26 February 2016

35 YEARS & COUNTING

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Today I turn 35. Thirty-five. Treinta y cinco. Trente-cinq. Yep, five years from the big 4-0.

I don't have an issue with my actual age at all, I have always preferred the age I am at any given time, to an age that has past, but what I do have an issue with is how ruddy fast it is passing. What is that about? Seriously, I remember going through a really hard time at the age of about fifteen years old and my mum saying '...before you know it you'll be eighteen', to which I remember thinking 'that's so far away'. But now, the years go by so fast and I am more determined than I have ever been to make sure they count.

I have really felt my whole attitude shift in my thirties, more specifically the last few years. Things that would always bother me have faded slightly into the background and it is those things that I thought I would share today.

:: Finding a voice
Without meaning to sound all airy-fairy here, I am more confident in my own words, my own opinions and thoughts than I have ever been before. Working with young people everyday reminds me how much they seek out approval and try and mold themselves into someone that 'fits in', just because they are afraid to stand out. I was one of those people for many, many years. Whilst I obviously don't ever set out to upset anyone, I also have learnt (in a big way) that you cannot please everyone, no matter what you do. My issues with my mental health have also highlighted how bad it can be when you do try to just focus on pleasing others and not yourself. I had to learn that being selfish sometimes, and only sometimes, is acceptable. As hard as I sometimes find it to put myself out-there and be truly myself, particularly on this platform, I have learnt that it is super important to be honest and open. I read something (somewhere) last year that said 'you need to repel the people who aren't your tribe as quickly as you can and focus on the ones that are' - or words to that effect. That doesn't mean going around being a rude so-and-so, it simply means being yourself and not bending your personality to fit another's.

:: Not giving a fig about fashion
Let me get something straight, I know diddly squat about style. Zero. Literally nothing. But, for some reason, for my entire life, I have tried and tried to dress in a way that would meet other people's approval. I am happy to say that I finally don't give a hoot. I want to look good, but I genuinely do not care whether what I put on my back is 'fashionable', which it definitely never is, or whether others will like it. I just don't care any more. I cannot tell you how amazingly freeing that is!

:: Realising what matters
I speak about being grateful for things with my Friday posts but I have really shifted my focus in life from being the super materialistic person I was in my twenties, to wanting to carve out a lifestyle of simple, calm living and enjoying this beautiful planet we live on. With growing a little older (I know I am not old before anyone shoots me down) has come a sense of gratitude for the little moments life throws my way. These moments top the grand, expensive gestures most of the time and are always the things I look back on and smile about. My relationships, friendships, random acts of kindness and cuddles with Gizmo are the best! I think it is always important not to lose focus and think that having the latest of whatever it is will create the perfect life because, inevitably, it will only mask over what you don't like in your current life for such a short-lived moment. My focus now is building the life I want to live every day, not put up with something I am not happy with.

:: Making the best of yourself
Lastly, and this is a big thing for me to talk about, is choosing to make the best of what you have. This is talked about all the time both on-line and in magazines. We are all under the photo-shopped illusion of what is 'perfect' and we are all mislead every single day. Believe me, as someone who has weighed a lot, it is hard to like my body. There are good days and there are bad, but ultimately, I know I exercise more than most, I eat healthy 95% of the time (despite my constant craving for mini-eggs at the moment!) but I am learning to accept that I am ok as I am. Any progress I make towards my ideal self is a bonus, but I am ok. That has to be enough sometimes ladies.

I am off to plunge my face into a cake now... next stop, thirty-six!
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