Adulting (-ish) at 33

Have you been doing much reflecting lately, now that’s your birthday? Donna asked.

No, not this year. I said and I smiled. I have done my reflecting earlier this year, when I was about to make huge life-changing decisions .

Though I have a vague plan and it just feels right, I’m still terrified, anxious and sometimes stay up at night, wondering whether I should do sometime more ‘sensible’. But let’s not talk about that right now. (*takes deep breath).

So hm hm (*clears throat) my thoughts on turning 33: I don’t feel any older than a year ago. I actually feel younger and I don’t feel I’m a ‘proper’ adult, or at least what the most imagine being an adult means.

Not that I care. I can’t wait to get out of the office and try and make living doing things I enjoy, with people I love. Because, really, that’s what life is about and honestly, every day passes by is one day less until I’m dead.

As my favourite Fleabag once said:

What did Jesus do by the time he was 33?

He died. That’s all he did.

So my Jesus year as I call it will be an adventure to say the least! Even if I die at the end of it, I’ll die happy.

I’m still non the wiser and most of the time I pretend I know how to navigate through life…

but for now, I’m spending most of my time having fun (and panicking) with my friends in Southampton I will dearly miss when I leave…

and indulging in delicious food.

If there’s anything I learnt from 33 years on this planet is that life is too short to spend in an office or worry about what others think or succumb to social pressures to be something you don’t wan’t to be or with someone you don’t want to be with. You don’t have to be an ‘adult’ the way society dictates, you can adult your own, special way.

Just be you, love and laugh, laugh until it hurts.



Falling in love with London again- Birthday brunch at Borough market, shopping and giggles

Monday, 21st of May

I just woke up. I checked my phone, sweet, wonderful messages from friends, family, even people I didn’t expect to hear from. I’ll check them out later. I need to get up. 

One of the first ones I read makes me giggle. I’m so lucky to have such awesome friends. Remember that next time you doubt yourself.

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Birthdays, the one day most people remember you. I always found the idea of birthdays a bit… surreal. Why do we celebrate getting older once a year? And why do we care if people remember our birthdays? Why do I care?

Artemis got me a gift. It’s been wrapped up, on the hotel’s tiny, shiny dressing table since Friday, waiting for today to open it.

She is one of my best friends and she knows me very well. So, of course I loved it. A handmade notebook. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. I can’t wait to start using it.

(Thank you Andrea Illustration for my simply stunning wonderful gift)

My new notebook

After our last breakfast (we are leaving early for the airport tomorrow, no time for food) at the hotel we get ready and off we go. It’s sunny and warm. Perfect day to wear my favourite floral cardigan and rose earrings. 

We are heading to my favourite food market in London, Borough market. Freshly made smoothies, gourmet chocolates, delicious doughnuts, heavenly smelling street food, specialty tea, flowers, cheese, a lot of cheese, just some of the goodies you can find there.

My idea of heaven.

I remember the first time I’ve been to Borough Market. A sunny summer day in 2015. Costas loved doughnuts and I scoured the web to find the best ones in London, since we were about to visit. I found an article on ‘The 10 best doughnuts to try in London’ and one of them was the salted caramel and honeycomb doughnut by Bread Ahead Bakery. They had a stall at Borough market, one of the best food markets in London. Decided then. That will be our first stop. I tell Costas. He is not too bothered about it. Why am I even trying?

I went there just for the doughnuts but I left with much more. I was in awe. I loved everything about it. The rest of that day was not as exciting, we had a heated argument which almost ruined the awesome plan I made for the day but I was so proud and happy I discovered this market (and the Hunterian museum, and Brick Lane market, thoroughly recommend!), it didn’t matter much if I was right (I was) or wrong or how his behaviour made me feel. If it were for him we wouldn’t have seen any of this. I wish I realised then how unhappy I was and ended it much sooner. But better late than never right? I wonder how many people are in unhappy relationships but don’t realise…

I’ve been to Borough market a couple of times since, and I loved every single one of them.

After devouring-ish (we couldn’t finish them!) our delicious tomato, pesto and mozzarella sandwiches and grabbing a salted caramel and honeycomb doughnut and cinnamon bun for later,  we wandered in Oxford Street going in and out of shops. We must have spent an hour or so laughing whilst trying sunglasses in TK Maxx. We left with a couple of pairs each, just because we look supercool in them.

We used to love shopping in our early 20s. Now we do as little as possible. How people change when they grow up and stop caring too much about clothes and other materialistic needs  that don’t matter anymore.

Whilst Artemis was in Primark shopping for her little one, I opted for a cup of coffee and a piece of fruit cake and caught up with my birthday messages.

I accidentally opened a work-related email. I don’t check my emails when I’m off work, how did this happen?

And I find out, Dave, our boss is leaving. Very soon. He is going to the Asian University of Women, in Bangladesh, very soon. How soon is very soon? 

I couldn’t believe it. I message Donna, she confirms. Almost instantly I feel sad. Happy for him, this is once in a lifetime opportunity at an inspirational University, they are so lucky to have him, but so so sad he is leaving.

You don’t come across people like him often. I’ll write about it when I get the chance. He deserves a whole post.

When we were done with shopping it was time for Artemis to finally try Wagamama for the first time. One of the few chains I like. I tried their udon noodles, because one of the greatest pleasures in life is tasting food you’ve never tasted before. That very first bite, when you don’t know what to expect…and then… the explosion of flavours in your mouth, followed by the almost reflective ‘mmmm’, the universal sign of delicious food…


We spent our last evening packing, chatting, planning our next adventure, a perfect end to my 32nd birthday, I day I’ll always remember.

Tuesday, 22nd of May

We got up very early. We are so sleepy we can barely see. We somehow make it to the airport, after a packed tube and train ride.

I love London and the last three days have been amazing. It always makes me want to move here. But that packed tube and train ride persuades me otherwise. I couldn’t possibly do this every day… or maybe I can, I guess it’s all about getting used to it. We humans are incredible adjusting, adapting…I can get used to it. But what if I don’t? I thought I’d get used to having a flatmate but I still hate it… maybe some things you can’t get used to… or maybe it takes more time. Why am I thinking of this now? I’m not even moving to London!!!

I walk Artemis to the security check gates, give her a big hug  and wave her goodbye.

I’m on my own again. I feel a bit lost. I had a cry. I’m so grateful, blessed to have spent the last three days with one of my favourite humans.

I still don’t know how I feel about turning 32. One moment I’m happy I’m alive, healthy and I’m not stuck in a miserable relationship, I have awesome friends and family who love me, I get to do whatever I want to and I have a job it pays well enough so I can live on my own again, next minute I feel bad I haven’t figured out what I want to do for a living yet, sad that I may never have my own family, since I’m now in my early thirties, but I won’t compromise just for the sake of it, I deserve better, worried that I won’t get to travel as much as I want to, I’ll never have enough money to follow my dreams and the list goes on…

One day at a time dear…

After a quick coffee, I head back to Southampton.

I finally finished reading Love In The Time Of Cholera. I cried again. I’m not sure what to think of Florentino Ariza and his lifetime love for Fermina. It’s sad, it’s so sad, how can someone love another human for 40 years and still chase her in his 70s even though she rejected him so many times? Was it a happy ending? Was it sad? Bittersweet I guess. Like life. A happy melancholy…hah



Dating in my thirties

I didn’t know if I wanted to go ahead and post this today. The news of my friend’s dad’s death (whose 30th birthday is actually today, how horrible to lose your dad just before your 30th) shook me to the core. She is an expat as I am and her dad lived miles away, as mine does. It’s the first time I empathised so much with someone, I could feel her pain in every cell of my body and my brain. I can still feel it. As if it was my dad. If it was my dad, I would be lying on the floor, in the dark, crying my eyes out. I hope she is OK and coping as best as she can.

I’m still upset, but life goes on. The best thing to do after the death of a loved one is to remind ourselves how damn short life is and keep going. Here it goes…

I was never really a big fan of Valentine’s day. Love should be celebrated every day. Not just romantic love, but all kinds of love.

Instead I decided to write how dating is for me, with all my quirks, at my age.

And it is different when you are in your thirties.

The era of online dating

I’m not actively trying to date. And one of the main reasons is because I heavily dislike online dating. I know I shouldn’t, I know that’s the most common way people meet nowadays, especially at my age, but there are so many weirdos online (not sure if there are more weirdos online than in real life, that’s debatable), after a couple of attempts I gave up. And messaging five guys at the same time to decide who I want to go out with, whilst they do the same, doesn’t appeal to me. I want to feel special, not just another person they chat up. I’m old school, I love the feeling when you first meet someone and your heart is pounding so loud you can hear it, the nervousness and excitement. That’s why I probably never find anyone I really fancy.

My precious

Can he be the one?

You still want to have fun but in the back of your head you think ‘Will this work long-term? Can I imagine being with this person longer than a couple of months?’, ‘Is he my lobster?‘ If like me starting a family and having a couple of little ones running around is one of the things on your bucket list then dating the wrong person in your thirties can be a waste of time, although you still want to have fun and enjoy life.


How do you know then? I’m not sure myself but in my head it’s something like this:

You just ‘click’ from the moment you first meet. You talk to each other all the time, you can’t wait to see each other, you get butterflies just thinking about each other, you have a lot in common, you laugh with the same things, the conversation is open and honest from day one and everything it’s just easy. You make each other feel special and somehow it doesn’t fade away after a week or two. You surprise each other, turn at each other’s door, and every day is fun and different. And he would somehow know I love pink roses (Ok that bit is too far stretched to ever happen). Sounds amazing. A rom-com plot. Well, it rarely happens and even if it does, sometimes it happens at the wrong time in your life.

The older, the wiser, the fussier

The older you get the fussier you become. I know myself very well, and that doesn’t always come with age, I worked hard on self-awareness and I know what I’d absolutely dislike in a partner, from simple things like long fingernails to coldness, emotionally unavailable, lying and arrogance. And I know what I’d want, being as open and honest as I am, having a laugh (probably the most important), feel challenged intellectually, like the same films, impeccable music taste, talented (music, writing, cooking, anything creative always gets me), creative, expressive, incredibly well smelling, loves good food and the list goes on. If I were to choose my dream man he would probably be a hybrid of Dan Smith’s (Bastille) voice and quirky looks, Derren Brown’s intelligence, Louis Theroux’s charisma and Cedric Grolet’s baking skills. Not asking for much.

Just the right amount of craziness

I was never attracted to normal, conventional people. Which comes with risks. And it almost never works out, with the exception of my seven year long relationship. See, people with temperamental personalities are so unpredictable, they end up messing you up. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever find someone with just the right amount of craziness. Maybe one day I’ll find the James to my Alyssa.

Right crazy

Can I trust you?

That’s probably the hardest part of dating. I’m pretty smart, if I say so myself, which is one of my downfalls because I tend to overthink EVERYTHING, but intelligence doesn’t help when it comes to matters of the heart. I’m open and honest and I unfortunately sometimes trust people too easily and I believe everything they say. Being open makes you vulnerable. On one hand if you don’t let your guard down and trust the other person they’ll probably give up eventually, and that happened to me in the past, that’s why I learned to let people in, on the other hand you may trust and believe them but turns out they were lying all along to get you into bed.

I have a story to tell you on that, a recent experience that disturbed my mental wellbeing, for a while. I’ll post just about that soon, when I’m completely over it and I can share what I learned without any hard feelings.

What about sex?

Chemistry is essential. No matter how incredibly well you may get along with someone, if you don’t want to rip each other’s clothes off and the sex is consistently bad, there is no point. You may as well just be friends.

I’m one of those people that hates one-night stands, they are awkward and never enjoyable, for me anyway. I’m still surprised that some people are so bad at it, even ‘players’. Sex is one of the greatest joys in life and if it doesn’t make your toes curl, walk away. And word of advice, always always use condom.

Too good at goodbyes?

Being single and living on my own for two years now, I’ve reached a point I absolutely love my me time and my life as it is right now. And with everything else that comes with age, mainly being fussier, it gets harder and harder to meet someone I’d gladly give up my own precious time to make an effort to date them. I’ve met people over the last two years who I didn’t even bother getting to know and just let them go. It is much easier to move on rather than try, especially if you are not attracted to them instantly or it’s too much effort. Sad but true.

So what do I do?

Dating should be fun no matter your age. It is tougher when you are in your thirties, there is a lot to think about and there will always be f***boys around, you ‘ll get your heart broken many a times but that’s life. You have to walk through the mud and dog shit to reach the meadow. And God there is a lot of shit out there. But unless you want to spend your life in a cave, hiding from the world (trust me sometimes I desperately want to do that), you have to take the leap, get out and give people a chance.

And one day you’ll find that one person who is perfect for you. The one who’ll love you for who you are and will never get tired to show that to you. The one who will make everything easy. As my favourite professor Marios Adonis would say ‘Relationships are not a walk in the park but if it’s too much work, walk out. Love should be easy’.

I don’t really believe the ‘one’ exists, that’s just a myth. But it’s amazing when you meet someone you get along with from day one. I hope one day that’ll happen to me.

The Royal Tenenbaums

I’m so happy I’m more mature now and although rejection and being taken advantage is never easy to take, I don’t try to make sense and ask for answers anymore. I just learn and move on. I love myself too much to let anyone make me doubt myself. And I have a lovingly, amazingly support network, friends and family.

I’m not avoiding dating but I’m not desperate to date anyone either. I am getting older and I’d like to have a family by the time I’m 40 but if it doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world. It’s not worth the compromise. I’d rather be single rather be with someone just because I want family.

Two years ago, around this time, when I reflected on what I learned from my relationships and my mistakes, I made a promise to myself.

I promised I’ll never lose myself in a relationship ever again, but next time I’ll be with someone, I’ll forget all the dos and don’ts, (‘is it too soon? is it too fast? is it too slow?’). I’ll be honest and open and I’ll just be myself, with all my flaws from the beginning, I’ll trust and love with all my heart, it will be fun and crazy, a big adventure. But I’ll only do that if I meet someone who inspires me and makes me feel that way.

If I meet that someone, I’ll go for it. If not, I’m happy with my life as it is. Everything is as it should be as my gal Adriene would say.



PS. Thank you to the lovely Lou for the warmest hug she gave me first thing in the morning, just what I needed, to Lee and Sarah for all the laughs and to Linda and Donna for taking care of me today.