December 2007 and my new apartment is packed with people drinking and discussing the party we just got back from. An after-party was where it all was and all those sleepless nights and come down mornings watching Sex and the City until I feel ok to fall asleep and wake up fresh for another party. Repetition of days like this left a big hangover cloud still hanging over my ’30s.
No, I don’t go out partying anymore, but I do miss it at times. Most of my clubbing days are left for holidays in Ibiza which I also skipped this year. I do, however, keep thinking that I should go to a London rave on my own and experience how it feels. I’ve never done that, and it could be an exciting experience as most of the other out of the comfort zone activities I’ve been getting myself up to this year.
Would I get the same rush like the first time I entered Wet Yourself after-party at Aquarium? The beats of music pumping through my veins, making me move uncontrollably with my heart raising a tad faster with each beat. The dancefloor dark with neon lights beaming across the room packed with people that shared the same feeling an underlying love for dancing nights away drinking and taking whatever someone in the group was willing to share. We were strangers that looked after each other because we shared the same vibe and love for music.
I worked in a pub in Mayfair for good three years which allowed me to sleep through the days, mostly work evening shifts, have an after-work drink and meet some of my friends at a party in Brick Lane. I’d use tips I made from being friendly to wealthy brokers of Hanover Square for beer, cigarettes and club entry. London was cheaper back then.
I learned how to budget because I was still going to university that I had to pay myself, living in a flatshare in East London meant that I needed to think fast and find ways to have fun lifestyle still and go out 4 times a week and at the same time upkeep my studies and pass my exams whilst paying bills on time. I moved here alone, and I had no one to help me.
It never felt like a challenge, and I always made my deadlines, paid my bills on time and had money to go out. I didn’t buy clothes all the time because something had to give, but I did browse the Asos and Topshop website on daily daydreaming about all the clothes that I will buy in the future. Looking back now, one thing that I had was a strong desire to live a life in freedom and travel the world, but I had no idea what will it be. I always had writing as a long-distance dream and at the back of my mind, and I think I have Carrie Bradshaw to blame for that.
Sex and the City defined my teens and 20s. I am having grown up with conservative Serbian partners where, as a teenager, I had to be home by 10 pm on the dot. Watching Sex and the City was a mean of escapism and dreaming of the days where I will roam the streets of big cities dressed up, dating and discussing it all with my friends at brunch. Little did I know that his will shape the next 15 years of my life. I can’t help but see a pattern here, a clear pattern where all of my daydreams no matter how unrealistic they seemed at the time turned into the reality that I live now. The desire mixed with daydreaming truly makes magic, but I never knew this in my teens or 20’s, but this didn’t let me stop.
One night at a party at Bar 54, just off Brick Lane, I met a boy. He was Spanish and one of my biggest mistakes, however, he introduced me to the world of DJs. Well, he was a bedroom DJ himself (a term used to describe a man who DJs in his bedroom) who got me to go to even more parties including my favourite and never missed the Secret Sudanze at the Cross and Key in Kings Cross. Secret Sundaze was my favourite day party and never lost until they closed the venue. Oh, what a shame that was and I had to find a new resident party to attend every week. By now I have developed a good network of DJ friends until one day one of them suggested we make our party.
My eyes lit up, and I could feel the excitement brewing up in me, and I said yes. Omg, I was so excited, and this was the answer to my dreams. I have finally found a way to uphold my partying lifestyle and have enough money to pay for my school. I will make parties for a living. So I did for the next four years, and it was terrific. I loved going out and hanging out with people; I did it so much that for the first half of my 20’s I don’t remember doing any healthy activities. I was working hard and partying even harder.
I had so many friends that at some point at one of my birthday parties which were birthday events I had 200 people attending. I was out there with so many people all the time, and I had time for everyone. After a good few years of being rather an active attendant of the East London party scene, people started leaving London. A lot of the people I hung out with were from Europe that moved to London like myself to study or to work before deciding what is it that they want to do with their life.
I felt pain when some of my best friends left, I keep in touch, but the distance does make it hard to remain strong friendships. Its the first time that I experienced loneliness and heartbreak. I had broken up with yet another short term boyfriend, and early signs of depression started creeping in. Hangovers were the worst because I would be at home worried about what I did last night and if I said something I shouldn’t. The anxiety was almost unbearable, but I pushed it deep down and started blocking things out.
Then I met my second boyfriend with whom I had a very intense ten-month relationship that changed the way I look at man forever. He was so into me to the point where we spent all of our time together. I let myself party less and somehow lose myself in this relationship. I had less time to spend with my friends, and I hated my job at the time, and this relationship was where most of my focus went. The first few months were great, but like most relationships in your 20’s, the cracks started appearing. I believe this comes from ever-evolving self and constant change in your preference and needs, and this is something I didn’t fully realise at the time.
Because I prioritised this man over myself, I barely had any hobbies, and slowly started losing most of my party friends since I chose nights in with my boyfriend over my long term friends. And it was fun until he became emotionally abusive and the fun stopped for both of us. He would snap at me and have negative connotations towards my opinions. It felt like he just stopped having my back, but at the same time, he put most of the decision making burdens on my shoulders and if something didn’t go to plan or well, the blame was on me. Around the time I finally had enough and looked for ways to get out of this self-destructing toxic situation, on our last date ever I had a voice in my head that clearly said RUN. And that’s what I did, a tad dramatic I know but it felt like I was pulled from him and taken away. I bought a packet of Marlboro lights got home, and the guilt started creeping in, what the fuck did I do.
I felt into a depression-like never before, and luckily I had my oldest friends pull me out of it, and I entered another critical phase of my 20’s which is party and date until you cant no more.
I realise looking back that everything I ever wanted I got and all the hard times and heartbreak shaped me into a strong woman that I am today. I now prioritise the most important relationship in my life, and that’s the one with myself, and I’m not afraid to be vulnerable and to share.
I have my interests and my opinions, I have fewer friends, but I know who they are. I go and do whatever I want, and I’m so clear on what I want from life that the vibe is so high.
I wanted to share a little more background about my turbulent 20’s to let you know that we all go through so many ups and downs. I have come to love the downs because those are the times where you learn the best what you want from your life, collect the courage to grow a little more and go for it. The hard times are what make you a strong person, and without them, we would never grow.
If you found your way to this post, know that flowers don’t grow without the rain and this is such a beautiful thing. Work a little harder to be grateful for every aspect of your life and watch miracles appear in front of you.