Saturday night I was sat in bar in a trendy part of London. One of my best friends was turning 30 something. A small group of close friends, some cocktails and great outfits were the perfect blend for a fun but quiet birthday celebration.
But then we start to notice some scantily clad Asian girls start to stream into the bar. By 9 o’clock we were sat next to a large group of much younger and hotter Asian women. They were easily ten years younger than us. And unlike our small, quiet, mid-30 something birthday celebration, this group were toasting with shots, there was whooping and raucous laughter. As more people joined their party, they were encroaching on our space- almost crowding our quiet, sweet little celebration out of the bar.
You see, as birthdays start going past the right side of 30 and hurtling you ever closer to your 40’s you start spotting the younger version of yourself. Remember the film The First Wives Club where a very young looking Sarah Jessica Parker was the new model brought into replace a somewhat dowdy looking Bette Midler? You look at this Younger Version of Yourself and horrifyingly think “that was me once.” Only today, my boobs are not that pert, and I’m definitely not that skinny any more.
But worryingly, Younger You doesn’t just outrank you in terms of looks. That would be easy to deal with and actually I’m OK with the way I look today. No, it’s when you realise that Younger You seems more switched on than you did at that age. She’s up date to with the newest technological and market trends. Her tweets are funny, interesting and intelligent- you wish you’d thought of them. She’s in a good job and on track to be one of those 30 under 30 most successful people. In short, she makes you feel like a dinosaur- old, outdated and ready for the extinction pile. You want to dislike her but can’t- she’s really nice and deserves to succeed.
Does it make me feel threatened? Hell yes! I would be lying if I said it didn’t.
But then I remember what it was like to be 25. Yes, it is a fun time with the early makings of a career, social life and love life. You think you’ve got it all together. But, looking back at my 20’s I realise now that there was still so much growing up to do. If your 20’s are about discovery, then your 30’s are about discovering that you can be fearless. That bitchy put down in the Monday morning meeting, in front of your colleagues and manager- forget it, you simply learn to be wise to the person that made it and not let them get to you. That argument with your mum- rather than drag it out and wait for her to apologise because you’re “not a child any more”; you know she’s not going to be around forever so you pick up the phone and work it out.
And as for love, well even if you haven’t found your soul mate, at least you’ve been around long enough and have enough self-respect not to take the first guy that looks your way, and you certainly wouldn’t put up with less than 110% from him.
You’ve learnt that there is no happily ever after but there is happily everyday if choose to embrace the little things. That life isn’t all plain sailing and clear horizons, and there will be hard times. But there will also be hot cup of tea, a hug from a loved one, and its these moments that make life lovely.
But you just don’t know that in your younger, (supposedly) hotter days- the lessons are still to be learnt.
So Younger Version of Me, I wish you all the best. Enjoy the nights out, the extra disposable income and er, being thin. But brace yourself too- as there are still a lot of life lessons to come!