This post is going to be a little bit of a double header. Whilst this will be encompassing August and September, it is also going to be my last post as a 20-something-year-old, as tomorrow I will turn 30. It’s the end of an era, but not the end of this blog. I will continue as I have done with (mostly) monthly personal updates, however a disclaimer will appear once I embark on my fourth decade on this planet so as to not mislead anyone new coming here.
It is a weird feeling being on the verge of turning 30. Maybe it’s being a student at university or maybe it’s something to do with how I feel in myself, but I don’t feel like I am 30. On one hand, friends I’ve grown up with back home are getting married, having children and settling down. On the other hand, internally I still feel like I’m in my early 20s, especially so being away from the city I grew up in and having this educational experience at university. I think some of my feelings originate in a large period of my 20s that felt like they were mired in personal conflict and a search for meaning and purpose. There was nothing really for me to cling on to that said “this is where I grew up”, like for so many people who go to university or move out of home and in with friends.
I think the only markers I’ve kind of had have been in long-term relationships. I have been fortunate to have 3 of these over the years, which had me envision a future with each of them, but of which never amounted to anything more than just relationships that just weren’t meant to be. The last relationship I’ve spoken about more in depth over the past few years as it was the only one that crossed over with this blog and our time together as a couple, albeit a controversial one. Sadly this relationship, whilst over, is still a dominant part of my life – and it is one that I still feel drawn back to. This brings me back to growing older and being a student. As much as I’d like to move on and meet other people and have new relationships, I find that I am constantly reminded that I have a level of maturity that isn’t the same as the 18 – 20-something-year-olds at university. Which really sucks, as even my social circle in and around university, and at work, comprises of people aged 18 to early 20-something.
What has really started to suck lately is my only ‘in’ for socialising has been drinking with others, something that has been curtailed this summer by the long periods spent alone in the house I’m sharing with little to no interaction with people due to everyone being back at home. Outside of my housemates I know very few people in this town, and in fact know nobody that is not a student here, let alone anyone closer to my age. So the summer spent alone without drinking has oddly driven me away from socialising in an alcohol environment. In the past few weeks with the housemates returning I’ve attempted to drink with them on several occasions, but I just find that I’m not really interested in the booze. It has stopped appealing to me entirely.
An example of this occurred a few nights ago where I went to another friend’s house for a small party that involved drinking games. Bearing in mind I had work the next day, I still came and tried to participate, drank a decent quantity, but I just didn’t truly feel as though I was engaging that well with the energy in the room. This scares me, not because I don’t feel like drinking anymore, but because I feel like I don’t know how to talk to people anymore. I don’t know how to ‘be’ around people any more. I thought I had regained my mojo in that regard when I came to university, but now I feel like this could isolate me not just from the world, but the small circle of friends that I have here too. It scares me more-so as I rapidly approach 30 and begin to feel as though I’m becoming a grumpy old man, which also circles back around to friends from back home who are my age getting married, settling down, and having kids.
Am I too old for this?
I think that is what is scaring me with my birthday just around the corner; I’m wondering just exactly what it is that I’ve accomplished with the 30 years of life I have had, and whether what I’m doing now is going to be worth it all in the end.
Looking back on the last few years I should really argue that yeah, it has all been worthwhile. I’ve accomplished my goal of moving out of home, I’ve moved to another city, and I am studying something that I love, whilst I am also working part-time in a retail position, that is a job that I’ve enjoyed more on the whole than any other job I’ve had outside of roles in media. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling so empty and full of self-doubt.
As a side note here I actually began writing this post in the middle of September, but had to let it stew a little. I realised that I’m actually feeling very low lately and feeling very lonely. It is the worst type of loneliness when you are surrounded by people and still feel as though you live in the wilderness.
In the past few weeks between writing I’ve started classes and have been getting things organised. I’ve been suffering for several months now with a cough that won’t go away as well as crippling nerve pain in my left leg. The pain can only be described as like my left thigh is on fire and is being cooked. There’s not a lot that can be done about it except wait for it to ease by itself. The cough is also undiagnosable, having had x-rays, blood tests, and tests for lung function. The only thing left to do now is to stop smoking. I’m not a heavy smoker; I maybe smoke up to 10 a day and have done so for around 12 years, but perhaps that is good enough a reason to quit. As I type this now I am periodically breaking out into coughing fits. Loneliness + low mood + nerve pain + bastard cough of doom = a very depressed 20-something.
So I’ve spent the last few weeks planning for my future a little. I decided that I’m going to quit smoking after my friend’s stag do in Manchester next weekend. I’ve been trying to buy more healthy food (i.e. fruit and veg) to try to help alleviate some of my symptoms, both physically and psychologically, and cut out the crap fatty/greasy foods. Finally, I’ve also decided I’m going to quit drinking after the stag do as well. I mean, I know I’ve said this before, but I actually feel less attached to alcohol now than I have previously ever been. I’m also away from friends who have influenced me in the past to drink. My friends/housemates here don’t exert that kind of influence. I think if ever there was a time I’d be able to become a teetotaller it would be here and now. I actually want this and have no attachment to alcohol. It’s going to be difficult finding a way to socialise without alcohol, but I’m already finding it difficult to socialise with alcohol so why the fuck not make a go of it, ey?
If I’m now, potentially, a third of the way through my life and this is the only body I have, one that comes with an incredible amount of faults, then perhaps I should do more to ensure it lasts a lifetime. This weirdly excites me, if only to see how much my body begins to feel better over the coming months. My hope is that come the New Year I’ll be feeling much better in myself, both physically and mentally.
Much Love ❤