I turned 23 on the 18th of August 2017. My 23rd birthday was a true joy. I spent the day with my nearest and dearest friends and family members. I woke up early and watched The Breakfast Club by myself, a new birthday tradition that I’ll continue to do, even when I’m old and grey. I went wandering around bookstores and ate gluten free cake in my favourite cafe with my Chummy. I spent time at home with my parents, who reminisced about the day I was born and spoke about how the past 23 years flew by. I chatted to my Nanny and my Mam’s best friend over warm cups of tea at the kitchen table. I met my bestie and fellow Gossip Girl enthusiast in the city where we drank cocktails and gossiped and giggled over foolish couples in a bar that played tacky chart music. I ended the day at home, where I shared a bag of chipper chips with my parents in our living room.
Birthdays mean a lot to me, and not because of the presents, but because it marks a fresh start, a brand new year. My birthday is like my own mini New Years celebration. There may not be a countdown in Times Square and fireworks don’t light up the sky above Sydney, but every year on August 18th I am filled with a sense of joy and relief. I let the mistakes and regrets and difficult memories of the past year wash away, and focus on the year ahead, my 23rd year on the planet. I become a more motivated and ambitious person once the clock strikes 12 and August 18th rolls around.
My 22nd year was pretty special. I traveled a lot more. I completed my studies in college. I wrote for even more publications. I started drinking coffee and reading more and dyed my hair auburn. I grew closer to my parents and went on solo cinema trips and took part in the mini marathon. I became happier and a tad bit chubbier and more determined to succeed. I made new friends and cut ties with toxic people. I became features editor of our college newspaper, I fell in love with La La Land and drank pina coladas in the city. I achieved many goals, but failed too. I learnt a lot and grew as a person (but sadly not in height, I’m still 5″3).
So, here’s to 23; the year where I hope to find a job I adore, the year where I want to travel alone, the year where I’ll meet new people, and visit new places. The year where I’ll read so many more books and watch stories unfold at the cinema. The year where I’ll go to concerts and to the theatre and to the sea. The year where I’ll spend quality time with my friends and family. 23 will be the year of improvement and determination, but most importantly the year where I’ll be content and carefree.
I was lucky enough to take part in a mindfulness workshop in college on Wednesday. One thing that helps boost mindfulness is gratitude, so I’ve decided to start a positivity journal. I’m toying with the idea of visiting Paperchase and splashing out on a new notebook *swoons*, but today I’m going to scribble here on my blog and share a few things that made me smile like the Cheshire Cat this week.
1: My Mam minds my little cousin Molly three days a week. She brightens my mornings and never fails to make me laugh. She’s such a placid kid and is a joy to have around the house. This week she ran around the house doing dinosaur impressions, which made me laugh so much.
2: I handed up my special subject assignment, which has been stressing me out for months. It’s one of the biggest college projects I’ve ever worked on so I was over the moon when I handed it up on Tuesday afternoon.
3: Riverdale is back. I am crazy about this show so that two week break was a true struggle. Oh it’s so great to see Jughead back on my screen. I’ve got the biggest crush on Cole Sprouse.
4: Twist and Shout by The Beatles played on the radio as I drove to college with my Dad. That song always makes me smile because it reminds me of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
5: I bought new denim shorts that make me feel really body confident. I struggle to find shorts that fit well because I’ve got huge hips and a slim waist, but finally I found a pair that make me feel super sassy.
6: My skin is clearing up. Bon voyage spots! I’ve been drinking more water, eating more fruit and using the L’oréal Fine Flowers Gel-Cream Wash and it seems to be working on my angry red blemishes. It feels good to have clear skin again.
What made you smile this week?
Back in my final year of school I stood outside my English classroom with my favourite teacher, we spoke about how my grades had dropped dramatically and about how my writing wasn’t as strong as it used to be. “You’ve lost your spark” she said with concern. And she was right, I had lost my spark, because I knew that I only had a few months left in school. I was ready to leave. I was ready to complete my exams and move onto the next chapter of my life.
At the moment I have two months left in college. I will complete my HND in journalism in two months and I’m more than ready for graduate life. People have noticed that my spark has dwindled again. I’ve grown tired of college; tired of the same old routine, the classes, the 18 bus route, the early mornings and the never ending pile of assignments weighing me down. I can see the finish line, but I still have one more hurdle to jump over before I get there. But, I’m growing impatient. I’m ready to leave now, right this second. I’m ready to wave goodbye to my college and my classmates and to move onto a brand new chapter.
I’ve been daydreaming about the freedom I’ll have once I walk out the door of my final class. I’m not too sure what I’ll do when I complete this course. I may work full time in a local cafe or move to Canada or study something completely different. Maybe I’ll join a pottery class or spend the summer in the countryside or start volunteering again. I might write the book I’ve always dreamed of or find a full time job in the city or apply for an internship at a newspaper. I could move across the world or simply down to Cork. The list is never ending.
I won’t let the final few pages of this chapter dim my spark. I will be as bright as I’ve ever been. I will fill my mind with positive thoughts and my soul with determination and drive. Patience and positivity will help me reach the end of this chapter.
In two months time this chapter will end. A chapter where I grew and met new friends and learned many valuable lessons. A chapter where I cried and laughed and smiled. A chapter where I achieved my dreams and failed, but continued to move forward, because I can see that finish line and I cannot wait to cross it.