“What have you done this year?” A simple question my sister asked sitting opposite me at the restaurant. We chose Farmacy for my birthday meal – my first vegan dining experience – a lovely establishment where food balances health and cocktails arrive in rainbow colours. Why is such a simple question so gut-wrenching to answer?
Did I need to prove to her my year was meaningful, or myself? My career has developed and led me to meet a host of interesting people. I’ve conducted one-on-one article interviews; I’ve adapted my writing style. I bought my first DSLR camera; spent more time alone in public, read my poetry out loud to a group. My body has become more toned – first time since a teenager I’m able to wear a UK size 6.
These things sound good, but I can’t articulate the scale of happiness obtained from each point. Straight after my 26th, I visited Barcelona, landed a new job and re-acquainted with my ex. The birthday post I wrote on my life lessons reflects the contentment I was finding. Something troubling me now – how reachable have my expectations become?
I’m looking to tick off the big things, the I’ve published a poetry book, learnt to speak Spanish, moved abroad for a few months and ran a marathon. Bucket list worthy items which infuse growth and deep soul searching. Technically I know I could do these things – I could plan it all and work my way through. There’s a disappointment festering that my 26th year didn’t accomplish such heights.
Early birthday celebrating
On Saturday, me and my sister ate at Farmacy and then travelled round London looking for lively atmospheres. As a last-minute planner, we ended up over walking and unsure of where to book. The simple solution was a fancy, special occasion moment – drinks at The Savoy. Because of my last writing job, I’ve spent time at upscale London hotels and had a tour at Annabel’s, yet never The Savoy.
As expected, beautifully elegant interior in a room with a talented man singing and playing the piano. We were the only non-couple sitting. The free snacks (olives, nuts and crisps) tasted better than usual but the drinks didn’t reach expectation. Compared to the other places where cocktails were half the price, the drinks we ordered lacked aesthetic and flavour. Perhaps too much alcohol for my liking – I guess that’s what some guests pay for.
No other table snapped photos of their drinks or looked in the mood to say cheese. Not a hotel to visit if you’re a blogger wanting to capture plenty of images (in my opinion). Sign me up for afternoon tea though because I’m positive that’s worth booking. We trusted Vogue’s recommendation for a cocktail bar in Notting Hill. Loved my drink – the only problem was trying to choose from an extensive menu. Overall, a fun way to celebrate.
Last years of my twenties
Last night (my actual birthday), me and my best friend managed to find a Latin bar and club which I believe was one of London’s sole night locations with a crowd on Monday. We then went to gay bar & club Ku Bar. I haven’t danced till 3am for such a long time – it brought me straight back to my early twenties. Apparently 27 isn’t the most desirable age; people tell me I look 22 in a complimentary tone. Then did I realise how many incredible little steps and lessons I’ve learnt. How different I looked and felt on my 22nd birthday. I have no inkling of wish to rewind the clock or go back in a time travel – maybe just to remove some awful eyebrow plucking.
Perhaps my 26th year was teaching me to count up the microscopic yet significant points. The little things everyone else doesn’t quite notice. It’s like with haircuts – you have to cut lots of inches for most to notice. Yet trims are still important. My 27th birthday felt good – now I’m two birthdays’ away from waving goodbye to twenty-something forever.
What lessons have you learnt from your previous age or current?