33 Things I Had Figured Out By 33

  1. Adulthood is a feeling and I think it’s different for everybody. For me it was to stop being so concerned about what others think. I always knew that’s what I was supposed do, but it took me 32 years to feel it.
  2. The biggest things I have learned sound the most tired when said out loud. Maybe it’s because they have to be experienced to be felt. “People always say how you should be yourself. Like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster or something. Like you know what it is, even.” Angela Chase said this in My So-Called Life, when she was 15 and I was too when I watched it. Now I’m 33 and I think the self is in constant change, but even so, every day I wake up with the feeling that hell yes, I know what I am.
  3. London is for fighters, constantly testing you, but oh my how I love this city. I feel it all the time, but never more than when my plane lands and I am home.
  4. I haven’t been married long but it feels completely different. I’m so excited.
  5. Deciding to get married after such a long period of steely independence was a big deal. I mean, I never had any doubts after we got accidentally engaged on the steps of the Stoke Newington Baptist Church on our way up to a bagel shop for a 2am drunken snack—it was always on. But I took pause over the thought of letting someone in after I’d worked so hard to come to a place where I truly didn’t need to.
  6. It won’t work with just anyone. You can make a relationship work for a while with two out of the three connections: emotional, physical and intellectual. But after a while you’ll need all three.
  7. When I called my mother and told her I’d got married, the first thing she asked me was whether he’s a nice man. Kindness is underrated.
  8. Luck is real and you can’t control it. But to put yourself forward and grab hold of opportunities, that bit’s down to you.
  9. The body speaks a lot louder now. It doesn’t just do my bidding anymore, but it needs stretching not to get backaches and it can’t deal with too many crisps or it gets fat. I’m getting over this.
  10. Drinking has become a high stakes game though. I used to be able to shake it off when I was younger but these hangovers are getting vicious. Now, anything beyond three drinks on a weeknight is the edge of recklessness.
  11. But sometimes, a proper piss-up is like nectar for the soul. As long as you remember to stock the fridge with proper hangover food well in advance, mind.
  12. The upside to all this body change is that sex has never been better.
  13. People who tell you not to place so much emphasis on sex in a relationship are idiots. If you are unhappy with the sex it will destroy everything else.
  14. “You are no stupider than anyone else. In fact you are probably smarter. So if all those other hacks can do this, then so can you.” I tell myself this when I wobble.
  15. All that stuff they say about flossing—turns out that was all true. It means less dentistry though, which is a miracle, as my teeth seem to be made of chalk. Maybe this even means I will get to keep them when I am old?
  16. While there’s a time to say yes to drugs, like that half Valium before going to the dentist, there’s also a time to say no. I was never particularly into drugs, but that shit’s unpredictable and I like reality a lot now, so I’m done.
  17. Being an introvert is a lot easier if you know that’s what you are. I can’t change the fact that I’m exhausted after social events, but I can build the necessary alone time into my schedule.
  18. Bad things will happen to land you in hospital in panic and desperation, or breathless on the phone while waiting for test results. I’m getting better at expecting it to be ok, even in the moment. Like when I dislocated my jaw and sat there, enduring one of the most horrible things that have ever happened to me, and remembered that scene in ‘The Sweetest Thing’ where Selma Blair gets a guy’s genital piercing stuck behind her tonsils.
  19. I have a lot more faith that things will work out now. Maybe that’s experience, because things do tend to work out. But I am also starting to understand there’s no guarantee we get the time we’re supposed to get. Like when an old friend’s new girlfriend had a stroke while they were walking down the street, and she died. She was the same age as me. So yes, let’s get on with the stuff we really want to do.
  20. And smoking really is stupid. Every now and again I have a fag and yeah, still stupid.
  21. Being raised by parents who taught me to value myself has been priceless.
  22. But becoming an adult doesn’t necessarily mean your family will treat you like one. But instead of falling into the teenage role they assign me, I can try and be myself. I’m still working on this.
  23. My girlfriends save me, all the time.
  24. People are motivated by different things, so I try and take this into account when I’m asked for advice. What makes me happy is not necessarily what’s best for others. I hate it when people tell me what to do, so I try not to judge. Live and let live.
  25. Ask for what you want, not just what you think you can get. Maybe this is a girl thing, but I spent so long waiting for the things I wanted to be given to me. But what we deserve has nothing to do with what we get.
  26. Becoming a freelancer has spoiled me for life, I think. I love it so much. Even when I don’t, I love it. Hand and glove, bird and feather.
  27. When I get up in the morning I make a big coffee and a bowl of porridge. Then I read articles on the internet for 90 minutes before doing anything else and it is an exquisite pleasure.
  28. I haven’t worn a bra in six years. If Kate Moss can work it then so can I.
  29. Going travelling alone is brilliant. To wake up in the morning and just do whatever I want. To see what I am when there’s no one around, not even my own city.
  30. “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Picasso said this. Every single thing I’ve ever read about the secrets of success point to working really bloody hard. I’m trying to remember this.
  31. All that stuff they said about giving up wheat—turns out that was all true too.
  32. The hardest thing I ever did was to figure out how to be happy. I say this not as some chipper fool, but with the painful awareness of what it’s like not to be.
  33. I’m having so much fun here. Most of the time it’s not an emotional crisis, I’m just hungry. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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