The Big 3.0

This coming Friday I will turn 30. To say I am not thrilled at the prospect would be an understatement.

It seems like only yesterday I was turning 21. Oh, how young and hopeful I was back then. The years were stretching before me, filled with possibilities. I could be anything I wanted to be.

Okay, so maybe I am being a bit dramatic and I am sure there will be those of you who will be of the mindset that you can be anything you want to be no matter what age you are. Carpe diem and all that. The only thing holding you back is you.

Yes, it is true that life is what you make it. Unfortunately, it is also true that when you are a woman and of a certain age there are also certain expectations of you. By the time you reach 30 you are expected to have a place of your own (ha!), be on your way to engaged or married and be progressing well in your career.

Maybe these are old-fashioned views, but I certainly still feel like they apply to my life. It does not help that when I log onto Facebook another person from school has either bought their first home, got engaged or announced they are pregnant. After a while you do start looking at your own life and thinking, where did I go wrong?

I know I should not compare myself to others. It is not healthy and the sensible part of my brain does acknowledge that everyone is different. No two lives follow the same trajectory. And life really isn’t all that bad.

My twenties were a mixed bag, but I am sure everyone feels the same. I had some wonderful highs and some terrible lows. Crucially, I have made achievements in the last ten years. They may be small ones but they still matter. In the last decade I have successfully completed two degrees, met some amazing people who I think myself lucky to call my friends, got a good job and met an amazing man who makes every day so much better (corny, yes, but it’s true).#

I may not have ticked off many of the ‘big’ life goals, but I guess that makes the prospect of my thirties more exciting. There are still lots of things left on my bucket list and I will hopefully tick many of them off in the next ten years. Age is just a number. We should not feel defined by it. I may be saying adieu to my twenties, however I will continue to read YA, to express my love for Harry Potter/Disney/Pusheen through t-shirts and merchandise and to listen to pop songs. My passion for these things doesn’t have to change because I am turning 30. In reality, life won’t change. As you grow older you do change, but this happens in slowly, over the course of months and years. I know I won’t be the same person I am now in another ten years’ time, however that will be down to more life experience.

Goodbye twenties, it was (mostly) fun. Here’s to you, thirties. Let’s see what adventures you have in store for me.

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Reasons I Love Autumn

Happy September everyone!

Can you believe how quickly this year is speeding by? Tomorrow is the start of Freshers’ Week but it only feels like the students broke up for the summer last week. My elders were forever saying to me when I was a child that the years fly by the older you get, and I now totally understand what they meant. It is less than 7 weeks until I turn 30! How did that even happen?

Anyway, I digress. September may mean back to school and university, but it also means that autumn is upon us. And it just so happens that autumn is my favourite season. Yes, I like summer. I like the long days and getting up in the daylight and being able to eat out till 9.30pm and going to the beach and eating ice cream, but…well, I haven’t actually been able to do any of those things this year. Summer has well and truly bypassed Scotland. And even if I had done all those things, they just don’t compare to all the great things autumn signifies.

Like what, I hear you ask? Well, here are my reasons why I think autumn is the best.

Beautiful Colours

I simply love, love, love how colourful autumn is. All the golds, amber, reds, yellows, browns…everywhere you look there is colour. As a lover of all things pretty and photographic, I can’t help but sigh over autumn scenery. Once the leaves turn it is like the world is gifting photographers with a ready-made canvas. Nothing can rival an autumn forest with a blue sky and fluffy clouds. Whenever I look back at our photos from Aberfeldy in October 2015, I am struck again by how breath-taking autumn is. Autumn is basically nature showing off, a bit like the male peacock when he fans out his tail feathers. Continue reading “Reasons I Love Autumn”

Positive Image

In the past few weeks I have seen a lot of posts on social media and blogs from girls I consider beautiful and flawless admitting that they don’t like the way they look. Having spent my whole life feeling self-conscious about my weight and bad skin, it really struck a chord with me. In one way it was almost comforting to know that these gorgeous women who have hundreds of followers on Instagram and look amazing in every picture they share are plagued by the same worries and anxieties that I am.

On the other hand, it also made me stop and question why we put so much pressure on ourselves to look a certain way. When I think back to my teenage years, I can’t remember a time I didn’t compare my looks to that of other women, be it the popular girls at school or actresses on TV and in films. With the rise of social media, and in particular photo sharing sites such as Instagram, there seems to be an increasing feeling among young people that they have to present a certain image of themselves to the world.

Interestingly I know quite a few of my friends who don’t like getting their photo taken. They will look at pictures taken on nights out or special occasions and say they look awful. Until recently I didn’t realise that I also do this. Looking back over recent pictures I found myself disliking how I looked in every single one.

It was that attitude that inspired this post. I wanted to try to boost my self-esteem and show myself that despite my imperfections, I can look nice in a photograph. I decided to share a recent picture of me that I quite like.

At the risk of sounding narcissistic, I like this photo because I actually look happy. It was taken on a day trip to Stirling and it was one of the first times I had felt properly happy in months. I also like my hair in this picture, especially the wash-out blue streaks I had sprayed in that morning. I might not look perfect, but that’s because I’m not. I’m nearly 30 so of course I have crow’s-feet. Instead of focusing on that as a sign of ageing, I want to see it as a sign of maturity, of gaining life experience and wisdom.

All of us have something about ourselves that we would like to change. I think it’s human nature to never be one hundred perfect satisfied with how we look. I know I am always going to wish I was thinner and had better hair, but instead of letting this get to me I am going to try to accept my imperfections and realise that, given the right light and angle, I can look okay in a photo.

2017 So Far

It’s nearly June, which means we will be in the sixth month of the year. Am I alone in feeling like we have reached this point really quickly?

To be fair, the year started out quite slow. January and February seemed to last forever. Since March, however, the months have been speeding by. Maybe it is the lighter nights and mornings, but spring 2017 has been something of a whirlwind. In some ways I hope the weeks continue to pass quickly. I have a whole week off in July, my first full week this year, and I am so ready for it. On the other hand, the faster the months go in the sooner it is to my 30th birthday. I don’t think I’m quite ready to hit that milestone yet. Continue reading “2017 So Far”

What Love Means To Me

love

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

A lot of people are quite scornful about today and, yes, it has become overly commercialised and tacky but I still love the idea of Valentine’s Day. As many of you may already know, I am a romantic. I love anything to do with romance and hearts and flowers. Ever since I was little I have been captivated by the idea of meeting my prince charming and being swept off my feet.

Of course, I know real love is vastly different to what we see and read about in fiction. Nevertheless, I still think it’s a good idea to dedicate a whole day to love. Valentine’s Day is marketed as all about romance, but love takes many shapes and forms and should be celebrated for all the many ways it can touch our lives.

At one point or another all of us will experience some form of love. Our first concept of love is usually garnered from our parents. I was lucky enough to grow up in a happy home. My parents were married for 30 years and though they could bicker for the world, they were still very much in love.

I always remember my mum telling me that the best advice she ever had was from her own mother. My grandmother told my mum that marriage is like two horses pulling a plough; both have to pull in the same direction in order for it to work. Now that I am older and have been in a relationship for three years, I can fully appreciate just what my gran meant by these words.

Being in a relationship takes work. When I was little I always assumed that love was simple. I never realised that loving someone means learning how to deal with their bad moods, or learning how to admit when you are in the wrong and compromising when you can’t get your own way.

For me, falling in love has taught me how to be a rounder person. I have always had a tendency to be selfish, something I attribute to being an only child. My whole life I have been spoiled and allowed to get my own way. Being with my partner has taught me how to share and to accept that I cannot always get what I want. I honestly do not know how he puts up with me sometimes. I am stubborn and moody and often a little unfair to him.

Loving someone means loving them through good and bad times. If you are lucky enough to find someone who wants to be with you even when you get huffy with them, who thinks you look beautiful even when you have a break out and you haven’t shaved in a few days, then you should cherish that person. Until recently I took my partner for granted, but losing my mum showed me that you should hold the people you love most close. My boyfriend is my rock. He has helped me through the worst period of my life this far and he knows how to make me smile. No one believes in me more than he does. Without him I think I would be a lot more selfish and definitely a lot less happy.

Whether you like the idea of Valentine’s Day or not, use today to show the people you love most just how important they are to you. That doesn’t have to involve buying a gift or taking them out to dinner. Something I’ve learned over the past few months is that words are so much more powerful and meaningful than a gift. Simply saying, ‘I love you’ or ‘Thank you for being in my life’ is worth more than any bunch of roses or fancy meal. It is the little things that really count – making a cup of tea, rubbing their temples when they have a headache, snuggling while you watch TV. That is what love means to me.

2016: A Year in Review

Well it’s that time again – the last day of the year, a chance to look back and reflect on the 12 months that have just passed while looking forward to the year ahead. Is it just me or it seems to have come around rather quickly? 2016 has simply flown by, especially since I started my job at Heriot-Watt. Maybe it’s the routine of going to work 5 days a week that just makes it seem like the days go by at break-neck speed.

I’m not going to lie, I will not be sorry to see the back of 2016. There does appear to be the general feeling that this has been a rubbish year what with the state of world politics and all the famous icons who have been taken from us. On a personal level, I can categorically say that 2016 has been one of the worst years of my life. So much has gone wrong and very little has gone right.

To be fair, this is the year that I achieved one major goal – I finally found a good job. After years of writing cover letters and attending interviews I was beginning to doubt I would ever get there, but in March my hard work was rewarded. I haven’t missed the hospitality industry once since I joined the admin world! It is so nice to have set hours of work every week, to know that I have weekends to myself and don’t have to work until eleven o’clock at night. Continue reading “2016: A Year in Review”

Turning 29

Thursday was my favourite day of the year – my birthday. I might be a grown up but I still love getting presents and having an excuse to eat cake.

This year was no different, but there’s something about reaching the last year of your twenties that makes you think back over your life so far. Okay, so maybe that sounds a bit dramatic, but I did find myself taking stock of the last nine years and the things I have and haven’t done.

I think it’s fair to say we all have regrets but I do wish I had done more with my twenties than I have. Youth is wasted on the young, they say, and I certainly didn’t take advantage of my twenties. I’ve spent most of them living in a bubble of anxiety and low earnings, both of which have prevented me from doing the things I probably should have.

My twenties haven’t been all bad. I did obtain two degrees, met lots of interesting people, fell in love with an amazing guy and travelled to some great places. I am conscious, however, that I have not made the most of my twenties and so, now I’ve hit 29 I am determined to make the most of the next twelve months. Below is a list of just some of the things I hope to achieve before I turn 30.

  • Learn to drive – It is actually ridiculous that I have put it off this long. I did take six months’ worth of lessons when I was 17 but I gave it up when I went to university. One of my biggest regrets is not taking it up again sooner. Where I live a car is kind of a necessity. It would be so much better for getting to work too.
  • Go abroad for the first time – This one is really dependent on money. I have never been able to afford to travel outside of the UK before and I’m not sure I can afford it yet, but I really want to start seeing some of the world. There’s so much out there and I think it’s time I broadened my horizons.
  • Find a place of my own – Again, this is very dependent on money and is something I am not sure I will be able to achieve but I am adding it to the list because it is something I have longed for for quite some time now. All my friends have moved in with their significant others and I must admit I do feel sometimes like I am lagging behind. There is something almost shameful about still living with your parents at 29. My boyfriend and I want a place of our own, but as I’ve already mentioned money is an issue. Realistically I know it is unlikely to happen any time soon until we are both earning a decent wage, but it would be wonderful if I could tick this off the bucket list before my next birthday.
  • Be healthier – Okay, so this is one of those catch-all terms which are probably not very useful, but I do want to start eating better and exercising more. Work makes me lazy. After a long and stressful commute the last thing I want to do is cook dinner so we do tend to eat a lot of ready-made meals. It’s no wonder then that I am beginning to get fat. I want to start experimenting with what we eat and working out more. I’d love to join a gym class, I just need to find the confidence to do so.
  • Read more frequently – Since I started my job at Heriot-Watt I barely read anymore. Commuting has turned me into a zombie. I come home and sit staring at the TV screen until I fall asleep. This needs to stop. My to-read pile keeps on growing while I’m still ploughing through a book I started weeks ago. To be honest I am struggling to engage with the books I pick up lately. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a book. This is something I seriously want to change. Reading has always been my passion and I hate that I am losing my love of it.
  • Take more photos – My other half would roll his eyes at this because he thinks I take too many photos, but photography is something I have grown to really enjoy. I love looking back at all our holiday snaps and there is nothing better than the buzz of capturing a really good photo. Over the next twelve months I want to improve my photography and continue to document my life through pictures.

Those are just some of my goals for the next year. I know that some are highly dependent on outside factors and might not come to fruition but I hope that, if nothing else, I am more motivated and adventurous in my 29th year.