I turn 29 in a few days. This is the traditional age, according to Marian Keyes and Bridget Jones, that I should be starting to panic. Panic about sorting my life out, meeting the man of my dreams (I dream about Gouda chasing me), and having babies. Or failing that just a general existential panic of the impending prospect of old age and eventual death. Yeah chick lit is great.

I have a lot of things worrying me at the moment, that’s just part of my makeup. But in general it’s useless stuff like that weird smell when I open the fridge (I really should do a clean out) or why you have to push a button to open the doors on the Overground and DLR but not the rest of the tube lines. The getting older thing not so much; so far getting older has only been a good thing.

The older I am the more sure I am of me. Of my likes and dislikes, of what is worth putting up with in the name of love or character building, and when I just need to tell people to fuck off. With age I have become less terrified of eyeliner, felt more confident in my career and now actually live in a flat that I love.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not too keen on the wrinkles that are popping up overnight or the fact that a hangover now lasts for a week. But I figure it’s a small price to pay for finally growing out of teenage angst and 20 something social competition.

I’m not saying I have all the answers or that I know what the hell I am meant to be doing in the next year, 5 years, 10 years or 50. Hell right now I am sitting in hotel room confused about what I should be doing in the next five minutes (there is a KitKat on the table next to me…I should open that right?). A birthday isn’t going to magically give me a road-map to life.

Over my lifetime I will constantly be questioning, changing, growing, loving and losing, the fact that I am almost a year away from 30 doesn’t change that at all.

I think what does change my thinking, more than an arbitrary age, is the life milestones that my friends are hitting. It was the same in my early twenties where suddenly a homogeneous group of high schoolers all chose different paths; to go to university, jobs, travel or nothing at all. Your friends making choices, makes you think you should be too. It turns into a constant comparison loop that makes you overturn every stone in your brain and examine it.

And that’s where I find myself again. Friends choosing once again; babies, marriage, divorce, moving to New Zealand, moving to the country, career changes, career brakes, and everyone dying their hair pastel. It’s not age that’s the problem, it’s that nothing stays still for long. I wouldn’t want it to, I love to see everyone evolving into their next Pokemon. Change helps you to clarify the very best version of you.

Sooooo this was a ramble and a half. If I’m honest it’s because the hotel gave me a free bottle of wine and it is sitting next to the KitKat half empty. What I am trying to say is fuck worrying about a specific age, life is about dealing with constant change and finding your place within it. I for one can’t wait to see what the next few years bring for me. I hope its more free wine.

Runawaykiwi in Florence

By the time you read this I will be 28. I am quite looking forward to being 28, it seems like it is going to be a good year. After being told that “your school years are the best of your life” and “you early twenties are the best years of your life” I have discovered that getting older rocks. I am more sure of myself, more confident in my own resilience and I simultaneously give less fucks and better quality fucks. I have high expectations for 28.

It’s odd though, that at the time where I am feeling like I might have my shit together the world seems to be falling apart. In the country that I call home the economy is tanking, racism is palpable and culottes are back in fashion. I feel totally lost in this political climate, where no strong leaders seem to be popping up to take control. It’s like we are all in a dystopian movie about the fall of man – but it is terribly written and the author never got round to writing the hero. At this stage I would happily forget the knight in shining armour and settle for someone that is only a little evil. Instead we get to play the worst game of Duck Duck Goose with the next Prime Minister; Cruella de Ville, Lizard, Cunt.

Further afield things don’t seem to be going much better. That we have to have a #blacklivesmatter movement is horrific in itself, and lets not even mention that Tr*mp is a possibility. Since when did we all leave thought and kindness behind, and instead reach for instant judgement and clickbait? In a way I blame my own beloved social media, the lazy retweet makes it so much easier for poisonous voices to appear mainstream. And when politicians who grew up before the internet see ’20,000 retweets’ they panic, mistake it for actual agreement and make poor choices. Whereas my generation that grew up with the internet and was with it through the awkward MySpace years, know that a cat getting scared by a cucumber can get that many retweets in an hour. Retweets do not equal political accent, public opinion or even popularity.

To make right now even shittier public figures are dying faster than we can replenish them with reality TV shows, my generation will not never own property and it turns out that otters are little assholes (seriously, google it…otters are dicks).

My god I am glad that I am 28.

I am glad that I can switch off the feeds and not get sucked into a spiral of worry and fear. I am glad that I have seen enough awesome things in the world (read: peanut butter Oreos and a cat’s paw that looked like a tiny bear) to know that the good outweighs the bad. And I am glad that my weird combination of degrees (Politics, Psychology and Accounting) are finally paying off; I know that no matter how shitty the world looks like now in the UK it will work itself out. I don’t know how, but it will.

Dragon street art in Florence

What we need to remember is to take care of each other. To put it very VERY bluntly, I am white and middle class – whatever happens in the UK in the next few years I will probably be fine. It’s time to check our privilege and help those for whom the political, economic and fucking racist climate will hurt in the next few years. What feels like an inconvenience for you, could be life and death for someone else.

Wow this is a random birthday post. But I guess right now it doesn’t feel like you can separate the individual from the country; until we get some certainty it is just a big bowl of gumbo. I’ve never had gumbo, is it good? Tweet me about gumbo.

So shall I tell you some good things? Like how for my birthday my parents got me a kid’s book and memory card game for ages 4 and up. Yes my parents are awesome and mad. I spent my birthday in Florence with them; teaching my dad how to take selfies, ditching tours groups like naughty school kids and of course eating all the pasta I could get my hands on. I really loved Florence, far more than I thought I would. Which is good news for you kids, I have a few blog posts planned all about my adventures.

Once I head back to London I have four more days causing trouble with my whanau before they head home. Then I get a couple of weeks chilling out and enjoying whatever summer London decides to throw at us, before my work travel ramps up again.

28 aye. I hope that it is full of friends. I hope that I tell people to fuck of frequently and with grace. I hope that I figure out how to control my hair, or at least enter in to peace talks with it. I hope that I get a flat by myself. I hope that I will be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK – that is as long as the UK still exists. I hope that in a years’ time I will be writing a blog post about how excited I am to be turning 29.

Ok my plane is about to board so this rambling blog post will come to a close. What to end with…

If you are in your teens, it does get better.

If you are in your twenties, it does get better.

If you are in London, the sun will shine at some point.

xx

The Modern Pantry Tea

Birthdays are tricky in London. You don’t really want to give anything that can’t be packed into a suitcase and you want it to be special, something they would not buy for themselves. One of my best friends cracked the London birthday code and started the tradition of giving an afternoon tea. Rules are that the location is entirely secret, all the birthday girl knows is the nearest tube station. It all started with my birthday this year, where I was told to meet at the St Pauls tube station and we had afternoon tea at Beas of Bloomsbury. So for her birthday I told her to meet me at the Barbican tube station and we then walked round the corner to have afternoon tea at the Modern Pantry.

Scones at the Modern Pantry

We went for the champagne afternoon tea, because who can really pass up a lychee bellini on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Then we had the hard decision of what teas to drink, the list wasn’t as long as I was expecting but the descriptions were so enticing (imagine the ‘fruity oak’ descriptions normally found on a wine list) that the length didn’t matter at all.

 Afternoon Tea at the Modern Pantry

I was slightly underwhelmed by the amount of food on offer. Normally an afternoon tea has at least four sandwich flavour options, whereas the Modern Pantry only had two. But the funny thing is that for two people it was actually the exact right amount i.e. we were full but still able to move at the end of it. Maybe it is just a bit of psychology that they need to play with, cut the sandwiches in half and there will visually be more to entice the eater.

The huge source of entertainment throughout the afternoon was the family having tea at the next table over. The mother spent the entire time trying to reason with a two year old, giving her the option of a high chair and then trying to verbally convince her it was the best option. The mother went as far as to get down on her knees to show this two year old how much better life would be if she sat a little higher. As two childless expats we watched incredulous and decided that if we were ever crazy enough to bring a toddler to a posh afternoon tea, we would tell not ask.