Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens
On October 27th I turned 24. It was my first birthday to arrive distinctly too soon.
On the inside I’m still 23. Not 24. I mean I don’t feel 24. 24 isn’t even a number I like. 22 wasn’t either. I’m now mostly excited for 27. For 30 and 33 and 41. Maybe multiples of three and other friends? Either way I’m a little disgruntled to have hit this milestone before what seemed like my due time. I should have achieved more by now. It all should look a bit more “together”. There should at least be a clear direction I’m heading in. Some kind of a plan. Maybe a 9-to-5? A mortgage? A more considerable clue about the ins and outs of mid-twenty-something-life? But no such luck. The leaflet or letter is yet to arrive and I’m yet to be inducted in adulthood.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post that was not my most uplifting. It was honest and vulnerable and I admitted I was struggling. I’d received lots of crappy news that week, had a particularly painful evening and then Trump got elected. And in the midst of it all – looking at further education fees, the job market and housing prices, I felt pretty confused and lost and frustrated. And in the weeks that followed, it seemed as though everyone I spoke to had the same thing to say. “I’m sorry you’re feeling that way. I’m feeling it too”.
Now, after a week of clutching coffee cups – holding hot drinks like open hearts, sharing words that stumble out and string-up like a laundry line of lost and hurt and confused conversations – I’m not certain I know a single mid-twenty-something person that feels quite comfortable in their mid-twenty-something skin. In their newly-graduated shoes; their oh-my-it’s-actually-been-two-years-since-I-graduated-and-I’m-still-with-my-parents-in-this-sh***y-job-shoes. Life doesn’t look as on track as we’d always like. Whatever that looks like. We’re not 100% on what we’re doing. But we’re meandering. And for me one of the saving graces in this weird in-between time is the words “me too”. It’s like that moment in that book, in that chapter, on that page; when you read those words and realise you’re not the only one. The universe feels just a little bit smaller and you a more connected part of it. Just cause of “me too”.
To celebrate my birthday (or perhaps distract me from my quarter-life crisis?) Matt and I went to Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens. We walked the grounds, revelling in the season’s colours; in the pieces of art we’d find around each corner, in the camera obscura shed and wide-open white skyspace temple. It sounds a bit basic (or maybe just bizarre?) but I can find myself completely transformed as a person – almost internally enchantment – by the colours, shapes, light and design I find myself surrounded by. Somehow certain shades, certain styles, certain exposures of the sun just make more sense to me. It’s like catching a visual “me too” in my setting; something in you lights up and suddenly you’re more connected. More a part of this big cosmic sea.
For lunch we hit up Tremenheere Kitchen; Matt enjoying a goats cheese and beetroot salad, whilst I tucked into a coffee and walnut gateau (because fyi cake is completely acceptable for any meal on your birthday). I may have also had a cider and promptly realised that since my university days my tolerance for alcohol has lowered significantly. So after lunch (with a little more swagger in my step and fire in my belly) we had a peruse of their gallery-like shop and plant nursery. Both seriously beautiful spaces I would visit on their own – also maybe for another cheeky slice of cake.
And speaking of cake! A couple of weeks later, when my diary was considerably freer, I decided to bake myself a birthday cake. I had the house to myself that evening, warm with the first log burner fire of the season. And with sleeves rolled up, it was clear that the best way to spend those dark, cosy hours was with a wooden spoon and fancy-ass recipe you half made up yourself. Based on several I’d found online, the said cake was almond, rosemary and citrus in flavour, with herby honey mascarpone frosting. And whilst it really wasn’t the best thing I’d ever baked, it was perhaps among the most therapeutic. Also turns out, having a multi-tiered-thoroughly-iced cake in your fridge, that you slice into every evening for supper, will do wonders for your sense of well-being!
Portraits by Salty Sea. Co