Having recently passed the mid-twenties mark whilst creeping ever so slightly nearer to the 30s club, I feel it is my duty to have a word with some of you post-30-somethings about your advice (that I didn’t ask for). God, this feels good already.
1. Don’t have kids too young
Oh hi, random stranger I happen to be sitting next to at this black-tie event. You had kids too young, I get it. You wish you’d partied more, travelled more and had more fun in general. Instead, you got stuck with two kids you regretted having at 27, so you feel it’s your duty to tell me not to have kids until I’m at least 30. I mean – I was going to have kids tomorrow, but your slightly drunken, slurry lecture has made me change my mind.
2. Don’t have kids too late
Did you know that as a woman, your fertility starts declining at 27? Yep. 27. As a woman, you’re born with all the eggs you’ll ever have and every month you lose some. You can’t buy more. You can freeze them for later use, but you can never get more. So don’t leave it too late, OK? I mean – women today wait until they’re at least 35, and do you know the risks involved with having a child at that age? DO NOT WAIT TOO LONG.
Oh, thank you for that useful piece of information – let me call my boyfriend right now.
3. You’ll regret that tattoo
When I was 14, I used to look at pictures of the models on Hot Topic and say “when I grow up, I’m going to get tattoos” and various people would say “yeah, you just wait until you’re old enough” and “when I was 18, I wanted a tattoo too, but now I’m glad I didn’t get one”.
I’m 25 now, and I still get the “you’ll regret that tattoo on your wedding day” speech (cause all women just live for their wedding day, right?). Here’s the thing, I love my tattoos. Even the faded little treble clef I got in North Dakota when I was 19. I get why you wouldn’t want any – but, and this might shock you, we’re not the same person.
4. Don’t move out of the city just yet
I realise I’m an old soul, but whenever I express my boyfriend’s desire of buying a house in the countryside (and by countryside, I mean within half an hour of Brighton), I am immediately jumped on by 30-somethings who tell me not to do it. “Living in the countryside is boring! You’re too young for that – wait until you’re at least 35.” Yes, let me stay in the city for you so you can live vicariously through me.
5. Go out and get drunk
What if I don’t want to go out and get drunk? What if I want to sit at home and knit a cloth because it feels really nice to wipe the surfaces with it? What if I want to go for an early morning run before the sun rises? What if I want to have a Sunday at the flea market drinking coffee without a hangover? Oops, right then, never mind – I’ll just go out and get drunk instead.
6. You shouldn’t drink so much
In my early twenties, it was all like “you don’t need to drink every day of the week, Line”. What? I’m young, leave me alone, I’ll get drunk if I want to. In fact, because you’re telling me not to drink so much, I’m going to drink three bottles of wine tonight. What are you going to do about it?
7. You should travel the world first
Oh it’s you again, random person at the bar who has quizzed me about my relationship for three seconds (“do you have a boyfriend?”) and think it’s your responsibility to tell me I should travel the world before settling down.
If you’d asked before the lecture, you would’ve found out that I’ve probably been to more countries than you, even though I haven’t gone backpacking through Cambodia. And do you know why I haven’t travelled through south-east Asia (although I’ve been to Asia, twice)? Because your storytelling means that I don’t have to.
8. You have your whole life to run marathons
Yeah, you’re right. I just finished a 24K run that I really enjoyed, and the marathon is six weeks away, but I’ll just sack off these last three months of effort because, you know, I’m young. What would you like me to do instead? Take loads of drugs and stay up all night?
9. You should *insert pointless thing you don’t want to do*
No, random stranger whose advice I didn’t ask for, I don’t want to do whatever it is you didn’t do whilst you were young. Because do you know what? The beauty of being one of us 20-somethings is that you’re old enough to do whatever you want, but you’re also so young that you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. Want to party all the time? Do it! Want kids? Go for it! Want to get married? Why not! Want to work in a pub whilst figuring out your life? Absolutely! It’s the only time in your life (so far) that you can literally do whatever the fuck you want. So go for it.
Phew. That feels better!
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