A year seems like a long time. If you were to plan something for next year, it would feel like a long time to wait. However, the idea that a year has passed since I sat down to write my intentions for my 22nd year on Mother Earth seems ludicrous. It feels like yesterday, the blink of an eye, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

I set intentions because it helps me to assess how far I’ve come, how my priorities have changed and where my head is at now. For the past few weeks, in the lead up to my birthday, I’ve been feeling a little unsettled. Capricious in my actions and unaware of the trigger; the last 100 metres of the race to 23 has been tiring.

If I were to reflect on my younger self and take into consideration where she thought she might be at 23, I have not fulfilled the brief. As a teenager your twenties seem so far away, a distant and mystical land where freedom is plentiful and goals are reached.

My younger self would not have imagined that I would not yet have graduated University. My younger self would have painted a romantic relationship into the picture. I’m sure she would have put an Oscar on the shelf or an agent at the other end of the phone. She would have hoped to have visited more places, read more books, have a wardrobe full of ‘chic’, perhaps she has a job that earns her money, a platform on which to speak, she would have made a difference. Oh, she’d most definitely be ‘thin’.

When I step back and assess the expectations that I had of myself, I realise how flexible they are. These goals aren’t set in stone or tied to an age or a place, they float in my minds eye, they move and they change. At 23, I now don’t want a relationship, so the aspiration has floated further away. I don’t have an Oscar, obviously, and I don’t look ‘chic’ every day. This is not to say that one day this may not be my reality, who knows what the future holds, but I am learning that these dreams and goals are not to be markers of success. I am a product of my environment and I am trying my best. I am happy most days, I am healthy, I am loved and I love. There is nothing more that I could have hoped for.

So these goals that I set every year are not a means of judging my credibility, they merely mark the change in me and my surroundings. They signify how I see the world and myself in it. If at 15 I wanted to be thin, at 23 I want to be confident. If at 18 I was desperate to be loved by a man, at 23 I am desperate to be loved by those that I love. I’ve come a long way from the dreams in my teens and I intend to keep moving forward. Grateful for all that I have, striving to maintain and nourish all that I am thankful for.

Last year, this is the list of goals that I came up with:

  • Take time every day to find something beautiful in the world around you.
  • ‘We’re here for a good time, not a long time’. Take every opportunity that comes your way and have no regrets.
  • Read more and broaden your vocabulary.
  • Travel to at least one new place.
  • Don’t settle for less than you deserve. In relationships, friendships, quality of food or anything at all.
  • Last but not least. I would like to try my absolute hardest to stick to all of the things on this list, but not get disheartened if I can’t.

Some days, I feel like I tick all of these boxes, other days I feel like I am nowhere near. The beauty of being human.

This year I have taken into account how far I have come and I am projecting this into the next year of my life. My intentions are as follows:

  • Never forget how lucky you are. Check your privilege.
  • Tell everyone who means something to you, how much they mean to you and how grateful you are for them as often as possible.
  • Take every opportunity that comes your way and have no regrets. Life really is too short.
  • Read as much as you can. Not to broaden your vocabulary but to broaden your knowledge and imagination.
  • Dance on tables at every given opportunity.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re more than the woman that you imagined you’d be, just in a different way.

I’m excited to get older. I’m at peace with the progress and the fact that I am not exactly where I thought I would be. I’m happy that my hair is shorter and my hips are bigger. Everything that I am is an amalgamation of all that I have been through. I am made up of incredible friends, a loving family, awful decisions, rejection, heart break, holidays, books, films, inspiring mentors, walks on wet grass, loud music, humous and so much more. I can’t wait to have more experiences, to feel new things and to make new goals and aspirations.

As I said in my last blog, I am far from perfect and I am far from where I thought I would be at 23 but, I am also still learning, growing and exploring.

Long may that continue.

Happy Birthday to me. x

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