So, my birthday is coming up (kind of, in three months…) and I will be turning 21. No longer a child, officially an adult, 21.
I definitely do not feel grown-up enough to be classed as an adult just yet, but to make myself feel a little better, and like maybe I’m not quite as bad at this life thing as I thought, I have devised a chronological list of 21 Things That I Have Achieved Before Turning 21.
1. Reaching the UK swimming National Championships.
This one feels like a long ol’ time ago now, but I still did it. I swam in a relay for Milton Keynes Swimming Club and was completely terrified.
2. Learning to Scuba Dive.
This one was a lot more chilled than the previous experience. In Egypt, when I was around 12/13, I passed my PADI Open Water Diving course. I absolutely loved it and I wish I could afford more holidays to go back and do it all again!
3. Performing on a stage.
I love to sing but I am so unbelievably scared of doing it in front of people. So performing in my secondary school’s musical, We Will Rock You, as second female lead was a HUGE deal.
4. Travelling to Peru.
Now I have very mixed memories of this one, because although I achieved an incredible thing by spending 4 weeks in Peru in 2012, travelling and helping a community build new kitchens for their homes, I also got seriously ill with a virus that has left me suffering with IBS. I would still go back in a heart beat, though, as the whole experience was unbeatable.
5. Learning another language.
As some of you may know, I am currently studying Spanish at university. Since starting uni I have also picked up Italian and learn this alongside my degree. I have always been jealous of those who are bilingual and I am pretty damn proud of myself for working to become one of those people, too!
6. Completing the Midnight Moo walk.
My Mum and I did this a while back, to raise money for the incredible charity that is Willen Hospice; we started at midnight and walked 13 miles around the paths of Milton Keynes. Not only was this great fun, it was for such a good cause and I will definitely be doing it again in the future.
7. Passing my driving test.
I HATE driving, it makes me anxious and shaky and so passing my driving test was such a huge achievement for me. It’s been nearly 3 years and I’m still dead proud of myself for it!
8. Delaying university.
I was supposed to start my first year at university in 2014 but, for reasons that I will not go into now, I didn’t. Instead, I made a very last minute decision to take a gap year and I have never once regretted that decision. I did what I needed to do for me and it couldn’t have worked out any better.
9. Finding a full time job
Following on from the above, I got my first full time job at 18 and I still go back to that job when they need me over the holidays. I worked full time for a year before starting university and I think I really grew up in that year, which is a huge achievement in itself.
10. Gaining independence.
A full time job meant a full time wage, and that meant being able to afford a lot more than I had done before. I was also driving myself around, which meant that I gained so much more independence than I had had before. I think independence is such a huge, important thing that we develop as we grow up – so it’s definitely an achievement worth noting down.
11. Getting 3 tattoos.
This isn’t necessarily an achievement, but it’s certainly something that I never thought I would have the guts to do! As of now, I have 3 tattoos which I absolutely love and couldn’t be happier with!
12. Being in a long distance relationship.
This one is an achievement on both mine and Luke’s parts. During our ‘gap year’ we spent a lot of time together and so coming to university and suddenly being apart for relatively long periods of time was a real culture shock for both of us. But I like to think we’re now a lot stronger because of this.
13. Learning how to cook.
Turns out, I love cooking. Since being at uni I have experimented with different recipes and I no longer struggle to come up with ideas on what to make for dinner. This may be just another part of growing up, but I think it’s an achievement worth mentioning, especially when I successfully create a new dish for the first time!
14. Learning how I work best.
This is something that I struggled with all throughout school, and I worried that it would also plague me at university. But, actually, I seemed to really find my flow last year and I don’t find it so hard anymore to sit down and just get the job done.
15. Finding true friends.
Again, something that can be a real struggle at school. I definitely have true, lifetime friends from my time at secondary school, but I feel like I had to go through a lot of bad ones to find them. Now, though, I’m a bit more fussy and I think that’s done me the world of good. The friends I have now are (I really, really hope) here to stay.
16. Learning to budget.
You might be able to tell from my previous blog post that this one has been a bit of a learning curve for me. Becoming a student after earning a full time wage for a year was definitely a huge change, but I’m dealing with it, and I no longer buy meaningless crap that will some day get passed to the charity shop tags still intact.
17. Starting a blog.
I love writing this blog. It’s my creative outlet and such a wonderful break from my usual essays and translations. Hazebeaulie has opened up so many doors and provided me with so many opportunities, in such a short period of time and I am very grateful, it’s a huge achievement that I am pretty damn proud of.
18. Passing 1st year of university.
All of the tears and the breakdowns were worth it – I passed! Well, I more than passed, and I was absolutely thrilled. This one is quite possibly my biggest achievement to date!
19. Attending my first blogging event.
I was so nervous when I showed up at the first MK Bloggers event; I knew absolutely no-one and I had no idea of the etiquette or the way that these types of things usually go down. I did it, though, I had a great time and I have attended a few other bloggy events since. The first one is always the hardest.
20. Finding my personal style.
You might think this one is a little silly, but for the longest time I struggled with finding a ‘style’ that I felt suited me. More recently, though, I feel like this is something I’ve achieved: I love every item in my wardrobe and it’s been a long time since I had a morning meltdown over what to wear!
21. Dealing with a chronic illness
I have spoken about my IBS many-a-time on this blog, especially more recently. And, if I’m honest, despite having it for so long, it only has been recently that I’ve really DEALT with it. I feel so much more like I am in control nowadays and that is one hell of an achievement for me.
So, there we go. Basically, 21 reasons why I should be proud of myself, I guess!
I’ve done quite a lot in my nearly 21 years of living and I’m not about to stop now. As important as all of the above are, I have a sneaky feeling that my biggest achievement is yet to come: from September 2017 I will be tackling my year abroad!
Why are you proud of yourself (because you definitely should be)?