‘You’re 25’, they ask, incredulous.
‘Yes’ I respond, pulling out a Werther’s Original from my pocket, licking my lips, ‘so you were born in the twentieth century?’, they probed further. A glint of nostalgia flickered across my eyes, ‘Yes indeed, 1996 was the year, twas a simpler time, the Spice girls were just taking off, Dolly the Sheep had recently been cloned and it was Mad Cow disease that was doing the rounds in England, yes simpler times’. My Gen-Z flatmates crowded round, eager for my knowledge, hanging on my every word as I worked on my boiled caramel candy.
I may be a mature student, but I put my teeth in the same way everybody else does and having returned to university after two years of living a high-flying lifestyle as a stay-at-home daughter during a plague, my return to education was an adjustment. Whilst 25 doesn’t appear that old, remember the X-Factor once had a specific category for the over- 25s, aptly titled the overs, albeit whether I’m over the hill or under it I am yet to decide. My main discrepancy within this article is the blatant mockery towards me by these ageist whippersnappers. I want to go on record and state that once you surpass 21, you’re not snatched by a hoard of demonic cloaked figures and escorted to the near-death star, nor do you suddenly turn into dust to be consumed by a wandering Roomba… whatever that is.
What does happen once you pass 21 is you’re swiftly yeeted into adulthood and instead of confronting Thanos, having finally called you out on the liver damage you sustained during those heavy nights out, you’re confronted with yourself and who you’re going to be. It sounds corny but put that phone down for one damn minute and listen up, in my old age I do have wisdom to impart and can truly say that growing older isn’t a curse, isn’t a burden, isn’t something to fear, it is exciting. Bar the climate emergency, the threat of war in Ukraine and Covid changing suits once again… we might not have very long left, however there is still the opportunity to grow into yourself whilst you can. Life is like any motorised vehicle, when you first begin driving it’s scary, you make a shit load of mistake, you’re overturned in a ditch a fair few times and you have to follow others just to make sure you’re driving in the correct lane.
However, with time comes experience, young grasshopper, knowledge of what you like, what you don’t, you define your tastes, you might upgrade, change your style and you might even start enjoying yourself. The possibilities are endless and getting older is not synonymous with being useless nor should it come with guilt that you’re a failure. It’s bloody fantastic to grow into your individuality, to build your integrity and raise your standards, cause boy were mine low in my youth. There is so much to look forward and if you can give your attention to anything, give it to yourself, because one day you’ll have to confront the dreams of your younger self whilst in your Metaverse care home and you’ll most likely have to explain why you compromised them. Trust me, there is so much good to come, enjoy the growth and for goodness’s sake, put a coat on it’s freezing out.