I’ve always liked having my birthday at the beginning of January. Having the calendar year coincide with the changing of my age has made tracking my accomplishments and fuck-ups quite tidy.
An early birthday has made goal setting more about what I want to accomplish at my age, than what I want to change for that year. And the thirteen day buffer between New Years and today means I have time to eat my way through all of the leftover holiday candy, before yoga’ing, or juicing, or Paleo’ing or whatever is trendy at the moment. But before looking forward, one must reflect on the year that has past, and so, I bring to you:
WHAT I LEARNED AT 28: Old enough to know better, still convincing myself I’m young enough not to care…
I’m a shitty blogger
It’s hard to type to yourself about yourself when you’d rather watch an entire season of Downton Abbey while eating popcorn. I know my blog hasn’t had much material to follow in the last couple of months, but hey, maybe I’ll be more focused at 29…?
The biggest issue is that life happens, and this little blog keeps falling down my line of priorities. My other projects have deadlines that someone hounds me for. My job, although cushy, someone is going to notice if I don’t show up. Then social events are never going to get pushed back burner, and when it comes to dating – a girl’s gotta eat! The nitty gritty is, with blogging, the only person who’s gonna be disappointed is myself, and I’m cool with it.
Time is precious, invest in people who bring out the best in you
I tread lightly here. I’m not for one second saying that you should only surround yourself with people that you can take things from. Real, deep, bonded relationships go up and down, back and forth. Sometimes you’re the one who needs support, sometimes you’re the one being leaned on.
I’m talking about my realization this year that I was spending time with some people who were getting me absolutely nowhere, and in some cases, further behind. Some people who drained my energy, confidence and creativity with their constant negativity, distraction and gossip.
Life is too hectic, and time too scarce, to see all the inspiring and uplifting people, yet, somehow I was able to find and make time for these people out of habit and “loyalty”.
Not anymore, son.
Food has calories, and I am not immune to getting fat
I no longer possess the metabolism of a teenager – which makes completely logistical sense considering I’m no longer… a teenager. Carbs are the enemy, sweets are not a right, and although I rarely admit it, wine is not void of sugar.
Love, in the end, is a choice
I’m not saying you can choose who you love, but you can choose how you love. (If I could have chosen who I loved, my love life would have been a hell of a lot cleaner, and I would have so much of the time I wasted pining over the two men I’ve ever been in love with.)
There is a hopeless romantic in me who still shudders when I admit this out loud, but love – in the fairytale, love-at-first-sight rendering – doesn’t exist. I’ve learned it can be utterly one-sided, and that being the lover or the lovee can be equally as painful. But the bottom line is, when the love is real, you stay. You show that person what in them is lovable when they themselves don’t see it. The infancy of love is easy to get wrapped up in: the infatuation, the thrill, the attraction, the flattery. But, you cannot know who is truly your love upon meeting them, or even marrying them. You will know they are your love when they are still beside you at the end. Having withstood the test of time, having made room for human error. Until then, you have no choice but to leap blindly, trusting your own heart as much as theirs.
So, for now, my hopelessly romantic side will rest assured one day I will look back with my true love beside me, and know that we stuck it out. Love reciprocated. Love chosen over and over again. Through everything. Where others had left, where I had given up on others… something within us kept bringing us back to one another.
Or perhaps, I’m slowly becoming cynical…
Money doesn’t bring happiness – but NOT having money does bring unhappiness
Sure, you can’t buy love, time or respect, but if you’re down to your last £13 with another weekend until payday you will cry profusely. Or, at least I will.
Props to you if you’re one of those bare-bones people who can basically live off the earth and go through life all zen… I’m just not one of them. I like nice things. I like manicures. I like handbags and fresh kicks. And for the majority of my life I haven’t blinked about buying virtually anything I wanted, or going wherever I wanted, on a whim. Well, this year I lived as a starving artist – to the point I almost sold my Birkin! – and it was not fun. Tallying up how many cups of coffee I can buy out of the house is an equation I never want to calculate again. And therefore, I won’t. Dreams, ambitions, and artistic endeavours will always be my motivation… but if your dreams ain’t paying the bills in the interim, it’s time to find a different route to your dream life.
Everything broken doesn’t need to be fixed
This is a doozy, and it’s been a few years in the lesson-learning process. I’ve somehow inherited the gene that finds letting things go very difficult – which is often a great quality. But, 2014 proved to me there are a lot of things out there that don’t deserve my time, attention, energy or repairing. At 29, I will more easily let go of people and endeavours not meant for me.
Or as my brother would say, “Sometimes the juice just ain’t worth the squeeze!”
I can be distracted by anything
It’s surprising how after I’ve turned off my Wi-Fi, put my phone in Airplane Mode, removed all candy from sight and closed iTunes, I can become utterly fascinated by the lid of a pen. Focusing is not my strong suit – not a good attribute for an independent writer. This lesson is learned, but my Adderall prescription has not yet been written.
Forgiving someone is the biggest favour you can do for yourself
I used to think that forgiving someone was to set them free of their own guilt. Then I faced
an asshole someone who lacked empathy and understanding. This is when it became clear to me that forgiving them wasn’t so that they could sleep at night, but so that I could be freed from the pain that came along each time they crossed my mind. Forgiveness is work… but most things that are worth it are.
I’m sure the year ahead has a million lessons for me, and a plethora of ups and downs. But, I’m ready for ya, 29. After all, a girl only turns 29 like seven times, so I better get this right!