When you are really young, all you want to be is older. I know I did. I can recall a memory from my youth when I said this to my mum. She laughed at me and replied, “be careful what you wish for” and she was right. Although there were some challenging times growing up, in general I had a good childhood. Although my parents split when I was nine and that was indeed traumatic, they both loved and cared for me. I was a lot luckier than other families that go through unpleasant divorces. I recorded a podcast with Ross (check out the Aesthetically Trained Podcast) a few months ago and one of the last things he asked me was, what is the best piece of advice you have been given? Having not prepared for this part I rather feebly (I thought at the time ) came up with something my dad said to me when I was young. He told me to enjoy school as, “they are the best days of your life” at the time I will have undoubtedly laughed it off and rubbished this ludicrous claim. But in a lot of ways, he was right and it was very sound advice. Like most kids, I had no responsibilities when I was at school other than to do my work and enjoy my time. I did half of that at least. This blog is about growing older. I am in my thirties now. Which at first, really terrified me. I thought I was getting on and no longer could enjoy the folly of youth. I am learning that with the new lifestyle I have chosen (without alcohol) I am not heading towards obsolescence just yet.
I had a chat with Jack not long ago and with us both now being in our thirties we did a little bit of reflecting. We both concluded that the current position we are now in was better than where we both were back in our early twenties, possibly even mid-twenties. When you have the benefit of being older and looking back, I don’t think I would choose to go back to my early twenties. Yes of course, I was younger and with less responsibility but I was also immature and “not piss wise” as an old boss used to say. I feared turning thirty, it definitely played on my mind. My birthday was in lockdown so it was a very low-key affair but that in some ways that probably made things worse. I didn’t embrace it. If anything, I wanted to run as far as possible away from it. What I should have done and my advice for anyone just about to turn the magic three zero is, don’t worry about it. It does annoy me a little when people will say, “oh age is only a number” that is bollocks. Becoming thirty and leaving twenty-nine behind is clearly different, as I am sure it will be leaving my thirties and entering my forties. But what it doesn’t have to be, is negative. When I was getting ever closer to thirty, I anticipated everything would become bleaker, mundane and less fun which is probably why I went as hard as I did last year. If I could relive one part of my life it would almost certainly be the latter part of last year when I full lost control of my relationship with booze.
Having decided to leave alcohol behind, I want to make sure that my thirties are so much better. I am not saying that I didn’t have many good experiences within my twenties, I just know that better days are there for me to enjoy. I think about all the time and money I wasted on booze. I dread to think what the number is. I had plenty of good nights out and sessions on the razzle dazzle but ultimately, they have brought me to where I am now. I am excited about the next five to six years to see where I land and what happens. But mostly I want to enjoy them fully and be present throughout it all. Not dropping back to old times when drinking as much as possible on a night out was the only thing occupying my mind or making alcohol the centre of my universe. That’s gone now, and left behind. If I had been asked to write this piece a few months ago, I couldn’t have done it. Now sitting here penning this with as much conviction is really great. I feel I have now completely shed my old life and denounced my old ways. It feels liberating.
Focusing on a brighter future full of new experiences and people to meet is all I am thinking about at the moment. My life is in a good place right now with a strong solid balance of work and social time. I feel content and wish to remain in this current state. Not deviate from the routine and structure which has played a crucial role in maintaining a better mental state.
You might think the title to this one is a little strange, but please go and listen to Faces – Ooh La La. All will become clear.
Thanks again for reading, I have enjoyed writing this one.