Monday 23 October 2023

Me at 24

As I child, I would have thought that I’d have my life much more together aged 24 than is my reality. Don’t get me wrong, I think that kid would still be really proud of who am now and maybe slightly in awe of my life now. I mean, I get paid to write about things I care about and live with a cat – what could be better than that?! 

24-year-old me is tired. I did just finish my Master’s, so I have good reason to be. I think everyone I know is exhausted at the moment. The state of the world has been a lot (understatement of the year) and has been grinding us down slowly. I’ve been trying to prioritise rest after handing in my dissertation, but that’s easier said than done. Capitalism also has a handy habit of making us feel incredibly guilty about resting and not working constantly. That’s super fun, thanks to whoever came up with that system! In such a system, actually resting becomes an act of resistance. And we can do our best to prevent harm to ourselves by reminding each other of that.


I finished my Master’s on 1st September, meaning that, at the time of writing, I have been uni-free for 7 weeks. It’s still early days and I’m trying to relax into some kind of routine. At the moment, that’s a lot of figuring out an organising system for my new flat (more on that in a bit), trying to figure out how I can survive (i.e. earn money to pay my bills and rent) while doing want I want and care about (i.e. campaigning, educating, writing). I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how I want to expand and continue my freelance work – whether that’s journalism, campaign projects, workshops, social media, research or other community engagement. I have so many ideas for things I want to do and be a part of, but I know a lot of them take time and slow work to achieve. I’ve got time and am not rushing anything, and staying at my hospitality job post-Master’s is definitely keeping some sense of continuity in a very disjointed time. 


I moved house just after submitting my diss. This involved very stressful few days of frenzied packing, sorting, redistributing and cleaning before I moved into my flat. This has been the first time I’ve lived somewhere that came fully unfurnished. Although buying a fair chunk of furniture and appliances is expensive, I had a lot of fun finding cute and cheap secondhand items. There are still a couple of non-essentials on my list (mostly more shelving. I have a lot of books…), but the flat has come together really well. My flatmate and I (and our cat Mayonnaise!) have made it such a cosy space. 


At 24, I feel much more secure and comfort in myself. In my values, my friends, my knowledge, my sexuality, my skills, even my fashion sense. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an incredibly anxious bean (I have spent almost all of being 23 monitoring the regrowth of a chunk of my hair after I pulled it out as a result of my trichotillomania) and I get panicky, uncertain and paranoid on a regular basis. But I’m now much more aware of my brain and how it behaves and (some of the time) when it’s lying to me. 


I’m still religiously watching Strictly after nearly two decades of fandom, but I’m also bawling at the Ghosts Christmas specials and getting inspired by Alaska Daily. Quiz shows like House of Games and The Wheel are my go-to happy shows. I read books that inspired me, informed how I think and make me reassess the world around me. I also read books that are silly, frivolous, entertaining and have very little impact on my behaviour. Some of these books may be shit but they give me comfort, provide fun, laughter and escapism. And boy do I love them for that!


I feel incredibly lucky to have the pals that I do, even if I don’t see most of them as often as I would like. So many people from so many different areas of my life give me such joy and hope in people. Because if there’s one thing I believe in, it’s people. I feel like I have a genuine support network around me, and I’m so grateful for that. There’s nothing like feeling genuinely safe with the people around you. 


I may be tired, but this newly-24-year-old is excited about the future and what it will bring. More cats and more books I say! 

If you liked this post you might like: Me at 23

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