Last weekend it was my 31st Birthday and I celebrated it in one of the most romantic cities in the world – Paris! Only it wasn’t a loved up weekend with flowers, proposals or champagne (okay, maybe a little champagne) but instead a weekend of sweat, blood and tears as I spent my 31st birthday fiercely fighting for my first ever marathon medal. I may not have had a man waiting in the wings for me, but I had my family there supporting me and cheering me on from the sidelines.
This birthday was a world away from the 30th birthday I celebrated last year, where I had been totally focused on dining at the right restaurant, booking the right bar, buying the right outfit and making sure it all looked 100% perfect on social media. When in reality I was broke AF, living in a flat I could no longer afford, with a fiancé who didn’t want to marry me, and basically clinging onto a life I didn’t want to accept just wasn’t right for me. And don’t get me wrong, it was a nice birthday, but looking back, it didn’t feel right. I wasn’t where I had wanted to be at 30 years old, something I finally came to admit to myself three months later. And thus began the big long scary chapter of my life I like to call ’30: Single, lonely & poor’.
But so much has changed since then, I’ve survived the break-up, I’ve moved not once but twice, I’ve travelled to South America and back, I’ve started a new job, and I celebrated my next birthday by running a marathon. Although it’s been a bumpy ride, I truly believe my 30th year was the year I learned more about life than all the years before it. Here are 30 things I’ve learnt over the past 12 months:
1. Owning a house or having a marriage certificate doesn’t make you a grown-up. Being a grown-up is about looking after and taking responsibility for yourself, whether that’s making a decision to move, to travel, or to eat M&M’s for breakfast.
2. Jealousy, whilst sometimes overwhelming & uncontrollable, is the most pointless emotion of all the emotions and the biggest time waster.
3. FOMO (fear of missing out) is the second.
4. A good playlist can drastically change the direction of my day.
5. I like red wine more than white wine.
6. If taking a selfie makes me feel good, then I’m going to take a dam selfie.
7. In fact, I should do all the things that make me feel good, regardless of any nasty judgement from others, that includes singing out loud, using the full allowance of hashtags on Instagram and buying OTT lattes from coffee chains.
8. Family really is the most important thing in the world, whether it’s the one you were born into or the one you make. I feel closer to my family than I ever have before and it feels bloody awesome.
9. Don’t write what I think other people want me to write or what everybody else is writing. Write from the heart.
10. I’m better at learning languages than I’ve given myself credit for (and I enjoyed learning Spanish so much more than I thought I would).
11. There is no such thing as an easy break up, no matter how much you prepare yourself mentally & emotionally.
12. My body really is a temple; a feckin awesome temple, and I should praise all of it – the freckles, the bad teeth, the gut – all of it.
13. I don’t need Facebook in my life.
14. I can survive without alcohol.
15. Pain is only temporary.
16. Slow Down! There is no rush to accomplish all my goals in one big go.
17. Weighing scales are the devil.
18. It’s totally okay if someone doesn’t like me, I don’t need to win over every new person that I meet (I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea).
19. I absolutely love packing, like really really love it.
20. I like going make-up free and really don’t mind people seeing my ‘naked face’. It’s not nearly as atrocious as I think it is.
21. Things taste better with Pepper on.
22. It is never too late to make a BIG change in your life.
23. Chai seeds should be consumed regularly.
24. I’m braver than I thought I was (I know this because I jumped out of an aeroplane).
25. I’m an outdoor person.
26. It’s never too late for a new friendship to truly blossom. I don’t know what I would have done without this girl over the past six months.
27. I have a Notebook problem and they have replaced Mugs as the things I collect.
28. I can in fact ride a bike, on the road, without crashing.
29. Bitching about a problem won’t make that problem go away.
30. Nobody is better than me and I am better than nobody.
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