Almost ten years ago, I was ‘celebrating’ my 21st birthday by crying, and being a terrified mess. I was scared of becoming a ‘real adult’, and feeling grown up weren’t quite what I had expected. I mean, I definitely had a great night out with friends and made great memories; but ultimately I really weren’t happy about turning 21.
I felt OLD.
This month, I’ll be turning 31, and I couldn’t feel any more different!
Your twenties are supposed to be the time of your life; if movies and TV shows are to be believed. From the big 3-0 onward it’s commonly expected for women to start getting shy and secretive about their age, as if it’s a terrible shame. Which it’s always been treated like, to be honest.
But I’m so glad to have said goodbye to my twenties, and I’m totally embracing my thirties with every ounce of enthusiasm I can muster.
Of course I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to be younger, and have more time,and feel so free… and revel in the glory of my own sickening youth. Not having as many responsibilities would be wonderful, but I still wouldn’t give up my 30 year old self for anything now.
In my twenties, I was full of self loathing and self doubt. I had NO idea what I wanted to do with my life, which meant no direction, purpose or even slight clue what I should be aiming for. I was flitting from job to job after dropping out of Uni, and it felt like everybody but me had things all worked out.
I was also flitting from boyfriend to boyfriend, which meant my relationships were also as flimsy as my CV. I say ‘flitting’, but what I really mean is the boys I really liked were so bad for me, and the boys that were brilliant for me bored me. It’s so cliche, but true. I was foolish and got my heart trampled on, and it was just another part of my life that felt a bit all over the place.
I felt like I never really knew who I was, and the pressure to have it all figured out ruined my twenties.
I think there is this weird expectation to leave education, and suddenly find yourself on the perfect career track, knowing what you want from life, and having everything in place to get it. When the reality is, it just doesn’t work like that.
Your twenties should be the time to just FIGURE THINGS OUT.
Go travelling, date, make new friends, try new hobbies, give up bad habits, push yourself into new things, connect with yourself and take the time to really figure out what makes you happy. Above all, give yourself a break.
I have some amazing memories from my twenties, and there’s so much joy in those years for sure. But it’s only in very recent years as I’ve got older that I truly feel content with my whole life.
- I have the most perfect fiance I could ever ask for. I love to joke and try not to be publicly mushy that often; but honestly Gary is just incredible. The amount of love, affection, respect and support he gives me day in and day out is amazing. I wish I could go back to 21 year old Jemma and tell her this is how love is supposed to be.
- We have a beautiful home that’s all ours. We rent from Gary’s mum, and this house will always be his; so we know we’ve basically found our forever home. We live somewhere absolutely perfect for us, and I feel really lucky to be in this secure position. I am far away from so many friends and family which isn’t ideal but we make it work, and this feels like where I’m supposed to be. I love our little house! It’s right near the woods and river, leading through to the moors. We’re only a short drive away from the sea, and I feel like I get that perfect balance between city life and quiet, country life.
- I have my own small business that inspires me and motivates me EVERY SINGLE DAY. I absolutely LOVE what I do and wouldn’t want to give it up for anything. It feels so good to have finally realised what I’m supposed to be doing, and to have people support that is incredible. I might not be taking over the world, or raking in the big bucks; but I love it.
- I have the best friends and family I could ask for, and I appreciate them more than ever. I’ve gained new friends that I treasure and I love connecting with different people all the time. And I have the old treasures; the ones who have seen me through thick and thin. The one’s who keep showing up for me, and continue to make me love them like family. The one’s I’ll be having the best evening with on my birthday on the 16th!
- At 30 years old I have confidence that I never had in my twenties. This applies to both my body and mind; as they both feel stronger than ever and I appreciate everything I have now. I wish I could go back and tell 20 year old Jemma how perfect she is, just the way she is. It would have saved so much agony.
- And finally, River. Of course my little baby boy is the greatest thing to happen to me, and I feel luckier with every single day.
I might have a line or two near my eyes now, it might take me longer to get over a hangover. I might love the idea of a chilled night in with friends, rather than being out all night partying. But I’m absolutely besotted with my life right now, and wouldn’t change it for the world.
I turn 31 on April 16th, and can’t wait to give thanks for another wonderful year.
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