I’m Terrified Of Getting Older (But I Also Can’t Wait)

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My brother turns 26 this year. 26. Granted, he’s still enjoying the madness that is your youth in your twenties, but it’s difficult to think of him as edging towards 30 when, in my mind he’ll always be 19. Isn’t it strange that you often accept the people closest to you as frozen at one age? My grandparents, for example, have been frozen at 64 for years now, despite veering towards their late 70s in reality. The same goes for my Mum; in my mind she is eternally 42, and whenever I take a second to remind myself that I’m stuck ten years in the past, I come to appreciate all over again just how quickly time passes.

“Life is too short to-” - a phrase I often employ to explain my diverse range of hats or to excuse my 11:30pm dash to the kitchen for a plate of cheese and biscuits (who can really say no to a lovely mild cheddar though, am I right?). But why do we say “life is too short”, when it’s the longest thing that any of us will ever do? Between clocking in and clocking out, this is the longest shift you’ll ever work, and who knows when your lunch break is, if ever. Maybe we say it’s too short because - and please excuse the drawn out metaphor - there is no chance of overtime. Depending on what you believe, you only get one go at this life, so every minute is precious.

With that being said, I’m terrified of getting older. Don’t get me wrong - you’d be hard pressed to find somebody that enjoys their own birthday as much as I do, and my inner narcissist almost bursts with joy whenever a random passer-by fails to avoid my overtly large ‘Birthday Girl’ badge and so has to wish me a happy birthday.

Jumper - H&M (similar Topshop fit here and here)

Jeans - ASOS (this pair but I cropped them myself)

Shoes - Zara (similar ASOS here)

Hat - ASOS

Bag - Paradise Row*

 

WHAT I'M WEARING

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It’s not the actual process of ageing which terrifies me, but instead, it’s the fear of wasting my youth. My biggest bug-bear in life is wasting my time. I hate taxis not turning up on time and making me miss my train (happened earlier this week, but of course, I’m not bitter…). I hate spam emails about SEO or cheeky PRs asking me to post three full blog features in return for the chance to win a voucher from some contrived competition. I hate pointless meetings, pointless phone calls, or pointless knocks at the door. I’m a busy girl, and any time I have spare, I like to spend with my favourite people. Any time wasted, is time I could have spent catching up with my best friends, or cooking dinner with Keiran, or sitting down for a cup of tea with my Nan. Time, for me, is the greatest commodity, and it’s something I’m always short on.

And as time speeds by, I find myself becoming more and more worried that I might be wasting my youth. Am I taking enough risks? Am I pushing myself enough? Am I staying out and enjoying enough mid-week cocktails before I have too many responsibilities to get smashed on a Wednesday afternoon? Like a mint on my tongue, I’m constantly rolling the idea over and over, conscious that this is time that I’ll never get back, and I have to make the most of it whilst I can.

In it’s defence, this fear hasn’t always been unfounded, and I’ve made a few big life decisions because I felt I’d become complacent and I’d look back and regret not giving myself a kick up the arse. The dread of reaching my mid-thirties and looking back on my twenties with regret has inspired me to make some of the best decisions I’ve ever made, but it also festers in the back of my mind like an irritating scratch, causing me to second-guess myself or needlessly fret that I’m not in enough of a hurry.

Whereas a lot of my peers around me are worried that they aren't saving enough for their first mortgage (which, may I add, I'm definitely not (£0 isn't hard to beat, after all)) or considering if an Apple watch is really a good investment (which, may I add, it is not), I'm sat here, calendar open, wondering if I've had enough wine-fuelled dinners with friends and bingey festivals over the last few months to ensure that I'm maxxing out on the reckless abandon of my 20s.

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And yet, at the same time, I cannot wait to grow older. The difference between myself now at 23 to myself at 20 is so vast that I feel like I don’t recognise the person I used to be. Or really even like her that much, actually. I was still a good person, and I still held all of the qualities that I pride myself on today (opinionated, ambitious, cares deeply and passionately about doggos), but I’ve also shed those qualities - or at least I’m certainly in the process of shedding those qualities - that I didn’t like at all. I was a terrible drunk person, and I’m still a terrible drunk person, but now I rarely drink to excess. I’m infinitely more confident in myself. I don’t care if people think I’m fat, or ugly, or even stupid, because I’ve become more secure within myself as an individual, as a business person, and as a woman.

In short, I’ve grown up. And growing up is fucking marvellous. I’m sure I’ll revisit this thought in one year, two years, even ten years time, and think “pffft, what a chump I was at 23”, and oh Lordy, I cannot wait. With age comes experience, and with experience comes knowledge, tolerance, reflection - with age comes growth. I’m enjoying growing as a person and shedding those all-encompassing anxieties prescribed by early youth, and I feel I’m blossoming in the process of beginning to learn myself. To really know myself.

So there we have it: on one shoulder, I have my restless, anxious, and impatient version of myself, constantly in twists and turns as to whether I’m throwing the best years of my life away, and on the other shoulder, I have the quieter, more confident version of myself, reassuring me that with each year it gets better, and hey, at least there’s gin.

Let’s hope they can play nicely.

 

Photography: Michaela Tornaritis

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  • Frances Hemmant

    Another beautifully written post!! You always manage to write in a style that is so relatable, paired with amazing photos and style!
    I completely agree actually, I’m always wishing to be that bit older to see the next stage in my life, but also worrying I’m never making the most of the current stage I’m in. I think as long as you make the most of every moment, you kind of get the best of both without realising xxx

  • Emily (byemily)

    Loved this post ! I’m always afraid of wasting time and not making the most of the age i’m at but the last few years i’ve felt like i’ve grown and learnt so much

  • This post could almost have come straight from my own head as I’m find that I’m really struggling with thoughts of am I making the most of my twenties. I think it’s an awkward age when lots of friends are starting to buy houses, get married etc and it makes you question what it is that you want from life.

    Just know that you’re not the only one and we’re all just muddling through too!

    Jess x

  • Laura Emilia

    Your writing is SO good! I could recognise myself from this post so much, but I could have never put it to words so well.

    I love my birthdays too (glad to hear I’m not the only one!) and I like the idea of getting older and more complacent, but at the same time I’m terrified too. I’m already 28 and even though I don’t really want to go back to my “crazy youth” (lol) I sometimes see the past with rose tinted glasses and feel nostalgic for something that was probably pretty shit and something that I only remember the good parts of. But I do feel nostalgic for it and I think if I should be still doing more of that now? Before I get too “old” and can’t anymore? It’s probably just the fear talking though. But I just don’t want to become a bitter old woman! xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • I am so glad that I found your blog a few weeks ago. Every post your write speaks to me on a deep level. I could read this post, and relate so much to it. xxx

    Melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com

  • Well written – enjoyed reading this post!

    I can relate… I 1) sometimes can’t wait to get older and start experiencing some of the greatest moments of my life, but also 2) am very content with just being young at the moment. I have the same thoughts – mainly – am I doing enough?! Am I going to look back and have regrets? Am I making the right progress towards where I want to be etc….

    I think one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is just to “live in the moment”, worry about the now and making the most of it before time passes 🙂

    http://skylish.co.uk

  • I’m in my last year of my twenties and it FREAKS ME OUT so much. I don’t want to enter my 30’s haha.

    laurabradshaw.co.uk

  • Ayre

    It seems that every decade, I feel a noticeable shift inside me. That’s probably a nightmare for you if a minute change only happens every 10 years. I’d love to be able to live life to the fullest, and maybe different people have different definitions of what a full life is. Good on you for continuing to make sure that you always stay busy and fulfilled 🙂

    https://ariannecruz07.wixsite.com/ayre

  • My baby sister is 31. THIRTY-ONE. I don’t care what age I am (it’s 35, in case you were wondering) but that’s the one that really catches in my throat.

    Can I just say Chloe, this was a really wonderful piece of writing? Also, I used to have a hat like that one and now I am missing it DREADFULLY and checking out your Asos link.

    Lis / last year’s girl x

  • Adeline B.

    Excellent post ! Just what I needed. -Sorry for this damn long comment to come.-

    The thought of wasting my youth has come to my mind a lot over the past months. The pressure is that our 20s are supposed to be our best, fresher years, the years where you learn to know yourself (that, I do, for once), have a lot of experiences, building a career or a home, leaving the family’s nest… And I don’t feel any of that. Like no big change. According to society, it’s a fail, even if our generation is slower at building careers or anything than our parents’ (I am making a generality, and speak about the french education system, which is not the best).

    I am 27 but feel like I’m still 20 in the way I’m not where I thought I would be in life. Time flies fast, even if as you pointed out, lifetime is big, the biggest type of time we’ll ever get but youth is speedy.
    The truth is I’m not content with my current life situation. So the big question I always ask myself is Did I waste my 20s ? Did I ruined it ? Because in 3 short years, I’ll be 30. And as stupid as it is, 30 has always been seen as a “deadline”, hoping to be settled in our lives at this moment.
    I’m curently switching my career (which didn’t really start in fact, so many years at the uni for nothing other than personal satisfaction but it didn’t lead to a career… Sort of wasted time again) but I am just bored. That’s why I took the decision to try (I know, using the verb “to Try” is not really engaging but most of my plans get screwed before I get to experience them) to volunteer in the UK late next year by a EVS, I love the country and its culture, always had regrets of not using the Erasmus program while in uni and it could be good for my career. Among other plans, because all of it is just a plan for now.

    So, in this way, I am looking foward to get older, hoping I would look back at this exact moment (maybe even reading this comment) and being like “wow, I’ve gone a long way, this is great !” (or “Why was I commenting about my life ?” lol) and gain confidence because it’s the opposite of you, the older I get, the worse it gets.

    Anyway, I don’t know you personally (even if I have a sense of who you might be) but just blogging-wise and judging of what you tell us in your posts, I think you’ve come a long way since I’ve first visited your blog (around 2014), I’m proud of you even if, again, I don’t know you. You’re strong, and honestly your posts are really helpful and help feeling better, sometimes.

    xxxx

    https://i-think-its-today.blogspot.com/


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