How do I even begin to explain 2018? Beautifully unexpected? A lot like falling, both in the loveliest of ways and also in the sense that you feel a lot like you’re hurtling head first into stinging nettles without any way of stopping? 2018 has been a right old mix of both some of the best, most wonderful things life has to offer — and also the worst. But ultimately, through it all, I can tell that 23-year-old girl who began the year in tears, feeling completely lost, that by 24 she’d accomplished what seemed then like an unfathomable amount of growth. It hasn’t been an easy year — they rarely are? But I’m ending it and going into 2019 with so much strength and love in me that simply wasn’t there before. This is 2018.
Since my degree and dedicating a small part of my soul to the not-so-easy-feat of writing a dissertation (something I’m sure I’ve rambled on about quite enough on these parts), I’ve had a far keener interest in exposing myself to more non-fiction, particularly around the topic of women — everything from sexuality to race, gender and so on. It’s something I’m really passionate about and, now that I’m no longer in any form of education (and haven’t been for over two years. FML.), I want to keep my mind ticking over and try and grasp onto some semblance of learning and continuing to broaden my mind.
Realistically then, I should probably be branching out beyond all things feminism. But… I quite like feeling like a woman boss reading about my people and understanding how I can do better as a woman in my position. It’s interesting stuff and I wanted to share some of the excellent books I’ve read over the last couple of years that are a great starting point for anyone either wanting to get into non-fiction or even feminism. These are the books I wish someone had shoved enthusiastically into my hands at sixteen. But I found my way and I hope you will too with these empowering, sometimes incredibly moving reads.
Like with a lot of my posts, I started writing this one a long time ago and it had a completely different beginning. The list itself has remained much the same, growing as I’ve thought long and hard about the things I’d like to squeeze into the next 7 (now 6, because hey I’m 24 today!) years. I started this project back in March, right when it seemed like I was starting to give myself a verbal kick up the bum to finally make life what I wanted it to be rather than impatiently waiting and hoping something would happen. I stand by what I said in the original post:
“Up until now, I’ve mostly just floated along and hoped for adventure. I’ve also spent a lot of my time counting down the days until I meet that one person who rocks everything I’d known up until that point. They may never come and I’m sick of waiting or relying on some unidentified human to make me happy, to bring me spontaneity and new angles and elements to this life.”
Quite unexpectedly, things change and people do happen. You know what they say, as soon as you stop looking… So whilst that person may have rocked everything I’d known only a month after I started this list, I still stand by what I said. It’s up to me to make my own adventures, whether solo or as a team. The list is the original with some of the final additions only plotted in the final days of being 23. (Thinking of 30 things is hard!)
Some of them are big, monumental once in a lifetime trips and adventures, whilst others are smaller milestones I’d just quite fancy doing. There’s also that last one, which has been there since this list was conceived, but which I plotted right at the end. Because, if you know me, I’m one for the dramatics. But it turns out that one, along with some of the others, may have already been ticked.
Guess we’ll see when I turn 30, right?
Here lie snapshots of a perfect weekend in August, 2018.
My gut is telling me to start at the end, hours not so much wasted away, captured in touches that created paths of sparks on our skin. People watching. Soaking up each others laughter. Committing to memory the lines on our palms. Comfortable, connected, all of it like second nature rather than something alien like I thought it maybe should have been.