Turning 26

I always do a year-end review in December. I lay out month by month and enjoy the process of reflection. I’ve never done one on my birthday which actually fits nicely in the middle of the year. I thought it would be nice to do a reflection with a different lens; which is how I feel with certain milestones and goals at a specific age.

Yesterday I turned 26. Firmly into my mid-twenties and hurtling towards 30.

Where I thought I’d be

I had a very typical goal of wanting to be rich by 25. I genuinely thought I could do it without realising what it actually took. I knew I definitely wanted to be working for myself, living in a nice place in London, have a cat or two and enjoying the finer things in life.

If I take a step back, I’ve pretty much achieved everything I want to, but my struggles in some areas of my life mean I’m often deeply unhappy.


Most of my career I’ve been the young one - the underdog. I felt not going to University gave me a unique advantage. Everyone underestimated me because of my age but I could prove them wrong time and time again. But when you hit your mid-late twenties, I feel this is when you establish yourself in a field and no longer get underestimated. Right or wrong, that’s just always how I felt.

I’ve taken a unique career path but I I’ve managed to carve out a very good position for myself. Managing to completely switch from a marketing employee to an entrepreneur with expertise in podcasting making £100k a year should be something I’m immensely proud of. I am to an extent, but this extra money is only very recent and I still feel I’m struggling.

The fact I can charge as much as I do for the work I do is incredible. I should be very proud of that. The fact I make a living as an entrepreneur on my own schedule (and can do it working 30 hours a week) is something I don’t appreciate enough.

So career wise I guess I’m happy.

For context: I have a podcast production business called PodPanda, where I mostly edit shows for clients. I have one large client I produce a video and audio show for. I also have two of my own shows; Indie Bites and This Indie Life. The former has a moderately large audience and has sponsorship revenue. Finally, I have a handmade leather wallet business called Whitstable Craft Co. which is my pride and joy.

The career hesitation is because (1) my financial situation (2) I don’t particularly always enjoy the work I do.

One of the great things about these reflections is you lay out some facts you didn’t quite realise and can workshop how you want to change them.

I know I enjoy the wallet business more than anything else and there’s been some indications that I could turn it into something I make my living from. The trouble is I don’t execute on any of the things that would get me there. It’s a strange one, and potentially part of the self-sabotage or lack of long term thinking that stops me from getting where I want to be (financially and with my health too). I don’t quite now how to address this. Might be something therapy could help with? I need to have some more time to reflect on this.


I’ll bunch a few things together in life. Living situation, finances, health etc. Ha, kinda shows where my priorities lie.

I’m not happy with my health. Both mental and physical. I’m fortunate I love playing tennis, get to do it 3 times a week and that keeps me from getting really unfit. I’ve written a whole 1k word personal journey entry this morning about my feelings about the gym and getting fit, having hired a personal trainer this month but not quite getting the outcome I’d hoped for (accountability and routine). Honestly I hope I can reduce my weight by increasing sport and decreasing calories. Making better micro-decisions about what to eat and how much. I always felt by my mid twenties I should be in the best shape of my life. Let’s see if I can get there.

Mentally it’s been a huge huge battle since I was 22/23. It’s a real shit feeling the way I do most of the time and I always makes me wonder of where I could be without it. The amount of things I’ve attempted to try and improve the situation without a solution is terrifying. What I have come to terms with is that it’s a part of me and I’ve just got to learn how I deal with it on a day-to-day basis, be kinder to myself and keep trying new things to improve.

Financially things aren’t great, but I’ve made impressive steps towards fixing a really bad situation this year. I have lots of debt but I’m paying it down in chunks when I get invoices paid. I don’t have a great mindset when it comes to money, still. I’m not frugal and I spend far too much on stuff I don’t need. I’m trying to get better at that. I have a big fear that all this work I’ve done to increase my income and pay down my debt will all unravel with my tax bill next year. It’s going to be big because I’ve increased my income so much. I don’t save. Something to consider.

I left home/living situation until last in this because I wanted to leave with something positive. I’m super happy with this. I live in my own 2 bed flat in Canterbury with my two beautiful cats, I have great relationships with my family, have a cute little niece and everyone lives close by.. I get to go into London a few times a week and have a wonderful group of friends I can hang out with.

Final thoughts

It’s been fun writing this. What’s great about life is that it’s all a big game and you can play it whatever way you like. Living in a first world country and having loads of opportunities is a real privilege. I’m aware of this and want to make the most of it, but I so often find myself putting up barriers to achieve what I want to achieve.

I’ve got to knock those barriers down and enjoy the game.


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I publish a monthly newsletter sharing my favourite finds. I'd love for you to join.

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©2023 Striqo

©2023 Striqo

©2023 Striqo