Another year older. Like anyone over 20, well over 20, I’m shocked that another year has gone by. Days whizzing past so fast I feel like I can’t hold onto them long enough.
52 weeks later, 12 months, and what have I learnt?
One year ago today…
Today, last year, I’d been the proud owner of the keys to a three-bed in Southsea for a four days previously. On the 11th Mum and Dad were on their way, with a van fill of furniture they’d been picking up at charity shops for me. I was anxious about dad driving the heavy van, about Mum following behind on unfamiliar motorways. I can’t really remember what I did in the day except for worry about them. I think I tried to work but with so much to be done in my house it was too hard to concentrate.
Mum and dad spent the following week, maybe two, helping, supporting and advising on what to do with my new home There’s no way I would’ve got it to a rentable standard in three months without them.
I loved those weeks, always will. It was kinda stressful, but in a good way – painting, cleaning, deciding, laughing, the occasional argument, and endless trips to B&Q and the tip. I loved doing actual physical work in getting the house together, with the support of mum and dad and their friends Sue and Roy.
We had fish and chips from the chippy for dinner, I remember that. And that’s how my 33rd year started…
1. My parents really are the best
In my adult life I’ve pretty much always got on with my parents. Always loved and appreciated them and our relationship, but I think their unwavering support in the house and the time they gave me, and actually wanted to give me, made me appreciate them even more, and just how precious they are. I will always cherish those memories from a year ago, of us painting and decorating the house together.
I think for the most part they genuinely loved helping me make a home – apart from that night when I had to go to London for work and stay in a swanky hotel and they were left in a semi drying plastered house with no air to breathe.
Not sure I’ll ever quite be forgiven for that one.
2. I need my home
I’ve changed. I’ve enjoyed all my travels this year, but I can’t help noticing how much I pine for home when I’m away. It’s not good when you’re on a paradise beach somewhere feeling like you’re missing out on a night with friends back home. I know that the travel will cut down a lot more this year.
I’ve just made my house, and bed, too nice for me to want to go away all the time. It’s a strange sensation for me but one that’s been building up over time and I know I’ve mentioned it before. I’ve talked about it with my favourite fellow travel bloggers and I think it’s normal. I did start this blog 7 years ago – people change.
I’ll always love going on holiday, but travelling for longer periods will be winding down for sure.
3. The power of no
For a few years I’d say yes to evrrerrrything. It was great, at the time, and I loved the spontaneity and adventure it bought.
Just lately I’ve been working on saying no though. God it’s liberating.
I started reading that book: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck. Got halfway and got the idea. It helped, although I didn’t agree with all the sentiments. I’ve been practicing the bits I liked though and have managed to get myself out of a few situations I didn’t want to be in.
In any decision I’ve got one of those flow diagrams in my head to see whether the answer should be yes or not, more often it’s coming out at no.
4. Friendships change, but they’ll bounce back
Whether you want them to or not, in your 30s your friendships change a lot. There’s a big part of me that just wants it to be like it was at school, or even to an extent when I lived in London– friends around for everything. But with my lifestyle my friends are scattered around the globe.
And I guess I didn’t realise it, or register it, at the time, but me moving to the South Coast meant I was putting a huge barrier between me and any friends north of London. It’s just too far to visit, especially with kids. Or, maybe they just don’t like me anymore and that’s the excuse. Either way, friendships change, and the fact I’ve still been away much of the year means I barely know anyone down here.
I have just spent three hours talking to friends on Whatsapp instead of uploading this post so I can’t really complain, but I do miss having bezzas around. I’d really like more friends to hang out with IRL down here.
Really need to work on that this year.
Celebrating my 34th birthday has been very different to my 30th…
5. To relax and open up
I guess most importantly this year, compared to the last few, is learning to thaw that ice cold heart of mine. It’s been difficult, and there are still a few icicles holding on in there.
I met Ben just before my 33rd birthday. After my last relationship ended – FOUR years ago – by gaslighting, a term I actually only learnt yesterday because of that guy on Strictly Come Dancing, I put a wall up.
I deflected any interest and focused on seeing the world, not guys. Couldn’t be bothered, wasn’t interested. This year though I’ve been enjoying, see I can’t even write loving – hanging out with Ben. He’s very patient, chilled, loving and just what I need. I feel happy and contented when I’m around him.
Going into my 34th year the I basically want the same things as I’ve written about before (for years…) but not yet managed to achieve. A better work / life balance, to be proud of what I create, new friends, spending more time with people I love, focusing on the little things in life, enjoying England, clearing my debts, learning to cook, writing, being creative, getting fit…
I know at 34 I have a pretty sweet life. Of course no one’s is ever perfect and I have my down / confused days, but positivity and perspective can count for a lot. Ten years ago I would never have imagined this is where I’d be at 34, who knows, what I’ll be writing about at 44!
Anyway, enough, I’m off to scoff the Lindt chocolates my housemate Emily has bought me for my birthday.
Might pour myself a little gin while I’m there too, seeing as it’s my ✶ birthday✶.