I have distinct memories of hitting the slopes (with skis and face) as a youngster; my Dad clipping Edgy-Wedgies onto my stubby skis, guiding me down the runs, and feeding me frozen Cherry Ripes when I got irritable (which was often). He would carve a path down the mountain and my sister and I would follow unquestioningly because, as with everything else, we put utmost faith in his judgement.
Usually when I wake up on my birthday I feel exactly the same as the day before. Not any older, not any wiser. This year was a little different; my raging hangover was a stark reminder that I’m definitely getting on. Apparently, gone are the days when a morning Gatorade solves all ills.
My college had a Heaven and Hell Bop on the Friday evening, so when the clock struck midnight I turned into a 24 year old tequila-shotting pumpkin in a Hieronymus Bosch-meets-geriatric ward scene (equal parts people in devil horns/macabre face-paint/neon wifebeaters and those in white gowns/cupid diapers/cotton ball cloud costumes). Yikes.
They say that age is just a number. And it is. Just a number. A number that’s directly representative of how much time you’ve spent on the Earth and suggestive of how much time you’ll have before you cark it.
In a few days’ time I will be 24. This is a scary age for me because I haven’t yet produced a hilarious off-Broadway hit that lands me in an Office-esque writer’s room (Mindy Kaling at 24), made a Sundance-acclaimed mockumentary romcom playing a fictionalised version of myself alongside Michael Cera (Charlyne Yi at 24), or shot to international stardom and pissed off a Grazia editor by wearing a giant bow on my head at a Dior Couture show (Tavi Gevinson at 13)…so of course it’s time to stress.
That said, with each passing year there is an accumulated wisdom that assures me that my almost-quarter-century hasn’t been wasted. Some of the Rules of Life that I’ve discovered so far:
From Britain to British Columbia! The journey took almost 24 hours, and included a 9 hour flight to Calgary next to the most garrulous geezer I’ve ever encountered (I now have 9 hours worth of wetland frog facts and a disturbingly vivid account of how the throbbing pain of sebaceous cysts changes with altitude), a tussle with unsympathetic ground staff (who insisted on frisking and bomb-testing me at snail’s pace even though my connection flight was already boarding), and a Home Alone-style dash through Calgary Airport. I arrived in Whistler Village bleary-eyed, but ridiculously excited.