It’s my birthday and my anti- wrinkle campaign has begun // reflections on turning 20

Me on my last birthday with my youthful skin

It’s my birthday next thursday and I’m scared. I’m turning 20. Twenty. I distinctly remember being 14 and my dermatologist telling me that I had a couple of years left of not using anti agin products but when I turned 20 it was time to start tackling my aging skin. Now I am 20 and my skin is aged. I am old. I am over the hill. Well, maybe not quite but I am no longer a teenager and therefore approaching the hill.


I do things like buy toilet paper for myself, take out the bins and decide that it’s not sensible to go out because I have a lecture the next day. I haven’t eaten mcdonalds in months. 

I wrote this before meeting my mum and aunt, Rosamund, for afternoon tea. My feeling on the subject after this life changing tea is quite different. 

Rosamund stopped telling people her age when she turned 21. I am going to do the same. Every so often, she has a significant birthday, but her actual age is never revealed. So it doesn’t worry her. After all, this is only a number, a cliche but true saying. So after 21 I will officially stop counting the age and focus on the amount of presents I get instead. That is the real reason for birthdays after all. 

I am going to use turning 20 as an opportunity to change some things in my life. Some small and some big. I am going to spend less time watching shitty TV and more time doing things. You never remember the 10 hours you spend watching keeping up with the kardashians, but you remember reading, or crocheting, or drawing. Or not but you have something to show for the end. I know I am turning into my mother when I say this. 

I am going to stop wearing sweatpants outside on most occasions. Obviously, there are some times that simply cannot be got through without sweatpants. Being hungover is one of these. But I have fears of becoming a middle age woman wearing trackies and in my effort to avoid this I am going to try and wean myself off them (at least in social situations).

I am going to read more. And I am going to read whatever I want, and If I don’t enjoy a book I am going to give myself permission to stop reading it halfway through. Instead of scrolling through instagram before I go to bed I will read. 

I am going to print more pictures so instead of having thousands of digital images I never look through I at least have some that I can look back on. 

I am going to start putting my health first. Nothing is more important than being well, and I need to stop putting unrealistic goals and my perfectionism above my happiness. 

I am going to start doing the things I love again. I feel like I don’t do a lot of the things I really love anymore and I miss them and would be happier if I did them. So I will. 

I am never going to pretend I like kale ever again. I do not like kale. 

I am going to spend more time with the people I love. I am going to travel and see the world and write and listen to music. I will never allow anyone to treat me unfairly, be rude to me, degrade me. I will believe in myself. 

Some of these things are big and some are small. I feel like my life has really changed, and is really changing right now. The main thing being half my face has swollen up so half of me is a happy puffer fish and half is an angry puffer fish. This fact would have made me super self conscious and I probably wouldn’t have been able to leave my house a couple of months ago. However, today I went out to lunch with my dad and worked my confused puffer fish face and it didn’t bother me at all. 

if being 20 means ageing skin, but I get to care a tiny bit less about unimportant things and actually start being the person I want to be, I am ready for it. 

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