Saturday, 30 January 2016

Is Age Just a Number?

ADULT: "A person who is fully grown or developed" (Oxford English Dictionary)

On the 18th January 2016 I turned 20. By definition I was no longer a teenager, I was an adult, and according to the dictionary that meant someone who was just fully grown. So why, when we talk of adults do we talk of maturity, of people who are married, have kids and a professional career? Are we adults all the time? Why does one day make a difference to how I define myself, and what I should be doing with my life?

Before turning twenty, I had had all sorts of thoughts vying for attention in my mind. The fact my parents got married when they were 24. The fact that my Grandmother had gotten engaged at 20 and then proceeded to have two kids whilst still in her "twenties". The fact that I was now in the decade where I would be graduating, finding a job, and moving away from home. But the funny thing is, that on the 17th January 2016, I was still going to graduate within a year and a half. I was still going to have to figure out what I actually wanted to do for a career, and how to get it. Somehow though, I felt as if I could hide behind my categorisation as a teenage, when really, I'd been an adult, and for that matter a women, for some time now. I'd achieved things, reached certain milestones, and behaved in a certain way that would have defined me as an adult, so why was I so apprehensive about turning 20?

In todays society we are often defined by our age, or at least the decades we are living our lives in. There's the "thirty" age bracket, supposedly the prime of your life where you are finally realising and getting everything you ever wanted. Then there's the "sixty" age bracket, where in todays society that means you'll be starting to wind down, you'll have a list of achievements and moments, and an extended family to share with it. Your "teens" are defined as a period of discovery, raging hormones, and mistakes. But for me, all this is starting not to matter anymore.

My mother (whose age shall remain secret just incase she's reading this) still has her teenage, or somewhat childish moments. One time, when I was around 15, she'd done a food shop and bought all the food she'd been craving: tomato soup and ready salted crisps. She will still sometimes stuff her face with chocolate and Magnum ice creams until she feels sick. Yet, these are only small moments. She's still the professional career women and mum that her decade says she's supposed to be. She's the mature adult who keeps me level-headed and provides for us, the wife, and the lady who can give a killer stare when you're in trouble. Sometimes, though, just sometimes she's not just an adult, she's a teenager eating what she wants, a child eating too many sweet things, a girl in her twenties singing and dancing, and binge watching TV series. Then there's my Dad, business owner, provider, father and husband, everything his decade defines him as. Then there's the Dad I see flying his toy helicopter at your head, trying to throw peas in your drink, and hiding behind the door when you're coming down stairs, so when you open it, he'll pretend you've smacked it into him. Again, just like my Mum, a child, a teenager, and the decade which is supposed to define him.

I've come to realise, from my own experiences, and from watching people like my parents, that age is just a number. There are no defined categories. No milestones to reach by a certain age, no goals to achieve. I know people who are well into their twenties but by no means mature or adults. I know children and teenagers mature, wise, driven beyond there years, who seem to have been born 40 years old. Then there are people like my parents, mature and responsible and "adult" 90% of the time, until they let that 10% out. And, the thing is, I want to be just like them. I don't want to live by my age bracket, or feel pressured to. If I don't achieve everything I'm "supposed" to in my twenties, then I'll just do it in my thirties, or forties even. If I don't figure out my dream job till I'm 55 then at least I will have by then. Life is about living, about discovering. Sure, its great to have goals, ambitions and passion, but I don't want societies time schedule to dictate them. That's not to say that I'm planning on having a child now and finding true love and my dream job when I'm 45, nor does it mean I'm going to continue my hormonal teenage clubbing phase well into my sixties (hopefully). I just don't want to feel the anxiety I felt about "leaving" my teenage years, when really, I'd left them years ago, and I'm still in them.

I want to be a child, a teenager, in my twenties, thirties, and "adult" years now. Life is whatever you want to be, and it might sound greedy, but I want it all at once, and I'm not going to let my age stop, nor define me.

Image Source: here

Thursday, 28 January 2016

The New Uniform

OOTD, Barefoot Bravery, Fashion, Urban Outfitters
OOTD, Barefoot Bravery, Fashion, Urban Outfitters
OOTD, Barefoot Bravery, Fashion, Urban Outfitters
OOTD, Barefoot Bravery, Fashion, Urban Outfitters
Watch: Cluse, Dress: Urban Outfitters, Shoes: Office, Top: ASOS (similar), Scarf: New Look (similar)
As I write this I am four weeks into my second term, of my second year of University, and there is a towering pile of books to the left of my monitor. Books for essays, books for extracurricular recordings, and books for Dissertation ideas. The speed at which my University life seems to be going (I mean I feel like I only just got here and they're asking for Dissertation ideas!), and the amount of work I have to do, and things I have taken on, has left me more than a little stressed. Finally, after a year and a half at University, my social life has started to pick up, I'm a writer for my award winning student newspaper, in a relationship, and volunteer at a school once a week. I finally feel like I'm achieving at least part of the University experience that everyone has been talking about.

With being prone to stress, and having been ill at the start of term , on top of all the things I'm striving to achieve, I feel like when it comes to dressing for the day, my wardrobe choices are falling short. There's nothing wrong with being comfy in jeans and a jumper, and for days in the library I couldn't think of anything better. There's also nothing wrong with on my days off spending the entire day in a fresh set of penguin pyjamas, if it was socially acceptable I would probably end up wearing them everywhere. But when it comes to days of lectures, meeting people for coffee, and generally running errands I feel like my wardrobe choices are falling short. I want to look confident, put together, and generally just feel good about my outfit choice. I've often found that the more effort I put into my outfit in the morning, the more productive I am, as I feel confident and composed to face the day. So that is why, in todays outfit post, I bring you my new lecture uniform.

The combination of pinafore, polo neck and boots, I feel is, makes for the perfect smart/casual attire. The slightly loose fit of the dress means that I'm still comfy whilst sat in my Dissertation Skills lecture. Furthermore, the length of the pinafore means that it's not constantly riding up when I power walk to Uni, nor when I plop down in my seat, breathless at my seminar. The faux fur scarf is guaranteed to keep me warm whilst out and about, but just as easy to take off when the inevitable sweaty mess that I am arrives on campus just in time. Finally, my new Cluse watch completes the look, how I lived this long without a watch nobody knows, but now I can't last a day without it.

Do you have a standard go to uniform when going to work/Uni? I'd love to know in the comments below.
OOTD, Urban Outfitters, Barefoot Bravery, Fashion
OOTD, Urban Outfitters, Barefoot Bravery, Fashion
OOTD, Urban Outfitters, Barefoot Bravery, Fashion
OOTD, Urban Outfitters, Barefoot Bravery, Fashion
OOTD, Urban Outfitters, Barefoot Bravery, Fashion

Thursday, 21 January 2016

#ileftmyheart in Berlin

It was the early hours of the morning. We had journeyed across the Netherlands at night, cramped into sliding compartments which doubled up as our sleeping quarters. When I stepped off the train onto the Berlin pavement, I was shoeless, it was around 5am in the morning, and as I turned around to see the train pull away, two of my travelling companions were leaving with it. Berlin had welcomed us, and not very kindly.

Despite all my feelings of exhaustion, my cold and dirty feet (the shock of two friends failing to get off at out stop had apparently left me with the inability to clothe myself), and the worrisome hours' wait at the station for my friends,  I felt a wave of excitement. Even though I was exhausted, I couldn't wait to go out (shoed of course) and explore a city I'd always longed to visit.

Trekking across Berlin at 6am, now with a complete set of travellers, I couldn't help but stare at a bustling city that was just waking up. The buildings on our way to the hostel may not have been the most architecturally spectacular, but they were part of the city's history. That is the main reason I love Berlin; it's a European city that has been through so much, and has a tangled and fascinating past. Berlin is a city of two halves, a city full of history, of troubles and triumphs, and a modern city, a city of the present, of combined cultures, of art, and jazz.

I loved spending my days exploring the Jewish Museum, its sharp edges and lofty vaults generating fear and wonder at the same time. Walking over the hundreds of metal faces, handcrafted by an artist to represent those who had suffered, everything silent bar the clatter of feet upon metal. The contrast of the eery lofty vaults inside the museum with the beautiful modern spaces crafted outside resonates the contrast of the city itself. A city that is not connected and bustling, but yet you can still walk past parts of the wall that split the city in two. Then there's the art, the art that livens up the city, but not only that, represents the fight and will of its people. The famous images of two men kissing, of the Israel and the German flags interlaid, and many other powerful slogans.

Then there are the people themselves, friendly and vibrant and full of life. Being there for the World Cup Final was truly an eye opener. It wasn't just a football match. People around you willingly talked to you, gave you directions and cheered along with you. They also had a great sense of humour. The stereotype of Germans as serious, rule loving people couldn't have been more wrong. We had Germans crack jokes with us, laugh with us, and even pick us up and twirl us round upon winning the World Cup. The sounds of horns honking down the entire street, hundreds of people clapping and cheering, and fireworks going off left right and centre showed me the exuberance of the people. Even for someone like me, a small, anxious and crowd fearing girl, I couldn't help but smile, and feel warm and happy and comforted by the vitality of the people around me. The city at night just came alive, and it made me feel alive too. Meeting a fellow traveller at 12 in the morning, an Irish man cloaked in a Welsh flag and asking what day it was cemented Berlin's other half, its exuberant and fun loving side.

Berlin is a huge and sprawling city, steeped in history, yet modern and fun, and full of so many cultures. From the Jewish Museum, to the World Cup Final, The Berlin Wall and Currywurst, I loved every part of Berlin I experienced. I would love one day to live in Berlin, to experience all the things it has to offer that I am yet to try, but for now, I will just have to settle for reading about it, and reminiscing.

Until next time, Berlin.

*This post was written as an entry to the #ileftmyheartin competition with Get Your Guide, which fellow bloggers can enter here. All views are my own, and I was in no way compensated for this post.
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