Today I turn 25. Assuming I make it to 100, I am officially a quarter of the way through my life and I find myself looking back at the experiences I’ve had with nothing but joy. I don’t personally believe in “luck” but I do believe I’m fortunate. I’m fortunate in that I was born into a loving and supportive family who encourage and support me. I’m fortunate in that I’ve made some of the best friends anyone in this world could ask for and I’m fortunate in that I have never suffered in my life the way that some people have. I think it’s important now more than ever to look at my life for the awesome ride it’s been so far, and so, year by year, here are my memories of a quarter life.
One Born the fourth child to two relaxed and supportive parents and became the brother to three excellent siblings.
Two I mistakenly thought it would be a good idea to wear a dress and swing on my swing set outside. My mother has still never let me live it down and she tells it to almost every person she meets. Embarrassing, but kids will be kids.
Three Thrown into a swimming pool by my father, unaided and untrained and came back to the surface a swimmer.
Four Taught to read by a great Aunt who used a Titanic history book as a learning material, so was born a love of reading and of Titanic, which incidentally hit the iceberg the day I was born.
Five Sang More Than Words by Extreme accompanied by my father on guitar. To this day the tape it still passed around at family occasions and will forever remain one of my fondest memories of my father.
Six & Seven I remember these years being FILLED with Pokemon obsession. To this day I still play it, watch it and read it. Six and Seven were years I watched the show, bought masses of cards, begged for a GameBoy so I could play and when that failed I’d go into the garden and throw tennis balls and pretend I was in the Pokemon universe for hours.
Eight At eight I was taken to Disneyland for the first time by my grandmother with my mum and my sister. I remember my sister and I wearing really typical nineties luminous shell suit attire as was fashionable in the north of England. While my memories of the actual park are fuzzy, I remember my grandmother offering out mini apple pies for two days straight, furthermore, I remember being terrified of the cowboy who threatened to shoot me at breakfast. Incidentally, Disneyland is one of my favourite places, I went to the Hong Kong Disneyland four times.
Nine The same great Aunt who basically taught me to read also owned a giant house with a huge art room. I remember vividly spending a whole day with my mum and my sister, making a replica of the Titanic out of cardboard and paper. It lived in our attic for years afterwards. Still to this day does the Titanic obsession remain.
Ten Discovered my favourite band in the whole world, The Cranberries. My dad played the CD in the car for three hours on a return trip from the Lake District and from the second I heard those Irish overtones and the voice that puts every other singer to shame, I was hooked
Eleven Picked to be “the Lion” in my Primary Schools production of The Wizard of Oz. At eleven, this was a humongous deal! I was epic and many people did tell me I should go into acting. The writer in me won out. Eleven was also the year I gained a real addiction to Marvel and the X Men. This, along with the Pokemon addiction is still going very strong.
Twelve As much as I hated High School, passionately and deeply, one of my fondest memories is the year I spent under the tutelage of one of the best teacher I have ever met. She is still to this day a woman I talk about fondly and will never forget how she pushed me and gave me confidence in a place I literally despised.
Thirteen As a budding grunge-wannabe, my sister took me to my first ever gig, The Distillers. I remember being terrified for a while until the music started and the mosh pits were ago. I danced and grunged and just always have this memory in the front of my mind.
Fourteen My whole family ditched work and school to take me to Alton Towers for my fourteenth birthday. As a major lover of theme parks, it was just the best day! Not only because I didn’t have to go to school, but because this was pre-divorce so it’s also sort of one of my last memories of my parents together.
Fifteen This was the year I discovered both Christopher Pike books and Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I was addicted to these books, ADDICTED. I read them and re-read them again and again. I still have copies and they follow me around the world. I highly recommend.
Sixteen Won the Governors Award for Outstanding Contribution at a school that I had hated for five years. High School was most assuredly not a time in my life I’d like to recall but I got through it and it worked out for the best with the award and all.
Seventeen Studied my brain off in one of the best colleges in the North West of England. The work was hard, the lessons intensive but my first year of being surrounded by people who all wanted to be educated was so refreshing.
Eighteen Accepted to the University of Surrey, currently number four in the league tables. Moving from the North was a little bit hard but once I met the people I would go on to call my second family I never doubted for a second that moving was the best decision. Oh, and this is the year I met Sir Ian McKellen! Hero!
Nineteen & Twenty Nineteen and Twenty were harder years for me for personal reasons. I got very drunk, I partied hard and I became a night owl. Of the best memories, I think this one is getting through these two years and coming out of the other end happy and functional.
Twenty-One Spent my birthday in New York with some of my closest friends and went on to graduate with Honours. Furthermore, this was the year I went to see both The Cranberries and Florence and the Machine live in concert!
Twenty-Two Moved to Hong Kong and began my official adventure in Asia. It was a huge leap and it was one I, for whatever reason, had not one ounce of fear about.
Twenty-Three Worked hard, made some amazing friends from all over the world and travelled to Vietnam, Myanmar, China and Macau.
Twenty-Four Promoted to Head Teacher in my job, my first real step up in an industry I genuinely enjoy and care about.
Twenty-Five Today I woke up having achieved one of my two biggest dreams, I live in Japan. I have two beautiful nieces, a brand new nephew, a whacky but supportive family, good friends and good health. While this list is in no way conclusive and there are countless other memories and people that could have been included, I think it’s evident that the first quarter of my life was spent mostly in bliss.