"As I write this, I turn 20... My 19th year has been a wild one.."
Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March last year.
She has now turned those columns into a book Lockdown Observed: Becoming an Adult Without Leaving the House.
The pandemic robbed Jenny of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).
Here is her latest contribution.
"As I write this, I turn 20. That feels strange. It’s a nice strange, because obviously I get cake and gifts and everything feels a bit more exciting, but also a bit of a strange strange, because whereas before I felt that I could use the teenager card for silly mistakes and mishaps, I am now ‘in my twenties’ and most definitely an adult now. Despite this, I still feel like a twelve-year-old and was still delighted to wake up and find a carrot cake and gifts on the dining room table. I have been told countless times by those much older than me that once you reach a certain age time seems to hurtle by at one-hundred-miles-an-hour, however I wouldn’t disagree with this idea even at twenty. On the basis that I may live to age eighty I am already one quarter of the way through my life. Now I am sounding a bit deep and philosophical, but I am deliriously typing this on the train journey to five hours’ worth of lessons on my birthday, so I’m going to let this one slide.
"My nineteenth year has been a wild one. Lockdowns, first year university exams, publishing a book, moving between four different homes – much like my brain, it was non-stop and constantly surprising me with unexpected twists and turns. Reaching the halfway point between 10 and 30 is a particularly horrifying notion – ten years ago I was convinced that by twenty my life would be picture perfect, and to be honest part of me still holds that stereotype about turning 30. (30+ year olds I give you permission to laugh and close the tab.) It can often feel like we hold such big expectations about birthdays and changes in decade when in reality once the time comes we might have achieved something incredible but oftentimes there are still ups and downs and challenges that come with any period of our lives.
"I feel very blessed with what I have but I will always manage to point out flaws or what I wish was different, but I think that’s the same for everyone, isn’t it? Particularly in the past year it has been a true challenge to find the positives whereas the negatives stare you in the face daring you to look anywhere else.
"Anyway, my train is nearing the campus so I should probably wrap up this slightly egoistic, rather cringe inducing ramble. Birthdays are a funny one, aren’t they. As you grow older they become slightly less like the most exciting day in the universe and more of a small treat, but regardless there’s always that bizarre feeling of stepping one more year into life. In ten years, I’ll be thirty. And then forty. Hmmm. Don’t know how to feel about that."