Into the 20s...

By Lucy Harbron - 20:20

When 2019 started I lived on the ground floor of a Victorian townhouse in Sheffield. Now I live on the 4th floor of an industrial building in Manchester. When it started, I had brown hair down to my collar bone with lighter tips, now it’s cropped and bleached to oblivion. At the start, I was living life between lectures, libraries and my dining room table, now I work 8-5 and live somewhere between my desk, bath and a bar. My best friends remained the same with new additions, my family became one person less, my bookshelf bowed, my wardrobe overflowed, 365 days ran by.

I usually hate New Year's Eve, wishing to hide from the fireworks in a bubble; sat alone in a bath nursing some wine and listening to a podcast. I usually spend the weeks before grappling with ways to quantify a year, battling between the ups and downs as if the conclusion can only be one or the other. I usually feel a weird sense of pressure to come to sound incredible, insightful final comment as you scroll past the thousands of round-ups on Instagram, feeling like I’d be entered into some competition of who had the most transformative year. But this year, I don’t.

Maybe I’m too busy to care. Or maybe ending the year in a different city with different hair and different friends and a wildly different lifestyle makes you realise how redundant the whole practice is, maybe it’s enough to just say its been a year, a wildly weird and wonderful year.

This year, when I’ve found myself sinking into the end of year sadness, cursing past me for not doing this or for losing that, I’ve been trying my best to point it forward. If I didn’t do it then, I’ll do it now. I’ve been writing lists as long as my arms with things to try and do and go and make happen next year or even this next decade. I’ve got time.

I think the biggest reason is that 2020 looks so different. I’m out of education and the confines of an academic calendar, I’m fully financially independent, I live in an amazing city and work a great job, meaning that my year is nothing but open. Every decision is mine to make, unaffected by any external factors. I can literally do what I want, give my time to what and who I want, buy what I want, go where I want. I can do what I want and I feel like I want to do everything.

The idea of the 20s feels delicious. I can’t help but see images of Gatsby’s parties, of decadence and hedonism in an age of untamed excitement. I think of people living passionately, of the wild love of a Fitzgerald novel, champagne spilling, Jordan Baker playing golf, Daisy laughing in a room of floating white silk. The 20s drip of riches, luxury, artistry, living deeply and fully. And I’m very ready to adopt that, more than ready for a bit of hedonism, I think I’ve earnt it.

This year I got a degree. I wrote a 10,000-word dissertation as well as several other essays. I had 6 pieces of writing published. I got a job. I moved city. This decade I did GCSEs, AS-Levels, A-Levels, and a degree. I launched this blog and a magazine. I started my writing careers, getting by-lines all over the place. I sang for a little while. I released a book. I wrote a monologue for a film. I started doing burlesque. I made friends, I lost friends, I made more friends. I made films.  I won a medal. I had relationships and lost them. I moved to Sheffield. I moved to Manchester. I went from a child to a teenager to an adult. I went from 11 to 21. I set myself up a life. All my education, the basis of my career, my whole world view, my politics, my hobbies and side hustles, everything was built in this decade and now all this work has got me here, on the cusp of a decade where my only job is to do whatever I want. Make what I want, go where I want, anything.

So, the word is hedonism. It’s riches, luxury, spontaneity, fun, freedom, holidays, drinks, parties, love, friends, fucking up and fucking off, it’s everything and anything and all of it. That’s going to be 2020 and I think it's enough for me to simply be excited.

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