I turned 29 this week. The very last year of my “roaring” twenties before I move into the so-called dirty thirties.
It’s been a good decade. I was lucky enough to study a bachelors in arts, a degree that cracks your brain open like an egg and lets all the junk and indoctronation ooze out. I had long conversations over cheap wine about literature, feminism and music, considering myself very wise indeed.
When you leave university it’s quite a shock to the system. I entered my first job as an eager if slightly arrogant intern at a magazine, and quickly learned the value of a notebook, frantically scribbling down frases like “gutter”, “DPS” and “deep-etched” to Google on return to my desk.
It was a wild stage of my life where I was constantly out of my comfort zone, always learing on the job in sink or swim scenarios. And I survived. Every time I pushed past my breaking point (wiping away many, many tears) I grew stronger and more confident.
I also found this to be a time of un-learning. I had to unlearn some of my ignorant and arrogant opinions and learn to listen to those who knew more than I did. You walk out of university thinking you know about life, but in reality it is a fairly cushioned environment where lecuters nurture you and tap you on the back. The worst that can happen here is a bad grade.
When you walk into a job, nobody is there to give you a golden star. You’re expected to do the work assigned to you. If your do it well, you might get a nod. If you do it poorly, you are expected to fix your mistakes, even if that means sitting there till 10pm in order to meet a deadline. If a typo or incorrect product price goes into print, you have no do-overs. And when the shit hits the fan, it is real smelly.
When I started my blog I entered a whole new level of self-discovery. Working for yourself is tough! You have to motivate yourself, ecourage yourself, review the work you do, judge it fairly but not too harshly, and give yourself a thumbs up at the end of the day. Building this business has been one of the hardest challenges in my life so far.
The biggest lesson I learned (and I really only learned it last year) was accepting myself, my creative vision, my style, my opinions, my choices, without comparing myself to others.
In this industry and in my business, there is always the temptation to look at the way someone else dresses or styles their Instagram feed, how many likes and followers they have, how successful (or perhaps unsuccessful) they are, and measuring yourself to that. It’s incredibly toxic and self-sabotaging, and it took me nearly a year to shake this habit.
Today I feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever before. I wear clothes that make me feel good and express my personality, instead of what “trends” dictate. I have a clearer vision of the type of person I want to be, how I want to nurture my body, and who I want to spend time with.
My twenties were fun, and I learned a lot, but I don’t want to go back to those learning curves, and I don’t want to stay stationary.
In the beauty industry the word “anti-aging” gets thrown around a lot. I’m not too fond of the term. Why are we anti (or against) aging? Why this fear of growing older? Instead I believe in staying healthy and taking care of your body, so that we can make the most of life at evey stage.
I am pretty excited to be 29. Here’s to the end of a crazy, tumultuous decade, and what will probably be an equally frantic one ahead.