I’m at a peculiar age. Most of my Facebook timeline is filled with people getting engaged, buying houses, having babies, moving in together etc. You get the picture.
Strangely enough, I’m yet to go to a friend’s wedding or have to buy a newborn a present. I think that says a lot about who I surround myself with to be honest. People who are scared of commitment and / or have excellent contraceptive choices. But I digress.
I actually feel like twenty six is a little young to be doing some of the above, but I’m fully aware that’s probably because I’m terrified of having to look after anyone but myself and I have zero maternal instincts. I’m pretty crap at the whole commitment thing too, as I’ve had maybe four long-ish term relationships in my short life and seeing as I’m so desperately alone at the moment, it obviously isn’t working out for me.
So because sometimes I feel like I’m not hitting all the so-called ‘life milestones’, I thought I would pen an article on twenty six little things I love about being twenty six. And no, not all of them revolve around alcohol. But most of them do.
1. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want
Within reason, of course. I still have a full-time job and bills to pay. But if I want to go and get stinking drunk at the weekend (or a Wednesday evening) on a whim, then you bet your arse, I bloody well will. There’s no one to worry about me or check up or ask what time I’ll be back in and there’s no one to wake up when I stumble through the front door, heels in hand, with a fistful of cheesy chips. Bliss.
2. Earning my own money
This is important to me. The only person I am dependent on in my life is myself. And I love it. All responsibility lies with me, so if I fuck up (which hasn’t actually happened yet), there’s no one to blame but myself. It also means I don’t have to stand for any bullshit from people who take advantage of this and don’t try and earn their own money and ride through life always relying on someone else. Not aimed at anyone in particular, of course…
I mean, I will love wine until I die, but it had to feature on my list of things I love about being twenty six because I can enjoy wine whenever I damn well please. Unless I’m participating in Dry January. In which case, don’t talk to me.
When I was younger, I was friends with people who didn’t always make me feel very good about myself, but being younger, I thought this was normal and, because I was picked on relentlessly at school, I clung to what I thought were ‘good’ friendships in my early twenties. Fast forward a few years and I realise what friends really are and what they should be and how they should make you feel and, to be honest, I have some pretty amazing ones in my life right now. Most of them are my drinking partners and dancing partners and wing women and work colleagues and old, old friends and confidants and people I share my bed with (and not always sexually).
5. Owning my own car
This is a huge one for me. I bought my first car at twenty six years old. I passed my driving test first time (with ten minors) when I was seventeen, but have never been able to really afford insurance etc. So when I finally got rid of some (ex)cess drainage on the old bank account, I treated myself to Vinnie (Vincent) the Volkswagen Polo. And he is my favourite thing in my life at the moment. I’ve never experienced freedom like this since I left home and went off to uni.
6. Renting my own apartment
This is nothing special to me, as I’ve been renting since I was around nineteen, and I’ve had my own place for about three years, but I still love it. I love having the ability to live on my own, but not feel tied down. If I decided I wanted to up sticks and move to the North Pole, I could. Yes, I’m contractually obliged to pay rent, but I wouldn’t have to worry about selling my home or anything complicated like that. I don’t care what anyone says, renting isn’t money down the drain; it’s money to be independent and not take random blokes back to your parents’ house and have to explain who they are in the morning.
7. My career
My job is currently the most important thing to me in my life. Yep, over everything else, I value my career and where I currently work. There hasn’t really been anything else that’s driven me in life quite like doing well academically and in my job. I feel like Lisa in the episode of The Simpsons where the teachers go on strike and she screams at Marge to grade her.
8. The gym
Hey, come on. It had to feature on here somewhere. I know, I know, my gym posts are sooooo boring and you’re all sick of seeing my bulging biceps, but guess what? I don’t give a fuck! I don’t post those pictures for anyone but myself. Well, sometimes for the attention of a guy I’m interested in, but that’s very rare. Honest.
I have never been ‘travelling’. I’ve been abroad and on holidays, but one, it’s never appealed to me, and two, I’ve never really been able to afford it in my adult life. But at twenty six, I’m finding that I’m getting better with money, so holidays are back on the table. Last year, I went to Barcelona with one of my best friends, Sarah, and I also nipped to the Lake District on my own. I like the freedom and anticipation of not knowing where I will go this year and it’s just great.
10. Eating healthily
Bar the alcohol, I actually have a pretty decent diet. I eat vast amounts of fruit and veg. I practically live off broccoli and peanut butter, if I’m being honest. I don’t really drink fizzy drinks. When I snack, it’s usually a handful of almonds or an apple or a glass of wine (still fruit technically).
11. Being a vegetarian
Okay, so I have been for about three years, but it’s something I really enjoy being and I’m also making a conscious effort to be as vegan as possible at the moment too. This is somewhat cancelled out by the leather shoes I just bought, but I forgot if I’m being honest. I haven’t even eaten meat in a drunken stupor either.
12. Owning my own furniture
Yep, I have a DFS sofa and armchair which I pay for monthly on finance. I have a chunky coffee table which I purchased from IKEA and put together myself. I’m currently sitting at my Argos dining table, with it’s Wilko seat cushions and table runner. I am a full functioning twenty six year old adult.
13. I have many leather bound books and my apartment smells like rich mahogany
Well, I have many, many paperback books and my apartment smells like Febreeze ‘air mist’.
I have the loveliest parents in the entire world, a big brother, an amazing auntie and uncle, and a grandma with escalating dementia. I live away from my family and even further away from my brother, which bothers me the most. I’d love to be able just to nip out and go for a drink with my brother or hang out at his flat etc. but he lives in London and I live all the way up north. I’m happy both of us have our own lives, but since I split up with my boyfriend, I realised how alone I am up here and how nice it would be to live near him.
I love my job and I certainly don’t live for the weekends, but I am grateful for when they come around. At twenty six, I appreciate weekends for the chance to visit friends up and down the country, for the chance to enjoy a beverage or six and wallow in a hangover for an entire day, for the chance to spend £6 on a National Trust car park and look at some deer, for the chance to spend all my wages in Topshop, and for the chance to own the dance floor in Popworld.
I’ve never been a fan of nightclubs, but Popworld feels like home on a night out. Spice Girls blasting out the speakers, cheap wine in hand, throwing mad shapes, and getting off with local Prestonians, it really is the epitome of a classy night out. I’m hoping you’re all sensing the intense levels of sarcasm on this one.
17. Mental health
I would say I’m at a good place with my mental health at the moment. I came off the contraceptive pill back in May 2017 and I’ve never looked back. I’ve also noticed a change in myself after splitting up with my boyfriend. I feel happier, lighter, less anxious. I mean, I still worry unnecessarily and I’m pretty swell at beating myself up about things, but I generally feel okay. Which is nice. To be honest, with the amount I’m smashing the gym, my levels of endorphins must be immense.
At twenty six, I’m not currently getting any, but I actually quite like it like that. Plus I’ve always maintained that the best sex I’ve ever had is with myself anyway, so I’m sorted.
I’ve developed a vast collection of books over the years, mainly from my degrees, but also because I cannot stop once I start. I tend to have breaks in reading and then pick one back up and BOOM! I’m back on the reading train. Currently, I’m very much into psychological thrillers and Nazi dystopian fiction (or just dystopian fiction in general). One of my favourite authors is Philip K. Dick. And no, not because of that reason.
20. Not being embarrassed
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been called ’embarrassing’ by a few people before. I do not talk to said people any more. At twenty six, I couldn’t give two hoots what anyone thinks about me, so I’m probably still very much as embarrassing as I’ve always been, but I’m certainly not embarrassed.
21. My laugh
One of my more distinguishing features, my laugh is the same now as it has been since I was a wee nipper. I throw my head back, I snort, I sound like an escaped pig, and I bloody love it. Laughing is my favourite.
22. Where I live
Preston gets a bad rep. Whilst it wouldn’t be my first choice of places to live (followed my heart, not my head. Silly.), it is nowhere near as bad as people make out. I love how close it is to Manchester and how I can just zoom down the M6 to see my parents or tootle across to Derby to see my bezzies, Charl and Linds. My apartment is in a lovely location as well and I’m so central to everything. It’s cold and windy and has an excessive amount of high street bakeries, but it’s where I live, and at twenty six, I’m happy.
23. Looking after myself
At this age, I feel like I’ve got my shit together. I can get myself up every morning and go to work on time. I keep my flat clean(ish) and tidy(ish). I pay all my bills on time. I eat well and drink a lot of water. I text my mum almost every day to let her know I’m okay. I rarely run out of toilet roll. I own two different types of perfume. I separate my whites from darks when washing my clothes (but still end up with grey underwear. It’s a mystery). I own a Black & Decker handheld vacuum cleaner, for goodness sake. I’ve got it MADE.
24. The future
I don’t make five year plans. I just like to see what happens as it happens. At twenty six, this is one of the little things I love. The anticipation. And it also takes a lot of pressure off me. My mum was married with two children by the age of twenty eight. That gives me around a year and a half to find a husband and push out two sprogs. Hahahahahahahahahahaha no thank you.
25. My wardrobe
Following some recent fashion advice from a friend, I’ve definitely upped my fashion game. I’m aiming for sophisticated and chic, with elements of Pat Butcher thrown in (I like leopard print).
26. Being on my own
I’m twenty six and I like being on my own. SO WHAT.