There are 60 seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours in a day. The time it takes for the earth to rotate 360 degrees on its axis. There are 365 days in a year, or 366 if it’s a leap year. The time it takes for the earth to orbit around the sun. Once a year, it reaches the date of the day we were born, and we add a year to our age. We label ourselves by our years. We set ourselves deadlines; of what we want to achieve, and how old we want to be when we achieve it. But life doesn’t care about our deadlines.
When I was 9, I decided I would get married by 26. By the time I reached my mid-teens, my luck with men was so bad that I resigned myself to the fact that I would never get married, and decided I’d be happy for just a boyfriend. At 18, I decided I didn’t believe in marriage, but was distraught that I hadn’t had a boyfriend yet. Because, well, that’s supposed to happen before you reach adulthood. At 20, I finally got a boyfriend, but he 180ed less than 2 weeks in. At 21, my grandfather changed my mind on marriage. At 22, I read on a “red pill” blog that women are past it by 25, so I made it my mission to find a husband before hitting quarter of a century. I tried just about every site and app out there, but I didn’t make it past a second date. Perhaps sometimes, you end up finding what you’re not looking for. Life doesn’t care about our deadlines, and when it comes to love, I’ve learned you can’t set a time limit.
At 15, my group of friends turned on me and I had to move schools. At 18, no-one in my university halls wanted to share a house with me in second year, so I ended up in a house with a group of girls who hated me. At 20, I paid for a holiday for my best friend and I on my card, and we ended up falling out because she didn’t have the money to pay me back. Another best friend faded out the minute she got a boyfriend. At 25, I met a girl on Bumble BFF. On our third meeting, we got the train home together and I realised I’d met a fellow traveller. I’d resigned myself to solo travel after the number of friends who’d screwed me over on group vacations, but we went to Prague this spring and it was fabulous. At 26, I went for dinner with a blogger I’d met on Twitter. Halfway through our first meeting, I decided she was one of my best friends. Sometimes, it takes a while to find your people.
I spent 13 years in school, in total. 3 months before A-levels, I stopped socialising to revise. I spent 3 years at university. After I returned from gap year travels, it took me 1 and a half years to find a graduate job. I had various jobs that didn’t work out, but I got better at screening out the dodgy ones at interview stage. I have been in my current job for 10 months, and it’s going well so far. I recently discovered a letter from school, back from when I was 15. I’d said I wanted to work in fashion or advertising, they said I needed to find some more realistic aspirations. In my current role, I do digital marketing for a fashion company. Close enough.
At 15, I had a Xanga blog where I posted rants to vent my frustration with the people who insulted my looks. At 22, I had a WordPress blog where I wrote about dates I went on, travel, and my life in general. At 23, I started a lifestyle blog that I hoped would become my side-hustle. At 25, I realised dating was my passion, and Alice in Wonderlust was born. Last year, I spent more money than I made, and my pageviews remained static. You win some, you lose some. Last weekend, the Sunday Times ran a feature about how millennials are having less sex than previous generations, and 1 in 8 26 year olds are still virgins. Via an article I wrote for free a year ago, I’ve since appeared on the front page of the Telegraph, been interviewed on 3 radio shows, and I’m appearing on This Morning tomorrow. You win some, you lose some.
Today marks the day that the earth has circled the sun exactly 27 times since the day I was born. I have been alive for 9,861 days, 236,664 hours, 14,199,840 minutes, 851,990,400 seconds. There are things that I thought I would have acheived by now, that haven’t happened, yet as of late I’ve had some unexpected success. Life doesn’t care about your plan. You just have to play the hand you’re given.