I turned 24 this week.
"Oh no!" you're thinking, "She's going to do another column on all the things she has or hasn't achieved in 24 years and how generally ill-informed she is as a barely functioning human adult!"
Well, I'll have you know I'm not. Relax.
I'm pretty relaxed about this birthday, as it happens, because 24 is a complete non-event of an age. It's merely another step on the gradual plodding progression towards my natural, internal age, which I've known for a while now is about 43. I'm far too old by now to be any sort of prodigy, or 'youngest ever' at anything, so that's a lot of pressure off (though the days I spent trying to be the youngest ever person to master Handel's Messiah on a kazoo is frankly time I'll never get back).
Likewise I'm still far too young to need to have done anything as concrete as legally acquiring a building or other human. I think of this part of your twenties as 'The Meander'. It's nice. If you do something significant then hey, well done you! If not, don't worry - your Mum still sees you as a six year old in a tutu anyway.
Besides, the groaning list of Stuff You Should Have Done By Now can always be balanced out nicely by the Stuff You Didn't Expect To Have Done But Have, which is the more exciting collection by far. So, for 'accumulated some savings', I can swap 'saw Dolly Parton in concert and cried.' In the place of 'reaching a moderate level of personal fitness', I have 'invented Toblerone porridge and its sequel, Christmas cake porridge'. I may not have married or produced offspring this year, but I did get up at 5am to watch the Royal Wedding in Hyde Park with a lavish picnic, a level of commitment to public cheer that I doubt I'll ever equal again. I didn't think that by the ripe age of 24 I'd have both appeared on and humiliated myself on a TV game show, or met Dave 'Voice of Come Dine With Me' Lamb and told him that his voice made me hungry. They were nice bonuses.
I hadn't banked on reaching my partying peak and progressing to a state of complete, feeble alcohol intolerance by my mid-20s either, and yet it is so. Despite its negative impact on my already-shaky street cred, I like to think that being teetotal so early has freed up a large part of my life that would otherwise be given to weeping into my handbag on Friday mornings while Barbara from accounts hands me a Berocca and tuts. I wouldn't be surprised if my youthful recklessness spontaneously manifests itself in some surprise way instead, like getting a giant tattoo on my face or paying my council tax bill a month late.
By this point the more astute among you will be going, "hang on, she's writing exactly what she said she wasn't going to write about!" And yes, I lied. But we can learn from this. We can learn that when you write a column for nine years, some ideas are going to end up being recycled. Thankfully, I've got exactly a year to think up a new one.
Horses for courses - and the future
3 days ago