23 things in 23 years

Turning 23 has been the first real time I’ve had to take a second and question where all the time has gone. Gone are the days of lying in bed, pressing my palms together and praying I’d never grow up and that, if I really had to, could I survive on beans on toast for the rest of my life because trying new foods was scary and I lived in fear of throwing anything I didn’t like up. A valid fear, one I have outgrown (mostly). And now I’m 23. Twenty-three. And I know that isn’t old per se and saying anything about ‘feeling old’ makes anyone genuinely older than me groan. I know it’s not actually old, but I guess what I mean is it feels adult and I’m far enough out the other side of university that I feel that intense pressure to gradually have more to show for my life as the years add up.

I’m learning to take things in my stride though, and not listen to the taunting voices in my head that never fail to remind me ‘this sister had done that at this point in her life, this sister had a ring on her finger, this sister had a baby, this sister was earning so and so a year’. It’s hard not to compare and let that fester into my insecurities, but I’m learning and I’m living. Perhaps down a different path, but living none the less. And with an added years experience comes another hoard of sometimes tough-to-take life lessons. So, for the first time on my little nook of the internet, I thought I’d rein in my 24th year with some of my sacred (and silly) life hacks, tips and lessons.

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Dear London (an unlove letter)

Unfortunately this is a falling out of love letter and not the opposite of its kind. Do people ever actually write those? I suppose, in a mad dash to leave, on a notepad meant for shopping lists, or smudged on a napkin with the skid-marks to show the at breaking neck speed at which they raced out of your life. More obviously through text messages, in as little words as: ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ ‘There’s somebody else.’ ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’

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My body image journey & the gym

Something I’ve been banging on about a lot over on my Twitter (and a lil bit of Insta stories, because that’s getting a tad addictive now) is the fact I’ve joined my local gym. Trust me when I say I hate it as much as the next person when I see people sharing their long AF runs, which they ran in minutes rather than the hours it would likely take me. But, for me at least, that came from festering jealousy, because I’m not that motivated and I’ll never have their body; and I am such a lazy slob of a person; they’re doing so much better at life than me. Not to mention the fact a love for sport wasn’t particularly prevalent or nurtured into me — although in hindsight I am questioning how the hell I was ever a part of the netball club when I was in primary school?

I am not a sporty, fit person and the important thing to note above all is that any time I did try to shape myself into some active-being and do workout DVDs — courtesy of Davina McCall, or that annoying American woman — was when I was feeling particularly low about my body and motivated (for a millisecond) to somehow miraculously blast all my body insecurities off in one unrealistic surge of exercise.

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The biggest regret

When people talk about their biggest regrets, it’s usually met with something contrite like “I don’t believe in regrets” and “everything happens for a reason”, and sure, I’ll bite. I’ve told myself that many a time to get through all my wrongs. But no part of me believes all that much in ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’, or that there’s some grand plan for all of us. Maybe once upon a time I did, before somewhere along the way this hopeless romantic got struck down, knees scuffed up by cynicism. And, by some cruel twist of… not fate, but careless actions and falsely placed trust, my biggest regret happened. Or, rather, he walked away.

There are words lying around here in old, dusty posts vaguely talking about being unhappy, about giving up too soon — about how I didn’t and don’t deserve nice things. My most painful almost. The first sits primly in March 2014, not two months after I pushed away a boy I still to this day, three and a half years on, think I could have very easily fallen in love with. It’s a big regret of mine. Actually, it’s humungous. It’s this gigantic, hollow, echoey hole in my chest that still — still — hasn’t been filled in your wake. Three years is a long time to still care, longer than even the most stubborn, resilient teenage hearts. Because, oh boy, did I tumble in and out of (something that sure felt like) love hard when I was young and fearless, thinking my heartache would never end. But the broken hearts mended. Far quicker than the three years and six months I’ve accumulated of this.

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