Month: November 2014

The Twenties Limbo

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I recently turned twenty-five (a whole quarter of a century!) and now I feel like I’m stuck in a weird tug-of-war over whether I want to become a proper grown up or still try to hold onto my youth.

If forty is the new thirty, and thirty is the new twenty, does that make your twenties are the new teen years? With life expectancy growing like it is and being a relatively healthy person, I may live to be one-hundred so technically I’m only a quarter of the way through my life. There’s still loads of time for me to become a proper grown up!

A couple of months ago, I moved back home and it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. The extra money is definitely helping. And after I worked out how much money I’d spent on renting, I am now convinced I won’t be doing that again. Once you add it all up, it is a lot of money.

So, back to my tug-of-war.

I have now reached a crossroads and am trying to work out which path to walk down. On one side, I can follow the sensible route and do some serious saving to buy a house. Plus I didn’t want to leave it too late in life to get married and have children. I’m already doing the thing where, when I meet an attractive man, I immediately zone in on his left hand to see if there’s a ring, gaging if he’s a possible husband candidate. When I spend time with my friends’ adorable children, I immediately start to feel broody.

The other path is the less serious one. Do I quit the day-job, take a year or two out and just basically become a bit of a nomad? There are still so many places I want to visit and it makes sense to do it while I have no real ties or responsibilities.

As I write this, I’m still not 100% sure, but 93.7ish% is veering into one direction. For a lot of my early twenties, I played it safe. I took the sensible job that paid decently, even though I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I made practical decisions, did what was expected of me, tried to plan life out and generally took no chances.

Now it’s time to be reckless.

One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t plan life. It took almost twenty-five years to work that out but now I realise how true it is. It’s time to ignore the needs of everyone else and be a bit more selfish. It’s time to stop thinking about what might happen in a few years time and start thinking about what is going to happen tomorrow.

So I guess the important question from all of this is, where to first?

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The Perfect Body Myth

After a very controversial “Perfect Body” campaign, Victoria’s Secrets have now put an end to it. People have had issues with the way they have paraded impossibly beautiful, slim (and probably slightly photo-shopped) models and essentially made a lot of women feel incredibly inferior. My main issue with it was with the proclamation of the “perfect” body. It’s not just Victoria’s Secret at fault here – most advertising these days uses impossibly beautiful women to flog their products, insinuating that you have to be a certain shape to be happy. It’s taken me just over 25 years to realise this, but there is actually no such thing as a perfect body.

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Like a snowflake, no two bodies are the same. People can exercise all day, every day and go through plastic surgery as much as they want, but stick two people side-by-side and there are always going to be differences. Straight away that contradicts this perfect body myth.

My second point is that beauty is subjective. Just because the modern day advertising machine tells us something is the epitome of beauty, is it really? One person’s idea of what they consider beautiful may differ greatly from the person standing next to them. Then there’s the cultural aspect to consider – one culture may consider one thing attractive but this could be the complete opposite to what a country on the other side of the world considers an attractive feature. You only need to take a look at the great Renaissance paintings to see how the concept of female beauty has changed over time. Today where size zero seems synonymous with being attractive, the subjects of these paintings had bodies that would might make them be considered “plus size” but some people (this being the days long before sit-ups and lunges) yet were considered beautiful.

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Besides, does anyone really want to chase this mythical beast that is perfect body?

I recently read an article by a woman who was doing exactly that and she discussed how having a “perfect” body made her incredibly unhappy. Society had made her believe that to be attractive, she had to be skinny so she spent a lot of time working out. However, when she was down to the weight she wanted to be, she realised her lifestyle and obsession was keeping her from having a relationship. She was so strict about what she ate, she couldn’t go out for dinner dates or generally do anything spontaneous, so her love life was non-existent. Trying to maintain this weight, she spent a lot of her free time in the gym, which in turn led to not having a social life as well.

While health is obviously really important, life is too short to become obsessed with body image. Yes, treat your body right, eat well and exercise – but don’t forget to have fun. Chocolate every so often is not going to kill you. The Victoria’s Secret Angels get that gig because they are obscenely attractive. The reason their roles are so coveted is because so few people actually fit the strict criteria. I’ve got nothing against these women. I think they are gorgeous and could happily stare at the likes of Doutzen Kroes or Alessandra Ambrosio for hours. But while they are stunning, just remember, they don’t represent to majority. And don’t forget, even these beautiful women get photo-shopped for their catalogue shoots (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/29/victorias-secret-photoshop-fail-doutzen_n_1840958.htm). If they need digitally altering, what chance to the rest of us have?

Love who you are and rock what you were given – be your own Angel. To repeat a great quote I heard recently, “don’t chase perfect, chase perfectly healthy“.