the fact I had broken up with my long term boyfriend the weekend beforehand (what a wanker, seriously), and the fact my whole family had decided to come down just for my birthday (oh shit). I proceeded to bust the zip in my best skirt, inhale copious amounts of Mexican food, annihilate my favourite pair of pep toe shoes, and dance all night.

Waking up at 11 am the next morning in my unicorn onesie next to a snoring Natalie, hair plastered to my forehead, lipstick smudged across my chin, I realised I had just had one of the best nights of my short existence.

Taken on the night of my 21st, looking fresh with my squad. Love these girls.

But I couldn't help but ask myself, what now?

Being 21 is a strange feeling.
Infact, being in your 20s in a strange feeling.
You're stuck between a rock and a hard place so to speak, somewhere between the fragile, twisted mind of an adolescent punk rock wannabe, and the responsible and reliable, tax paying, National voting dickhead you will inevitably become. Still suffering from terminal uniqueness you're basically forced to sort your shit out. What the fuck universe, here comes the existential crisis.

The problem is, I've never aspired to be a "real adult". Being a normal, functioning member of society has never interested me, I've always wanted something more. The urge to resist getting a real job, and getting married and popping out little carbon copies is too strong. I want to travel for fucks sake, not live in Churton Park. The white picket fence life is not for me, no way.

I go home and everyone is in long term relationships. Everyone is getting married, and having kids and buying their first houses. They look at me like I'm an alien, the strange girl who talks a bit too much and wears too much black who ran away to Wellington to be an art student. They ask me why I'm single and I tell them I recently broke up with someone.

"Oh darlinnnggggg. So sorry to hear that, what happened?"
"Well he nearly got me arrested so I figured it was time to call it quits. Smoked too much pot anyway."
"...."

The thing is no one warned me that this is what 21 would be like. I honestly thought I'd be someone by now, that if I died tomorrow, more than a handful of people would actually care. I mean, Buddy Holly was dead by the time he was 21, and he's, you know, fucking Buddy Holly. Looking back, I wish someone had warned me that my 20s would be like this. No one warns you of the crushing loneliness, the impending responsibilities, and perhaps most of all, that inevitable moment with university ends. I've still got a year to go, but I can already feel my campus bubble beginning to wane under the pressure of "real life".

So before "real life" hits you square in the face like it did me, the morning I woke up after my birthday, here is some advice regarding the big 2-1.

1. Get off Tinder.
Like seriously, you're not going to meet anyone of interest on there, so unless you are just looking for a meaningless hook up, steer clear friends. Any person you meet on there who wants a relationship will have something wrong with them. Trust me, I know this. You never know if behind that beautiful selfie taken last summer on a lovely Pacific island lies a mountain of emotional baggage. Don't get me wrong, occasionally you get a good one. But my advice to you would be to meet people the normal way, in real life.

2. Everybody is lost in their 20s.
Like seriously, as much as you think everybody around you has their shit sorted, they don't. We're all trying to navigate the ocean of full time time office jobs, electricity bills and monogamy, gluten free diets and "classy" cocktail parties so get out of that corner and start living. Your 20s can be the best time of your life (so I've heard) so go out there and live it. Everything is a learning curb.

3. Fuck Diets.
Like seriously. It is good to eat healthy and exercise regularly, but just because your cousin's friend's girlfriend's dog's uncle's daughter lost 52kg through the lemon and cinnamon diet does not mean you suddenly should feel guilty because you like pizza and drink beer. Recently I've been following Healthy is the New Skinny. It's super empowering and generally makes me feel better about life. Check their Facebook and Instagram out.

4. Love your parents.
I know they're a pain in the arse sometimes. It's something I've had trouble coming to terms with in my late teenage years, but everything my Mum does she does because she cares and loves me. She's my rock and I can always rely on her.

5. Friends come and go.
Let them. Same with partners. I thought I'd be with my last boyfriend forever, but after an initial grieving period I'm so glad he's out of my life. My relationships with my closest friends have strengthened and for the first time in a year, I feel happy. Funny how you don't realise how bad a situation has gotten until you're out of it. The universe has a plan, and the people that are meant to stick around will.

Anyway I'm off to work. Shit, maybe I am an adult.

Until next time babes xx

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