So it’s been a while since i’ve posted – mainly because instead of moving half way across the world and writing about travel adventures, or the ups and downs of my year of not drinking for charity, or trying to tick off a bucket list of things before my birthday, I’ve instead embarked on one of the hardest courses of my life that I can’t write about much (let’s just say that Adam Kay had to leave the profession before he got to publish his stories).
It’s probably a good thing because this blog would’ve likely just become a string of complaints. ‘Highlights’ of my last six months have included:
- moving to London
- having shingles and just being low-level ill for as long as I can remember
- an extremely difficult housing situation
- moving house again
- switching from my friends being mostly type B’s to almost exclusively spending time with type A’s
- bed bugs (and thus moving in out of my room numerous times)
- really long working days
- oh, and exams
One of the things that I’ve found most difficult about it is people saying “I’m sure you’ll be fine”. Mostly they’re strangers and they are exclusively saying it in response to me saying that I was concerned about upcoming exams (and not knowing all the other stuff that’s going on), but it’s become my pet peeve because, frankly, “how the hell do you know?” and more importantly, what if i’m not?
It’s like when we say “I’m fine” as a matter of habit. Like any habit it’s taking me a while, but I’ve tried to stop saying it when i’m not. I’ve started saying “I’ve been better but I’m talking to the right people about it” (i.e. I’m not here to offload right now to you, near-stranger, but I appreciate that you asked anyway).
So without trying to sound too preachy, the next time you tell someone that you don’t know that well “I’m sure you’ll be fine”, maybe just take stock and think, “am I sure? do I know this person enough to say this, or am I just saying it out of habit?”
Despite me starting this blog as a way of keeping friends and family informed of my whereabouts upon moving to Australia three years ago, it continues to evolve and has taken on the sub-headings, “A year without alcohol” and “25 before 25”.
Yet still I find comfort in ‘writing things out’ during the transitionary periods. It’s like having a journal where you’ve forced yourself to edit out the drivel and nonsense.
Three days ago I took a train down to London to try and find somewhere to live. I’m starting a degree in medicine in twenty-five days. Obviously this cannot be the subject of my forthcoming blogs (If you haven’t read Adam Kay’s book; This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor, a. you should, and b. He had to leave the profession of medicine and have a legal team look over every sentence before he was able to publish a single word of that). What I will do, however, is give sporadic updates of things that I’ve learnt – some of them will probably be about myself and thus sickeningly introspective.
Nevertheless, here’s what I’ve learnt so far:
- London is lovely. But expensive. And enormous. (I knew these things before but looking for accommodation that is half the size and double the price; and having friends who live the best part of an hour and a half away, really solidified this).
- Often important things take a while, so you cannot rush the process.
- I’m more of an introvert than I let on.
- I cry probably once every forty-eight hours
- I usually cry at really trivial things, and remain far more stoic in important situations i.e. I didn’t cry leaving Manchester, but I will at any episode of trashy tv.
So this year has been busy!
I may not have completed everything I’ve set out to do on my list: a fair few are because they cost money – which i’ve not had a whole lot of this year, and the others are because everyday life got in the way. I’ll put the list down at the bottom, so you can see what I did manage, and just maybe i’ll get to the others before I turn thirty. But, there’s also a whole slew of things that I’ve done this year that i’d never have expected to. Here’s just a few of them…
- Completed writing a dissertation whilst simultaneously having a full time job
- Been hit by a car and lived to tell the tale (surprisingly, in one piece; it’s nothing less than miraculous)
- Said goodbye forever to my grandpa, my uncle, and our beloved dog
- Been around the other side of the world (Australia) for a wedding
- Applied for medical school, had interviews, and got a place
- Started playing in the band at my church
- Had counselling until I felt it was no longer necessary
- Left a job because it was really terrible
- Was actually honest in a ‘leaving interview’ about all the reasons said job was terrible in the hope that it would be better for the next person
- Spent a night in an airport because I’d missed a flight
- Told someone what I thought of them, (even though it is very uncharacteristic of me to be that scathingly honest – and we’re still on speaking terms!)
- Met, and made friends with, some absolutely cracking people
So despite the fact that I didn’t get to tick everyone of my goals off of my list, it’s okay because the list I had was quite arbitrary, and the things I’ve experienced have continued to change me – and I think that’s what it was always about in the first place.
(The Original List):
- Donate blood
- Have been to 25 different countries
- Complete a triathlon
- Have a phone free, social media free, television free week
- Eat a meal at a Michelin star restaurant
- Make Christmas dinner for the family
- Visit someone in prison
- Make a piece of art and sell it
- Go skydiving
- Have a vegan month
- Run a half marathon
- Drive a racing car
- Get a ‘grown-up’ job
- Get a tattoo
- Climb a mountain
- Learn how ride a motorbike
- Take a yoga class
- Raise £500 for charity
- Apply for something I probably won’t get
- Go skinny dipping on New Year’s Eve
- Write and record a song
- Complete a master’s degree
- Be able to do 10 pull-ups (I currently have no upper body strength)
- Give away a whole month’s wage to someone who really needs it
- Ask someone out on date
So… making a list of 25 adventurous and, in some cases, expensive things to do before your 25th birthday requires a fair amount of money and time – neither of which I have a surplus of. So far I have completed 11/25 and have blogged on 7/25. Not the best stats given that there’s roughly 3 months left! Nevertheless, I will continue.
There might be some mild alterations to the original list but raising £500 for charity is something I managed. Turns out that people thinking giving up alcohol for a year is much harder than a half marathon. I beg to differ!
You can still give to my JustGiving page to raise money for Home for Good.
#11 – Run a half marathon
I hate running. Absolutely loathe it. I find no joy in it whatsoever and am baffled by people who do. This one was a real challenge for me.
Although this was some time ago, it’s still a favourite achievement because I have never been so relieved for something to be over (that and my MA dissertation).
Please don’t ask me how long it took me – it would horrify actual runners.
Here’s me; tired and sweaty, and the girl who cheered me over the finish line and made me the most amazing medal (much better than the one from the race).
#10 – Have a vegan month
The reason for this one was mostly intrigue… could I be happy without chocolate, mac and cheese and steak for a month? (Obviously, that doesn’t constitute my entire diet!)
There were some things I really missed, like eggs and salmon, and other things that didn’t bother me at all, like drinking oat/soy milk. I enjoyed cooking a lot more and I feel like I now have loads of recipes and ideas of what to make when vegan friends come over.
Given that my favourite beer is a milk stout (Brewdog’s Jet Black Heart), it’s definitely not for me long-term though!
#13 – Get a ‘grown-up’ job
Today I had my first day at my new job. For the last few months since I left my job I’ve been lifeguarding. I’m not trying to say that this is a lesser job, but I now contribute to a pension scheme, and wore a nice blouse – that’s the kind of thing I mean when I saw ‘grown-up’.
I also got stabbed with a needle on my coffee break. It was the flu jab. Perks of working for the NHS, I guess!?
Just in case anyone was wondering, my official title is ‘Child Health Team Assistant’.