Saying goodbye to being 24

I can’t believe this is it. Even though it’s only been a year, it feels like I’ve been you my entire life. I feel nervous about telling people I’m 25. To writing it in bios and updating my blog description. I’ve grown comfortable with 24. No one’s expecting you to have changed the world by 24. But you can’t stop time, and my time with you has come to an end.

The day after I met you, 24, I went to Paris for a long weekend with my boyfriend. We tried to ride in one of Europe’s largest hot air balloons but the weather was always that little bit too windy. We also met a dog wearing a bandana and watched people dance beside the river. It was nice. I felt exciting, like my life had slipped into the score of a romantic instrumental, and you were suddenly a year full of possibilities.

In December I moved out of my dad’s house. I fell asleep the night before, watching a documentary about a nudist village while my stomach tied in knots. This was the room I’d grown up in and yet here it was, almost empty, with picture-less hooks poking out from the walls like skeleton joints and big brown boxes covering the carpet. Everything I’d known was becoming a ghost.

The following night my boyfriend and I visited a local Christmas market, buying a glittery pug tree topper and lots of cheese. We’d sat on the floor in our new flat drinking wine, listening to comedy podcasts and re-arranging furniture. It didn’t feel like a home yet, but it felt exciting. Things were going to be ok.

In February I went to a tattoo convention with my friend and got a tattoo on my inner right ankle. I hadn’t planned on getting anything; it was a completely spontaneous decision (and I’m never spontaneous, unless picking up a king-sized bar of Aero mint from the supermarket checkout counts). I walked around feeling pretty badass for the rest of the day (even if it was just a tiny mint choc chip ice cream).

In May my dad got married and my sister and I were bridesmaids. We travelled up to a posh hotel the night before where we got free champagne on arrival and felt oh so fancy. We stayed up chatting most of the night, while I walked around the room in socks and my shoes, trying to break them in. The wedding was great, but it was the night before that I loved the most, where all the excitement of the next day was still just butterflies in my stomach.

These memories are only a handful of moments from the last year. Sometimes it can be hard to remember just how much I’ve done and birthdays feel like an event I’m never going to be fully prepared for, always wishing I could have just a little more time to achieve something spectacular. But maybe I’m looking at it wrong, 24. Adding all this pressure because you’re a part of my youth that I’ll never get back again. Maybe I should be thankful that you’re leaving, and making way for a new year of experiences to motivate and inspire me.

Thanks for helping me to grow, whether through sadness or happiness. I will miss you, but am excited about getting to know 25. And besides, this isn’t really goodbye. All the experiences you have given me are a part of me and fragments of my character will always be you, 24. So you’re not really going, but just giving up being in the spotlight.

[Courtesy of HBO]