This is me aged 23, in October 2009. It’s from one of my early blog posts, back in the days I was working as a copywriter in a digital agency, living in a dingy flat and spending my limited funds in charity shops.
This is me aged 28, in March 2014. I run my own business, I’m married, I live in a house not a flat and can now drink red wine without wincing.
I’ve been writing this blog for almost 5 years, throughout my early twenties. Those years mark a period of huge change for most people – you’re done with university, you have your first ‘real’ job, might meet your life partner, suffer through break-ups and redundancies and struggle to pay 100% council tax for the first time. When I started A Little Bird Told Me I was in a job I found very difficult, commuting long distances for not very much money, feeling generally under-valued and a bit lost. The blog was a way to channel my thoughts and escape from the insecurities that come with being 23 and only having one foot on the bottom rung of a very high career ladder.
In the early days, the focus of this blog was on thriftiness – I loved charity shops and car boot sales, Primark tea dresses and cheap shoes. I wore something different in every single post and although I was shopping cheaply, I was spending a hell of a lot of money on things that didn’t last three wears. I had all the time in the world to browse the high street and shopping was a solace from an unfulfilling job. Despite having this online persona as a ‘thrifty’ blogger, I was very reckless with my money and every month would end with tears as I willed payday around.
In 2012 I left my agency job to go freelance, and have since built a successful business. Priorities changed. Free time became limited. Bank balances became healthier. These things, combined with becoming a happier, more confident person, changed me. Getting married changed me. Growing older changed me. Meeting new people changed me.
When you document your life online, people feel like they know you. As bloggers, we share so much of ourselves and develop friendships with those who read our blogs. But although our online personas are preserved forever in our archives, the people we are in real life can often be starkly different to those we started out as. I was 15 when I started writing about my life on Open Diary and the person I am now is worlds away from who I was then, or who I was at 23 when I started this blog. Which is how it should be – life is about growing and changing, learning from experiences and using them to move forward.
I don’t write about second hand shopping any more. It’s no longer relevant, just like The Spice Girls and bootcut jeans are no longer relevant. I’m not the person I was at 23, and thank God for that. That period of my life is captured forever through words and pictures, but that time has gone. I’m different now – still me, but older. A bit wiser. Definitely healthier. And much, much happier.
Have you grown up online?