3 months on from my birthday, A catching up with a bday next week and lines around my eyes that have mysteriously appeared since turning 26; life isn't quite what I expected it to be when I was 12, dreaming of being a proper adult by the time I reached my 20s. I'm now in the late 20s bracket and it's safe to say all adults are completely winging it and whether you're 16, 26 or 46, you really don't know what you're always doing but you hope for the best.
There are things I've learned about life.....
You're parents will always think you as teenager. It's no bad thing and it isn't written as a negative and hey, I'll have kids and do the same thing. Parents can't help it; it's their nature. They want to look after you and how awesome is it that they do?! Sometimes you know that they know you can do this as an adult but they want to help, you're still their baby. They mean well but sometimes a step back or a gentle nudge is a good hint.
The things you thought were 'so lame' when you were a teenager are now the things you do all the time. Why yes I will be in bed, and hopefully be asleep, by 10pm. It was a long day and work and I've been up since 6.30am. I don't honestly know how I stayed up so late every single night when I was younger. If I did that now my eye bags would be down to my chin!
You know that you can go out for a couple of drinks and still have a good time. A hangover isn't an achievement anymore, it's something you want to avoid at all costs.
And while we're on hangovers, why past the age of 25 do they last longer than a day?!
Invest in your skin! Drink that water, put on that face cream, get that sleep, treat yourself to a facial now and again, it will face a difference.
You do become more laid back. I mean, some things can still wind me up no end but I've learnt (and I'm still trying to put into motion sometimes) that it's just not worth it. A deep breath, count to 10 and move on. There are other more important things to be had.
Then there are the expectations of where I thought I'd be at 26:
Living and home owning in London- when I dreamt this at 12 this was actually doable. People moved to London, actually made money, bought houses. By the time it was our opportunity, rents were sky high, you worked just to pay for your train fares and everything was mega bucks. My dream of a house in central London kept away.
Marriage & kids: I never saw marriage but I saw kids. Not kids right away but I saw them in my late 20s. I still want kids but my god it is so scary. When I was younger it seemed years away and you didn't have to think about all the extras that go along with it. Now life is hurtling by. And as for marriage well it's now under 3 months until the big day. I have lists coming out of my ears and things that still need planning and organising!
Work: of course I was living in London and had the nicest house, my fridge was full of M&S food so I must have had a pretty decent job. I imagined it would have been fun and so very important. What really happened in London is I worked in retail for years before securing a job as an office manager. The commute was gruelling but I made some of my best friends in that office and for that those 2 years was worth it.
And life now?
26 is still quite a big number for me and I'm not going to lie, I'm not great at the idea of ageing but I consider myself lucky that I get the chance to do it. I think I might begin to find my grove at 26. I have more confidence in myself and what I'm doing at work and at home.
Life is about my little family of 3; evenings in on the sofa, home cooked meals and boxsets. It's about laughing with A until my cheeks hurt. It's about being happy with the life you have. There's big things happening this year, I'll be a Mrs and that feels like it will change things and at the same time it feels like nothing will change at all.
We always strive to do more, to be better, it's just human nature. We strive towards something- big or small- maybe it's that new top you've been lusting after, maybe it's an all inclusive holiday, maybe it's just moving to a bigger house or getting your 5 a day in. I'm finding my feet and I'm going to see where it takes me.
I think 26 will be the year more things clicking into place. I'm hopeful that it's more settled than the mad, horrible year that was 2016.