I hit an age milestone last month – the big three-zero. The party was had, the hangover was survived and the Vegas trip is booked. I thought this might be a good time to do a little stock-take of my 20s and pen some notes to my youthful self. I suppose the idea is that I remember to do this every ten years – but that level of commitment scares me, so let’s just stick with the present.
Some of your most insane dreams actually come true. I’m not talking about the ‘I hope I always have enough money to pay the rent’ type of dream – no I mean the really big, ‘I want my own stage-show’ ones. Just don’t expect them to turn out exactly how you’d imagined.
So yes you do get your own comedy show, you get to write it and perform it exactly the way you want and it gets a great audience reception. The thing is, the audience is mostly your friends and the venue is usually an out-of-the-way place that no one has ever heard of, and sometimes – who am I kidding, most of the time – it smells of BO. When the show wraps, instead of a glitzy after-party, it’s a good day if someone helps you take your props to the car. If not, well, you get to work on your open-the-car-door-while-balancing-a-box-on-your-knee technique.
You know all those things you hate about your body? They’re gone. Don’t get too excited because I don’t mean you’re skinner now and can wear Hollywood tape instead of an actual bra. Ha! As if. What I mean is – you just don’t care anymore. Seriously I can’t even remember half the stuff I used to obsess about with my body – all I can remember is that I used to obsess a lot.
Don’t stress about looking like everyone else; working your own look is what you need to focus on. Because yes you do have giant sticking-out ears but you also have insanely volumed hair and lips that look like they have had a collagen injection – so when you enhance those two, people wouldn’t know if you had two ears or three. This technique also works with features like the hips, arse and boobs, but you get the idea.
You have to pay people to do things you forgot to learn. Editors are expensive; it might have been easier to learn how to spell. Accountants are expensive; it might have been easier to learn to do your own tax. I would like to plead with you to pay more attention in English and maths classes to avoid outrageous future bills from editors and accountants, but this is a letter to my 20-year-old self, and so that ship has already sailed. Hmm maybe I’d be better off addressing this to my ten-year-old self.
Men – hmmm I’m not sure about this one. I suggest we both ask our 40-year-old self. All I have figured out so far is that relationships can give you spectacular highs and heart-crashing lows. The highs are obviously the goal, but don’t worry about trying to avoid the lows. I won’t say the lows are fun but – like jumping into a freezing swimming pool in winter – you know your feelings are working when you're post break-up.
A lot of people talk about love and relationships and, like mainstream news, most of it is crap. How to keep ’em interested, What to do in bed, Who’s your type, What’s your dating pattern, this, that and the other. My advice (and remember this is you talking) is to ignore advice from people who are not in your relationship and listen to the two people in your relationship… by that I mean yourself and your partner, you’re not polyamorous in case that just freaked you out.
5. Please, please PLEASE use your under 30 discounted tickets to Belvoir and STC. That perk won’t last forever – like, literally it lasts until you’re 30. I know both those theatres are a pain in the butt to get to but it’s even more painful when you’re paying full price for your ticket. So go, now, enjoy being youthful at the theatre.
Seeing as I’m only 30 I think that’s enough advice for now – maybe at 70 I’ll write an essay. There do seem to be some real perks to being 30. If you accidently get too drunk you can just stumble home and make a fool of yourself in the privacy of your own apartment. Your friends become more organised and classy and so you find yourself going to dinners and celebrations where everything is deliciously over-priced, without you having to pay for it. Honestly, even children’s birthday parties are getting fancy, I was at a party for a one-year-old last week where the cake could have rivalled a wedding cake!