Another year alive! That’s how I feel during every single one of my birthdays now. I never quite understand people who get depressed at the thought of getting old – surely another year on this planet is something we should be grateful for considering how easily life is lost? I just spent my 32nd birthday relaxing by the pool with the man that I love, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt healthier, and more focused, positive and alive. Getting older is fab, if you ask me – I love every minute of it! Here are a few thoughts I have on turning 32.
1. Certain parts of my body are starting to turn a little softer, and that’s okay.
2. A few lines have also started to appear on my face, and that’s also okay. They’re proof that I smile a lot (okay, and that I frown a lot, too).
3. I no longer can get away with not exercising – I found that one out the hard way.
4. You may lose friends along the way because they cannot quite understand the person you’ve become. It’s best to come to terms with the fact that people change, and that doesn’t make you bad, especially if those changes have made you a happier person.
5. Your family members won’t always be around. Take care of them, call them, see them often.
6. Despite the fact I spent the majority of my 20’s chugging Stella like it was water, I’m now happier without alcohol. It used to turn me into a mean, mean person – even I wouldn’t be friends with drunk me.
7. Exercise should be something that you do in order to be healthy, not something you do with the sole aim of getting skinny.
8. Yoga is something I’ve loved for years and I’ve finally made my way back to it again. I now plan to practise every single day (thank you, Ubud).
9. You never really ever ‘love yourself’ completely, but you can definitely learn how to be kinder to yourself. That’s something that I work on every day.
10. I still don’t earn as much as I did in my best paid job, but I’m definitely happier than I ever was when I was stuck behind a desk for hours on end. I’ve realised that I’m happier to earn less but have more freedom.
11. Belongings really don’t bring me happiness. Trips to foreign lands and new cities do. Okay, okay and the occasional purchase from Zara.
12. I never thought I’d ever want kids, but I met a man who has made me feel safe and loved and happy, and now I’m looking forward to starting a family in the future. Not too soon, though. I still have places to see and books to write.
13. It’s really important to try and be as present in the moment as you can. The past and future really don’t serve you much – you need to do whatever needs to be done: right here, right now.
14. I’ll never be able to crash diet again. I love food too bloody much.
15. While we’re on the topic of food, there’s no better breakfast than eggs Benedict…with a glass of bucks fizz, if available.
16. The older I get, the more I appreciate the life that I have been given. I’ve seen how easily it can be taken away, and I don’t want to ever take it for granted – even on the days when I’m having a really shit time of it.
17. Find a partner who wants to grow old with you. Someone who you know won’t wince at your wrinkles, or make you feel bad for gaining weight. Someone whose eyes gleam when they look at you. It’s not too much to expect from someone – honestly.
18. Pick your battles with your partner. Bickering about everything single thing just takes away the magic.
19. Travel whenever you can. You already know that it’s the best thing you can spend your money on, so just do it.
20. Learn to love your body the way it looks right now. Before you know it, gravity will take hold of everything anyway, and if you haven’t learn to accept yourself then you have a long journey ahead of feeling miserable.
21. There’s no such thing as the ‘perfect place’ in which to live. All cities/towns/villages have pros and cons. Find one that suits you the best and make peace with the bad parts.
22. Reading makes me feel ridiculously happy. I decided to make this the year that I read at least 50 books, and I’m pleased to say I’m on track. I’m currently on book 17 (The Secret History by Donna Tartt for those of you who are interested).
23. Life rarely works out the way you plan it to. You really have to learn how to make lemonade out of lemons if you want to stay ahead.
24. I’m happy to see that there’s a new wave of feminism going on at the moment. I hope that if I have a daughter, that by the time she’s older she won’t have to deal with the same amount of sexism as I did while growing up.
25. If I have a son, he will be a feminist. Or else.
26. My mummy is the best person ever. I know everyone says that about their mum, but mine really has a heart of gold. I like to call her a ball of love, because that’s precisely what she is.
27. Work shouldn’t be the only thing that defines you. It took me more than a decade to figure that one out. If only we were brought up to place more emphasis on our loved ones than the work we do to bring money home every month. It should be a balance.
28. That’s something else I’m happy for – seeing that new ways of working and making money are emerging. You no longer have to be chained to a desk in order to earn a living. It’s refreshing to see people making their own way in the world.
29. Laugh often. Even if you have nothing to laugh about, put something on that you know will make you happy. For me, it’s YouTube videos from the various Police Academy movies.
30. Love and be loved. Be vulnerable. Allow yourself to open yourself up like you never have done before, and you may just be surprised with the results. I was.
31. Your ‘demons’ never really go away. You just learn how to keep them quiet.
32. I’m looking forward to turning 33. I believe that my lucky number is 3, so it should be a good one.
Until next year…