Dear July, five & six: on turning 24.

Monday, July 6

A note: so, this post is a little introspective. The beginning of July always feels like a second New Year to me because of my birthday - meaning: a time for looking again and refocusing. (I shall widen my gaze tomorrow). But the ‘something I noticed’ comes in the form of these pictures. Yesterday my Mum and I left the house without realising we’d dressed up as opposites of each other. We often match unintentionally. Whether in clothes, ideas or our reactions to things my Dad says. Poor man. (‘What do you think of that car?’ ‘Hideous. It looks like a wasp.’ ‘Mm. That’s what your Mum said.’) 

Anyway – it reminded me a little of this illustration by Sara Soderholm. So when we got home, we tried to recreate the picture. 

Dear July,

I turned twenty-four yesterday. It was the first of my 20-something years that I’ve been able to greet with a tip of the hat – ‘Well hello there, two four. How’d you do?’ – rather than with panic. My last evening as a nineteen year old (back in the day) was spent tucked behind cream coloured curtains on a window-sill, sort of (slightly pathetically) crying into the knees of my pyjamas because I couldn’t believe I’d let myself get to twenty without having Everything figured out yet. (Whatever that means. Still not sure.)

The person I’d like to be at twenty four is still more interesting than I am. She’s wiser. She’s written more. She isn’t so awkward. She’s less of a klutz. Her bedroom is tidier. Her hair’s not so frizzy. She doesn’t dance round the edges so much – she just says what she thinks: bam. She’s kinder. And wittier. And she probably doesn’t fall asleep at least one night a week on the sofa fully-dressed (a habit I seem to have picked up only this last year. Send help). She’s a lot less hesitant. She takes more risks.

But, hey.

I’m trying to treat these ‘could be betters’ with good grace. I might not speak fluent French. But, among other things... I did travel halfway across the world by myself this year to visit good friends. I built a website. I learned how to carve a pumpkin. I navigated the Paris Metro singlehandedly. I taught a class. I house-sat for my sister and her fiancé for a week and managed not to kill their cats. (That’s something, right?)

So welcome, twenty four. I’ll try and grow into you. May you be filled with light and love and may I write so much in the space of your 365 days that this novel I'm working on will be so close to completion that the words will sing.

Today's poem: One Art by Elizabeth Bishop. (Quite a lot of these poems seem to be about losing. Any suggestions for ones about being allowed to keep things?)


  1. i just get you!!! keep writing - you're doing awesome things

    1. Oh thank-you, friend :) thanks for reading!


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