This will be my last birthday as a Derham

Just a few more days until my last birthday as a Derham.

It'll also be my last birthday as a Durham/Dereham/Durhem/Dearham and all the other crazy variations I get on a daily basis.

I swear I've had my name misspelt/mispronounced so many times, I'm not even sure what the right way is anymore!

I absolutely love my birthday, I always have.  Back in the old school MSN days I'd have a birthday countdown in my MSN display name from about 250 days.

This year's celebrations have extra poignancy not just because I'll be turning the ripe old age of 25, but because it's the last time I'll be sent cards addressed to 'Miss N J Derham'.

In my life plan, that I drafted in my late teens, I always imagined I would be married by 25.  When that seemed like the impossible dream, I scrapped the plan and put to bed my 'goals' by which I wanted a house, a baby etc.  I convinced myself that I'd be knocking on the door of my 30s before a wedding was even an option.

Now, just days away from turning 25, and our wedding is just over six months away.

This time next year, I'll be getting cards in the post addressed to 'Mrs N J Kershaw'.  Crikey, when you put a 'Mrs' in front of my name it makes me sound/feel well old!!

I used to always think that 25 was old.  Meeting people in their mid-20s as a teenager, they felt so much older than you.  So much more mature, together and grown-up.  I sometimes can embody these traits, but the rest of the time my life is just as much of a mess as 10 years ago.

I still get crabby when I haven't had enough sleep, I still have absolutely no idea about anything to do with mortgages and interest rates and variables and all that jargon, and I still have to Google how long to boil an egg to make it nice and runny.

Maybelline dream matte mousse is still my go-to day-to-day foundation, I still don't know how to do a French plait and I still just want my mum when I'm sick.

When people ask me how old I am, I have to take a second to remember.  The first thing I want to say is '19'.  But I'm almost closer to 30 than I am to 19 - that's scary!!

Since I was 19 I've been through university, graduated, worked at a job I love in my dream career for over two years, bought a house, got engaged, got two cats, and so much more besides.  It's crazy that so much has happened in six years, yet I don't feel any different.  Except being unable to drink the same as I used to.  And maybe a bit poorer.  How did I have more money as a student than I do working full-time?!

My Timehop is a daily reminder at the moment of three years of outlandish freshers fun when I was at uni.  While I cringe most days, questioning what it was that ever possessed me to post some of the things I did, I have to smile to myself at the amazing experiences I had.  While they do feel like they were one really long, sometimes stressful, dream; they were some of the best days of my life.

Now, here I am about to turn 25.  I don't feel it, though, and I certainly don't think I look it.  Especially if the incident in the gym the other week is anything to go by...

Me and my best friend were in there one night after work and one of the staff members approached us and asked our age.  It transpired that he thought we were under 16 and was going to try and throw us out for being in the gym past our 'allotted time'.

We couldn't believe it!  Almost 25 and being mistaken for being 15.  I must look more like a 15-year-old now than I did 10 years ago, because I was always mistaken for being older.

Age is a funny thing.  The older you get, the less it matters.  That doesn't mean I won't be milking the celebrations and prolonging it for as long as possible.  Meals out with family and friends, drinks with Tom, some nice days out, and a hell of a lot of cake.

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