At 23...

By Lucy Harbron - 16:26

 I live in Manchester, alone.

My hair is my natural mousey brown with a slight gingery tinge. The year demanded my bleach as sacrifice.

My favourite things to wear are my Burberry trench, my white floral jeans and my grey lounge trousers. I haven’t been on a night out in over a year, but when I do, I vow to try harder with my makeup.

My favourite books this year were I’m With The Band by Pamela Des Barres and Platinum Blonde by Phoebe Stuckes.

In the last year I watched over 90 films so I can no longer have a favourite. But highlights included Babyteeth, the Before Sunrise series and the documentary about Leonard Cohen and Marianne.

My favourite albums to sing in the shower are Evermore by Taylor Swift, Purple Rain by Prince and Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers.

My favourite smell is the Twilight body spray from Lush.

My favourite thing is getting letters from friends, disposable cameras, Saturday morning pastries and cooking myself meals with wine on a Friday.

I’m in love with myself, my friends, the things I own, my brain, Taylor Swift and Patti Smith.

I sleep on the right side of the bed on my left side, with a pillow pressed up against my back and silently cursing myself for staying up so late on TikTok.

I repeat this mantra to myself; it’ll be fine.

I’m trying to implement a habit of drinking more water and going to bed earlier, still.

My 23rd birthday passed unmiraculously, as they generally seem to when you get older. One day I’ll no doubt recount the occasion to future children with some grandeur of how the normalcy of seeing friends felt novel, how I got drunk off 2 drinks with the excitement of it all, and spent it wrapping in a cardigan made by the hands of a dear friend. But now I tell people it was nice, lovely even, fun.

By this point I’ve usually manifested, marked another year passed with a tarot card pointed direction and a fresh to-do list that masquerades as goals. Before I’d write holiday, published novel, empire. This year I can’t muster anything but holiday, haircut, tattoo, and I think I love it.

I turned 23 as the climax to a week spent out of office in the some-what second career I made myself in my 22nd year. I think maybe I finally learnt the lesson of rest, ticking films off a bucket list and turning a book pile into a bedside. Rest and balance, as I ring in my 23rd year with email chains that might as well be daisies as I smile down on pixel names I dreamed of as a teen.

It’s odd. As I turned 23 I thought mostly of 13 when I was sad, and dreaming, and read NME articles I now right. At the end of my 22nd year I had no big conclusions other than younger me would think I was cool, I have no doubt on that. I think she’d be proud, exhale and drop some of the weight on her shoulders as from where she’s standing, everything looks so much better than just okay. I also have no doubt that at 33, I’ll write the same thing about me now. While I may hate ageing more than ever in a year that gave me my first wrinkle, I think I’ve finally settled into the comfort that self-development will happen without much input, all things generally flow to the place they should, and I will more than likely be fine, have a nice day, smile.

In my 22nd year, despite it being spent mostly in lockdown which I clearly didn’t expect when I wrote grand hopes of 3 holidays; I was happy. In my last birthday blog, I reflected on building the life my 21-year-old-self hoped for, and I’m in a similar position as I email editors, gather by-lines and fall asleep spinning ideas around my head. I have a stack of zines with my work in, I have a portfolio, I have a (very humble) bank account with money from commissions, and my old self dreamed about it all. It hit me the other night that I have nothing to dream about at the moment, struggling to figure out a story to tell myself as I drift off without it turning into strategy or email templates. Development isn’t a romantic dream to have, but I think I love the smallness of it, giving me so much space around it where I’m realising life fits. That’s where new friends fit, and boyfriends, and calls with my mum on lunch times, nice Friday dinners I cook myself, new art prints on new shelves, Saturday morning pastries, days off, pub nights, plans that can’t be formulated into emails and existing without word count. So for 23 I have no big goals, just a holiday, a wild haircut and a silly tattoo, continuing with my work and rattling around the space called living.

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