It’s OK if your 20s haven’t gone to plan
kid

So young. So full of hope.

Being 26 is a curious thing. And by curious, I mean bewildering, soul-destroying and occasionally absolutely terrifying. It’s a ‘nothing’ age. You’re neither young nor old. You’re like an awkward fringe you can’t quite grow out.

When I was younger, I thought that people in their twenties were adults, they had their shit together, they were O-L-D. But now I realise that they weren’t old at all. They were like me. A child trapped in an adult’s body, squeaking desperately for someone to come and rescue them.

Over time, I have learnt that life isn’t like one of those Goosebumps books where you can sneakily flick to the alternative endings and pick the one where you don’t get eaten by a mutant sponge. It’s scary and unpredictable, and you just have to roll with it.

So here is a list of 7 things I thought I would have going for me in my mid-20s that I seriously, seriously don’t:

1.I thought I would be married with at least one kid by now.

I used to think that people who were still single in their late twenties had some kind of icky, gross malady that prevented suitors from wanting to put a ring on it. But sometimes relationships just don’t pan out the way you hope they will. And sometimes it’s for the best. Plus I am definitely not ready for offspring. I had to hold a baby at a wedding last month and I hated every second of it.  Between trying to look maternal, all I could think was ‘why won’t it blink?’ and ‘why does it not cry when people pick it up by its armpits when I cry if I catch my bingo wing on a door frame?’

2. I thought I would be a sex goddess by now.

I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing. It’s like trying to assemble an IKEA wardrobe. WHERE DOES THIS BIT GO? WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS WEIRD LITTLE LEFTOVER THING?! My predicament is not helped by frantically reading bizarre sex tips in women’s magazines. Instead, I am left with further performance anxiety after discovering that I can’t quite pull off rubbing cocoa beans over my lover’s scrotum while in the Grab Your Coat You’ve Pulled a Cheeky Flamenco position.

3. I thought I would understand bills and general life crap by now.

I do not understand bills and general life crap.

4. I thought I would be a stunnah by now.

The one thing I clung to when I was a teenager and my hair was greasy and I had no boobs and developed a moustache was that one day I would be peng. One day, puberty would wave her magic wand, release me from this sarcophagus of 4-out-of-10-ness and rebirth me as a beautiful butterfly. But if anything, I am grosser now than ever. I have fat in places I didn’t even know you could have fat. I am spottier. I am hairier. I am scalier. I am basically turning into an armadillo.

5. I thought I would be on the property ladder by now. 

One of the many perks of being a journalist is that I earn way below the average graduate salary. Like if the graduate salary was a bus, I would be running after it panting. If the graduate salary was Leonardo DiCaprio, I would be being restrained by a security guard after trying to stroke its face. If the graduate salary was a Snitch, I would be chasing it on a mop. So unless I immediately marry a Russian oil tycoon, I shan’t be owning my own house anytime soon.

6. I thought I would stop getting ID’d by now.

When I got the A Level results I needed to get into university but couldn’t celebrate with my two friends at Ko-Ko’s in Rochdale town centre because I didn’t have ID and had the face of a Cabbage Patch Kid, I was fuming. “You will pay for this,” I vowed, as thunderstorms cracked in the midnight sky. I considered writing to Parliament. I considered a dirty protest. I considered launching my own charity to help other victims. But now, it’s the opposite. As I inch closer to 30, looking young is a compliment. In fact, I am offended if people don’t ID me. “Wait, don’t you want to verify my age?” I want to cry indignantly. “Don’t you think I’m too young-looking to be purchasing this alcoholic beverage?” I reach into my bag. “I have ID. Check my ID. Please,” I beg, before slamming my driving licence, passport, birth certificate and 22-week ultrasound scan onto the counter.

7. I thought I would have outgrown my ‘awkward phase’ by now.

Chink chink. The sound of glass tinkling, a champagne cork popping. Laughter. Schmoozing. Another glamorous cocktail party organised by yours truly. So, this one didn’t pan out. Mainly because I don’t live in the 1980s, but also because I am still super awkward.

11 thoughts I have while stalking other girls on Instagram

I am a grown-ass woman. I have a job, car, degree and next year I will be enrolled in my company’s pension scheme *shudder*. But I still spend far more of my time than I should allowing myself to be made to feel rubbish by social media.

For someone who spends around 80% of their non-work life in their pyjamas watching Netflix or reading crime thrillers, it can be exhausting to be constantly bombarded with images of perfectly-contoured size-6 girls sipping on cocktails, munching delicately on avocado on toast or working out at the gym in less clothing than I’d have a bath in.

I don’t think I’m alone, so I have compiled a list of what I REALLY think when I’m stalking other girls on Instagram:

  1. Why am I so much grosser than literally 100% of the girls on here? Where are their spots, their rogue belly hair, their cankles, the tuft at the back of their head that sticks up like a troll and will not succumb to gel nor spray of any description? Why are they so smooth? Do I have a condition? Should I book an appointment with my GP? Am I dying? Should I write a will?
  2. How do people have enough friends so that one can snap a quirky Instagram pic and there are still at least two people left in the picture?
  3. How do these bitches pay their rent AND buy all of these cute outfits and luxury makeup products?
  4. Are they actually leasing out the most flattering rays of the Sun? Because I definitely don’t have that glow in any of the 49 pictures I have taken whilst staring directly, eye-wateringly, into the light through my window in an attempt to get a half-decent Facebook profile pic.
  5. I wish my favourite food was more attractive than sausages, mashed potato and beans so I could take cute #InstaFood snaps too.
  6. Why do they get all this free stuff? Should I just pack it all in and become a beauty blogger? How hard can it be to write seven paragraphs about a tube of lipstick? Ah, actually, okay. Fair play.
  7. Why can they pose like that looking all sexy and fine when I would just look abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous?
  8. Why are all their rooms and furniture white? Do they all live in the same asylum? Where are their empty crisp packets, their bedding that should have been washed 10 days ago, their empty contact lens packets, their SOUL.
  9. I wonder how freaked out they would be to know that someone they have never met and have no idea exists has spent so long scrolling back through all of their pictures. Please don’t ever disclose page stats, Instagram. Pls.
  10. Good Lord, do this girl’s parents know what kind of smut she is posting on the interweb? I have a good mind to…wait this girl is 15? Have I just looked at a 15-year-old girl’s boobs? Oh, God, now I’ve panicked and ‘Hearted’ it by accident. I’ve Hearted a 15-year-old girl’s boobs. I’m being tracked by the FBI as we speak. I won’t hack it in prison.
  11. Why do their cats pose nicely and mine won’t even look at the camera. God damn it, Milly, all I have ever done is love you and feed you tuna.