Home The Diaries My 26th Birthday

My 26th Birthday

by Daley

I am 26 years old! Ah!

I was looking back over old posts and stumbled upon this one from four years ago– I had recently turned 22 and said

‘In other news, I turned 22 last month! This probably sounds weird, but I honestly wish I were older sometimes. I’m by far the youngest person working at my school and I feel very awkward about it! I get questions about my age a lot and it makes me really uncomfortable. ‘

AHHH HAHA DALEY. It’s so funny going through my old diary style like posts–it makes me wish I had kept up with them more because when I read them I am immediately transported back to that time period.

I remember so distinctly how much I hated being the youngest both at the job I had as a Montessori English teacher at the time and in social settings. All the other language assistants I knew were in their mid or late 20s–so it’s not like it was a big age difference but I guess it was enough of a difference for comments to be made about it and I was insecure enough to let those comments bother me. I really didn’t like how me being young and married would come up so often–it was like because I was young I couldn’t really be married or it just felt like I would get patronized really easily because I was ‘so young’.

Like yes, I was very young! But now looking back I think gosh why did I let other people bother me so much?? Who cares if they were patronizing I knew what I wanted and who I loved from really early on and that is a cool thing!

Also I still am young! Baha. I still have people who are surprised that I am married and think I’m too young to be married or because I am younger think their opinion is more valuable. But I just don’t care anymore.

It’s really interesting how much a few years can make a difference. I feel so much more 〰️mature〰️ now. Of course, I still do not have everything figured out. But I do feel like I have grown. I am a lot more comfortable setting boundaries, being wise about who I spend my time with and what I put my energy into.

I do have to say while going through old posts, it is so cringe to me how I wrote about my husband, JP (also known as Jean Philippe). AHH HAHA I WAS SO OBSESSED WITH HIM. I mean, I still am! But gosh I could not stop talking about him on the blog! I guess it’s sweet but it also makes me embarrassed. I mean, to be fair, I really did treat this blog like a diary so I was just very honest about what I was feeling! But wow I had no filter. 🙈

I will take a second to gush though and say my birthday was extra special this year! JP and I have been in Provence since the beginning of April and we celebrated over here this year with his family. JP and his sister had been working on my birthday for a while and it showed. We had a beautiful tea party!! Very much my aesthetic. Also how lucky am I that my mother in law had this cute tea set and tablecloth and napkins already! My goal is to have these kinds of things on hand as well so I can spontaneously throw tea parties mwahaha.

(Sidenote–if you are going to become best friends with someone in your life, make sure you become best friends with a pastry chef. One of JP’s bffs is indeed a pastry chef in the area and made this AMAZING fraisier naked cake for my birthday. Seriously this was the best cake I have had in my life.)

I’m not really sure what this next year will bring and for the first time, I really feel okay with that. I am someone who plans out my life and I always know what ‘the next step is. This time around, I don’t really.

I finished my Master’s degree last year and I thought I was going to go right into doing the PhD. In the end though, I just felt burnt out and with restrictions and the pandemic, I didn’t want to spend another year studying at home with no access to campus or a library (or uncertain access). So, I decided to take the year off. I thought I would start my PhD this upcoming school year, but I don’t think I will in the end. To put it simply, it’s just not something I want to do right now. I did really enjoy researching for my Master’s thesis which was about the legacy of the Opium Wars and the colonization of Hong Kong as well as British-Chinese relations. Being half Chinese, it was a really cool opportunity for me to learn about Chinese history when I felt like there was so little I really knew. My PhD thesis would develop on this topic, but I don’t really see myself in a research setting right now. Maybe I’ll change my mind in the future but right now I know that’s not what I want to put my energy into. I have some other projects I am working on which I want to devote my time to instead–I’ll leave it at that and maybe tell you about my other projects when/if they pick up!

My lectrice contract also comes to an end this year! Mehh!! I really loved my lectrice experience. Working with university students was so great and even though we were on zoom most of the school year, I had a great time with them! I will really miss the campus I was working at and my colleagues and students. I have some interviews lined up so we will see if something else works out but yeah–things are really up in the air which is weird for me! All I really know is I will still be living in Bordeaux but in terms of a job–eh! On verra!

I realize me being so okay with not knowing what is going to happen is not something that is possible for everyone. I am really lucky in that if I don’t find work right away I can rely on my husband and I know I won’t have to worry about if we can pay our next bill or get groceries. So I don’t want to say ‘wow this is great I have really made progress with my anxiety!’ because while I do think that’s true, I also know a large part of the reason is that I am coming from a privileged place.

With that aspect aside though, I am just in a sort of ‘go with the flow’ mentality which is VERY STRANGE for me. But I guess we will see what this next year brings! And I’m glad I’ll have this post to look over when I turn 27…



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Mary June 10, 2021 - 3:34 am

Hi Daley! I’m a former TAPIF language assistant and I discovered your blog awhile ago. I wanted to check in on blogs I’ve followed and I realized I’ve never left a comment here! Anyhow, I love this post and I completely understand the feeling of looking back (even only a few years back) and realizing how different I feel (but also sometimes I feel like I still am a 22 year old language assistant trying to navigate life). I hope your future plans involve writing – you have such a talent. Sending birthday wishes from California!

Daley June 10, 2021 - 6:55 am

Wow Mary, thank you so much for taking the time to leave this lovely comment This really inspires me to keep posting and sharing! So cool to hear from a former TAPIF assistant too. Thank you for the birthday wishes and I hope I hear again from you soon.


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