Reinventing yourself in your 20s

In my 20s, I went through a huge refresh. A spectacular breakup, to be specific. Saying things “took a turn” might be an understatement. It was more like a sharp skid off an oil-slicked road. My family were shocked. Our friends were shocked.

But in hindsight, now more than 15 years of reflection later, I am not shocked at all.

We’d gotten together too young, before we’d had a chance to see the world and get to know ourselves. Too young even to realise how important it was to actually want the same things out of life if we were going to build a life together. (I know, right?)

Immediately after the breakup, I got to work reinventing myself — though, I suspect the the reinvention really began before the split, before I’d even noticed what was going on. Sometimes we change without realising because we’re too distracted by our habits and the status quo. And it’s not until we experience a major life event that we wake up and take stock of what’s really happening.

I redecorated my home, updated my wardrobe, tried all manner of things with my hair because I could. That first year was a year of firsts — the kinds of experiences I should have prioritised when I was younger, slowly drip-fed in a way that wouldn’t freak my parents out. I must say, I never made a “vision board” like Sabrina Chen in The Guy from the Park, but it was something I’ve always wondered if I should do.

At age 25, I was becoming a very different person to who I was when I got into that relationship. As my new life unfolded, I came across other people getting over spectacular breakups. They each embarked on their own journeys to reinvent themselves, reassessing who they truly wanted to be when they really grew up.

They say that the cells in our body largely replace themselves every 7–15 years. In a sense, you physically become a new person every cycle. I don’t know if this explains why we sometimes crave a bit of reinvention every now and then, but it’s comforting to think there may be some order beneath the chaos.

The Guy from the Park

An overturned ice cream and sprig of lavender on the cover of The Guy from the Park by Birdie Song

Summer days and new beginnings.

Off the back of a bad breakup, Sabrina Chen is getting her act together. But reinventing yourself isn’t easy at twenty-four, especially when you don’t know who you are.

For starters, does she want to be the kind of person who fancies that grumpy random guy from the park? Daniel Ryce certainly doesn’t seem like vision board material, but since when does life go according to plan?

The Guy from the Park is a short and sweet “meet ugly” story, set in the world of Somerville Downs.

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Release: 14 Feb 2022
Collection: Somerville Stories
Tags: enemies to dating, sweet romance, new adult romance, contemporary romance, multicultural romance, Australian romance