I remember stepping off The Heathrow Express in Paddington for the first time. I had this vision. I was going to be a slim and sexy Carrie Bradshaw-esque woman who teetered along to gallery openings puffing on her Vogue cigarette, and sipping dirty martini’s. I’d be wined and dined by eligible bachelors and essentially I would be ruling my twenties as an inner-city metropolitan queen. I was dreaming of red telephone boxes, roof top bars and city slickers. Reality-fucking check. Instead, I’m mostly just trying to work out how to get through a 7am meeting without throwing up cheap Prosecco from the night before all over my boss.
If there was a movie scene to describe a city-gal in her twenties, it would be this;
Miss X’s eyelashes flutter and she slowly wakes from a deep sleep, alone in bed. The first twenty seconds are pure bliss until reality strikes. Oh shit, head pounding. What did I do last night? She thinks…and…oh shit. Drank my life’s wages in red wine. Kissed work colleague. Broke wine glass. Told Karen from accounts that she’s a c*nt. Missed tube home. Drunk-dialled favourite fuck boy and left rambling voice notes until 2am.
Miss X sinks under the covers but pretty quickly, something worse replaces embarrassment. Fear. She’s thirty minutes late for the fucking train.
Flies out of bed, cellulite flying everywhere. Grabs purse, runs. Reaches bottom step and trips, face-planting on a stack of unpaid electricity bills and last night’s Vietnamese take-out cartons. SHIT.
As she redeems herself and stands up covered in noodles, her phone is buzzing with messages. None from last nights date, because he will ghost her. Instead it’s an angry boss on the other end. Also a weather notification telling her it’s going to rain today and drop to 14 degrees, never mind that she forgot her umbrella and jacket. She’s forgotten her gym gear too, like she has every day this week, meaning she will have to avoid looking at all the gym bunnies on Instagram today if she wants to stay sane.
From the train she leaps in to Starbucks like an antelope being hunted.
“Double Soy Latte” She breathes in a sigh of relief, knowing that late for work or not, this coffee is her small piece of joy.
If you can’t relate to even one bit of that story, then well-fucking-done, you’re living the dream. But yes for most of us, our twenties are a classified shit show. I wanted to share some valuable lessons I had learned because I think in the midst of all the mess, drama and stress, we actually forget to have fun. We forget that there’s a life outside of Social Media, bills, hangovers and work.
So if you’re sitting at home thinking “Fuck, my twenties suck. I’m going to die alone, eaten by feral cats” then this blog post is definitely, in every way, written for you.
Being Single in your Twenties looks like;
Your fridge consists of two bottles of wine, a £6 bottle of Prosecco that could almost resemble champagne, a stray lime, a bunch of fresh vegetables that have gone rotten because let’s be honest – you eat out every night, some tabasco that you brought to make Bloody Mary’s, one slab of unused butter and expired milk.
Your messenger and text inbox is 20% memes about fuck-boys, 20% banter from girl group chats and 60% messages from a harem of nice boys you will never consider dating even though you complain about being single.
Your bank account hits overdraft weekly, and the reason is Tequila
ASOS probably knows you by name – there’s no boyfriend to set shopping boundaries
Your interests include being as social as humanely possible so you don’t wind up home alone. You’re a festival queen, a bar connoisseur, a solo-travel expert and a gig-goer.
You develop wierd food addictions, like ‘dinner” can be spoonfuls of nutella, or a bowl of muesli (My kryptonite for a while was almonds dipped in Vegemite, Peanut Butter and Honey mixed together)
You basically become Oprah. Your work colleagues and friends in relationships will tune in daily to find out your wild escapades like they are words spoken from the bible.
The off-license guy knows you by name because you go there in your sweatpants every second day for a hangover-curing lucozade, banana milk and lemonade.
From early teens I was always tied up in puppy love and relationships. I preferred to be a ‘half of someone’. After a three year relationship that resulted in a broken laptop and a suitcase full of pissed-on clothes, I finally embraced single life at twenty-two. My relationships taught me great lessons also, of which i’ll post about at some point. But it isn’t until you are faced with yourself, and your own boring company, you truly learn what makes you tick. So amidst all the humiliating experiences, this is what i have learned;
Don’t be desperate and embrace freedom instead
‘I’ve been dating since I was fifteen, I’m exhausted! Where is he!” – Charlotte, Sex & The City.
Well, Charlotte, he is definitely not fucking sitting around asking himself that. No, ‘he’ is knocking back tequila at a Tiki bar in Marbella, flirting with the Spanish topless waitress while on a lads trip right now. So don’t waste your time waiting for him to waltz through the door. Of course being single is exhausting, and I understand, because I love to fall in love. Seriously. In fact I call my girlfriends nearly every month to declare “I’ve met my soulmate. No, I know I said that last time, but this time I really have”
I’ve learned though, that love should be a bonus in your life, not your purpose. Your twenties should be a blissful fling with freedom instead of a constant search for love, because being free is valuable. Want to go on a girls weekend bender? Do it! Want to have the entire bed and duvet to yourself? Lap that shit up! Want to spontaneously jump on a train to Paris and flirt with Frenchmen over vin et fromage? Oui, when single, you can! Okay, you get my point. You won’t be single forever so while you are, carpe diem, seize the day.
So I blow money like I’m a Wall Street Wolf. Then something serious will happen like I lock myself out of the house (regular occurrence) and have to call a locksmith who charges three-hundred quid and I’m faced with an emergency payment I cannot afford thanks to my ride-or-die spending habits.
In no way am I suggesting you start swiping plastic and living beyond your means. But in my twenties I’ve learned that experiences with close friends are priceless. Enjoy the time in your life that you don’t have real responsibility, and you can justify being selfish. Yeah we have rent and bills, blah blah blah. But I mean before you have real responsibility. Like breast-suckling projectile vomiting baby responsibilities that will burn your cash faster than a Wall Street payday. Spend your hard earned money on what makes you happy. For me, a last minute trip to Cyprus or brunch at the Aviary with the girls is worth more than anything. I mean damn, I cant afford emergency locksmiths, but priorities, ya know?
Recycle plastic bottles, not men
Tempting isn’t it, to pick up last years love interest. Your Ex just got a new tan, or a new tattoo and is flaunting it all over Instagram, thirst-trap style. But the rule is that people do not inherently change. The Ex you went back to with a bad cocaine habit, likely still had a bad cocaine habit. The Ex you get back with that had anger issues, still will probably punch a wall post-argument. The Ex you decide to re-visit after the passion had died out, still won’t ignite your fire in the long run. Women love to play fantasies out in their head, and sometimes returning to a long lost love sounds like a film script of romantic gold. But through honest experience doing this upwards of six times, the universe has taught me that Exes should stay that way. It’s best to move on and look forward to a horizon of hot opportunities waiting for you. Recently I returned to old habits and got talking to my first-love from high school. We had a few phone conversations and reminisced. Over a G & T in Kings Cross with my girls the other day, I brought it up, and we all concluded that I did not move 11,000 miles away to London and build a life here to start chatting with high school boyf’s. So, yeah, sorry hon, it’s a no from me.
Say no to blow if you want your nostrils to stay in tact
If you want to blindly pretend cocaine doesn’t exist, I would encourage you not to move to London. It’s easier to find than craft beer. Genuinely. What starts as a glamorous, underground world eventually becomes a little darker. Your opinion of the stuff changes when you wake on a Wednesday to someone doing a line off someone’s arse in your living room for the third week in a row. If it’s not your forte, don’t do it. Don’t board the cocaine train because it seems like every one is doing it. Know your limits and how to say no thank you I do not want to snort Ketamine from a strangers hairy arsehole.
Travelling alone is fun
I have unlocked the secret to single-life happiness. It’s learning how to do things alone. Seriously, I do a ton of things alone. Dinner’s out alone, drink wine alone (k this is borderline alcoholic), being alone in a mosh pit, and of course the best one – travelling alone. No one to judge you if you want to spend 48 hours knee deep in Mojito’s on a sun lounger, and equally, no one to judge you if you want to go booze-free and spend your holiday digesting books and adrenaline activities. Its’ bliss doing what you want. When I first did Paris alone, I was angsty and frustrated with all the couples humping on the sidewalks (city of love). But eventually I relaxed, got my independence, and found it totally euphoric exploring and meeting strangers along the way.
Sex is your prerogative
The twenties era. Everyone operates in exceptionally different ways. Some are already with their future hubby’s, or waving an engagement rock around. Some have popped out mini me’s. Some of us are dating casually, and some of us dating manically. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those options. If you want to lose your inhibitions and shag your way through 2018, that is fine. If you fancy fastening your chastity belt and saving yourself, that is also fine. It actually doesn’t fucking matter either way, what matters if how you feel about your choices. Not what anyone else feels about it.
Overanalysing text messages is a quick trip to crazy-town
Take a chill pill and put the phone down. No relationships will be formed over text, and poring over what your man has said, or not said, will make you full blown PMS psychotic. I’m guilty of engaging in a few long-distance online relationships. I tricked myself in to thinking that these guys would somehow gather up the cash for a ticket to London, and we would be reunited under the shining skyscrapers after months of phone calls. My bullshit radar failed me, severely. When I formed a real relationship with someone in London, I realised those connections in person are so much more satisfying than emoji’s, texts, video-chatting and phone-sex.
Don’t care what other people think, because they literally, don’t care
It’s weird that we think people actually care what we’re doing. There was this kid who I was completely infatuated with and he would always be among the first two people to view every single Instagram story after we ended our relationship. This gave me a little thrill, like cool, he gives a shit. Until I realised that when you watch a story, it rolls on to the next one immediately. So the moral of this story is no one who is watching your Instagram stories is interested in what you are doing, they are actually rolling through their archive of stories and you happened to pop up.
Really we are inherently selfish beings and all think we are each the center of our own universes. So never be afraid of what others think of you. Because every one is just the main protagonist in their own blockbuster drama, no one will dwell on what you have said, done or worn. On the rare occasion they do, it will only be for 0.7 seconds before they get bored and gossip about something else.
You’re going to realise we are all fucking completely lost…
This is the fun one so if you aren’t twenty yet, listen up.
Post-grad, it looks like everyone has the code of life cracked. Everyone is banging on about their great lives over social media (totally guilty of this). I work for BBC Studios, and have friends who work on Super Yachts, work for Google, as fashion designers in NYC. I’ve seen people I know become mutli-millionaires overnight, award winning bodybuilders, dating famous people. How fucking envy-inducing is it? But in one way or another, whether it’s life, love work or passion, we are all lost. We have no idea what we are doing. A good job and a extraordinary Instagram feed does not mean life is perfect. It means they are just crying over other things (EG fuck-boys, stress, insecurities, daddy issues)…
Life is a magnum sized rollercoaster, a turbulent ride. But honestly you are supposed to enjoy it even when the carts come loose and fly off the track.
One time, at one particular job in my life, I got incessantly intoxicated and confessed to my boss at a very important media awards that I was in love with him, and sexually attracted to him. One time, I popped microwave popcorn and started a house fire. One time, I invited a drug dealer dropping cocaine to an after party, in to my house for tea. One time, I forgot to pay my Thames water bill for like, eight months. I honestly should be banned from adult life, but I hope that re-assures you that we have no idea what we are doing and most of us are totally winging it. Fully-formed human adults with their shit together do not exist in this universe, and once you realise that life becomes just a little bit sweeter.
Your twenties are your selfish years. It’s a decade to immerse yourself in every single thing possible. Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of you. Tinker with shit, travel, explore and never touch the ground
– Kyoko Escamilla