10 REASONS IT'S GREAT TO BE CLOSER TO 30 THAN 20
- Going clubbing is no longer something you are expected to do
So very much of my youth was spent enthusiastically donning teeny weenie dresses and checking I had cab fare and planning what to do when the friend who vomits and cries whenever you get drunk does the inevitable. Hell, I was even the Social Secretary of my Drama Society for a year. And I'd always be eyeing up my bed, thinking 'If only I could stay in and eat Thai food whilst watching episodes of Buffy instead'. But I'd shove my thoughts to the back of my head, because I WAS YOUNG. And young people must go and live and dance and get drunk and do all of the silly things! Now don't get me wrong-I loved going out with my friends. I still do! But clubbing is something I rarely feel the need to indulge in. You can't hear your friends, a sweaty dude in a bad suit grinds up against you and by the end of the night you've spent more than you would have on this month's council tax bill. And because you're a bit older, hangovers are SO MUCH WORSE. Now that you're closer to 30, you can leave all that nonsense to the young uns and go sit in a pub or in a nice cocktail lounge. You can dance at the inevitable million weddings you'll be invited to and no one will judge you for not knowing the moves to the latest X-factor winner's song. Or you can stay at home and not wear any make up at all whilst you watch Saturday Night Live and eat Boursin out of the foil.
2. You don't have to follow anyone else's rules
You know when you're 20? And you're living with your parents and they say 'Wash up your dishes before you've eaten' and you say 'But then my food will get cold!' and they tell you that you are living in their house so must abide by their rules? Or when you get a 'wake up call' from your mum at 8am on a Saturday? Or when you don't do something because you think people wouldn't approve and you worry what they'd think of you? When you get a bit older, you just think 'Sod it' and do whatever you want to do. Like staying in bed till 3 on a weekend watching American true crime shows or wearing a boob-tastic dress. (Living away from your parents helps a great deal with this). You just sort of stop giving a damn.
3. You get taken more seriously
You know what's really strange? When I was 21 and had just come out of University, people would ask me what I wanted to do as a career. I'd say 'Act' and they'd laugh at me. Now, people ask me what I do, and I say 'Act' and they get all impressed and ask lots of questions. And they listen to what I have to say like I'm actually an expert on the subject. Younger people ask you for advice. Elderly people don't think you're a threat to society. It's all rather nice.
4. You have way more confidence
At 18 I was a size 8 with E cup boobs and hair halfway down my back. And I have never been so lacking in confidence. I was convinced that I was King Kong ugly and had an abnormal body compared to everyone else. And I did not know how to talk to boys in any way that wasn't jokingly insulting them or stammering a great deal. Now, I don't even care. I am fatter. I have more wrinkles. I have cellulite and some seriously cray bags under my eyes. But if I fancy someone I can flirt my bum off. And when I feel good, I STRUT. Because it is only going to get worse from here on out. Also, I increasingly realise that beauty and sexiness isn't about being tiny and perfect, it's about loving yourself and allowing others to love you. Fo sho. Sure I still have ugly days, where I try and avoid anyone seeing me but my wonderful housemate (who would love me even if I shaved my head and tattooed my face with the lyrics to The Ketchup Song) but most of the time I just don't care. It's more fun to like yourself and assume others do too and work it. Baybeee. (on a side note, if you need to feel sexy, pretend you're on set and someone is filming you for an underwear advert and yelling out 'work it! Move that thang! Shake what ya mama gave ya!' It may not make you feel like Kate Moss, but it is much fun.)
5. You understand that food is freakin' good, and most of your social events now revolve around it
'Shall we go for drinks?' 'NO let's go for cake!' You realise that you're attracted to men based on how much you can eat in front of them without them judging you. I realised how much I liked the guy I'm dating when he was IMPRESSED when I ordered two kinds of carbs to go with my pulled pork. A number of my friends are currently on bridal diets and this means that I am often the only one at the table with food that is not green and leafy. I care not for this. When people come to my flat, they know that they will be fed. Sometimes they even leave with packed lunches. When people don't offer me snacks when I visit, I tend to be shocked and appalled (although, let's face it, this could be down to the Irish heritage and our obsession with food based hospitality)
6. You can still do something wild and not have it be attributed to a midlife crisis or young person hi-jinks
Want to go work in another country for a year? Do it. New tattoo? Fab. Making out with someone entirely inappropriate? You go, you wild thang. Re-building a car? Go Greased Lightning.
7. You can spend your money how you want to
I spend mine on cheese. And 50's dresses. And 2nd hand books. BECAUSE I CAN.
8. You know how to get crap done
You know what I did this year that I'm really proud of? I changed the light pull in my bathroom because the old one was grubby. You know what I would have done when I was younger? Let that thing rot off its string. I wash out my kitchen bin every fortnight and I empty my hoover when it stops working as well. I renew my Spotlight membership ahead of time and I've even planned what my next tattoo is. Procrastination? SUCK IT. I do stuff now that I didn't even know had to be done when I was younger. Like council tax. And making a file for my household forms. BOOM. Which means there are less nasty surprises. And when you're an actor/writer and earn very little, that makes life a lot easier!
9. You don't have to follow fashion anymore
Let's be honest-I've never really been a fashionista. I know what suits me, and that's well structured dresses and vintage prints. Jeans don't look wonderful on me, tulip skirts are my idea of hell and you can keep anything neon or acid coloured far from my eyeline. When I was younger I would try my hardest to do the whole fashion thing, but now I just buy things I actually like. Which means I have bypassed the whole pink coat thing that was so big this year (reminds me of my nan) and laugh gaily as I pass dungerees on the rack at H&M (I had a pair when I was 15 which I wore to V fest with a red bikini and Doc Martins. Never again.) Saying that, apparently frumpy, comfy clothes are coming back in fashion. In this case I may well become an avid follower of the catwalk. Pass me the slanket and my knee high socks. I am ON IT.
10. Dating is really great. No, but seriously.
I love dating. Dating when I was younger meant either awkwardly going to the cinema and avoiding eye contact (age 17) or going over to their house to make out under the pretense of watching films (age 18-22). The second one still happens, but dating when you're closer to thirty seems to be way more-for want of a better word-datey. I've been taken to swanky cocktail bars, to hip eateries, to concerts and recently bowling and on a ghost tour of London (SO AWESOME). You actually go on proper dates! And if you choose to go home with your date, or invite them back, no one judges you! Recently a 27 year old friend called me and told me about her amazement when she went on a date with a 23 year old and he not only hadn't planned anything for the date but then also said she couldn't stay over because 'it would be awkward with his housemates in the morning.' Erm...what? The nice thing about dating later in your 20's is that not only are the dates more fun, because you both have slightly more money and can therefore afford to do exciting things, but you are also more honest. None of this pretending you're just mates till you have a snog nonsense. Also, you still get to talk to your mates about it afterwards and giggle like teenagers. Only this time, you do it over mimosas in a swanky bar. AWESOME.
So yeah. Don't worry about getting older Reader. It's pretty darn groovy.