Adulthood

Adulthood is a weird thing. I’m turning 27 pretty soon and I have achieved very few of the things I wanted to when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty proud of the things I have achieved but lets be honest, how many of us can ever say that we’ve achieved everything that we wanted to by the time we’d “grown up”?

When I was a kid, I expected to have done all of these things by the time I was 25:

  1. Own my own house
  2. Own a car
  3. Be married
  4. Have a kid on the way
  5. Have a super high paying job where I didn’t have to be in an office but also didn’t have to do much work. (I didn’t understand how jobs worked back when I was 8)
  6. Go on 2 holidays a year
  7. Have a group of friends like in F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Now looking at my wishlist today, it’s kinda funny to think about how few of these I’ve managed to achieve. I am no where near owning my own house (I live in London and work in the charity sector. I’ve basically given up on owning a house in London…). I have no need for a car living and working where I do. I’ve been single for years which pretty much ruins the whole “be married and have a kid on the way” thing and I currently have a job where I’m currently in an office and do a lot of work and get paid less than I’d like. I only went on my first holiday in 10 years this March. I don’t really have a single specific group of friends but I do have incredible friends all over the country.

Some of these I’m more fussed about not achieving them than others. Some I’m kinda glad about not achieving and some, I have mixed feelings about.

Going on a few holidays a year was definitely something I’d have loved to do. But I spent years focused on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I still haven’t figured it out so I’m pretty sure I wasted a bunch of years just waiting around.

I really wanted to own my own house. Or at the very least, I wanted to be living away. That said, I tried it and I didn’t do so well. I don’t think I’m the kind of person who was built to live with other humans. I would much prefer to have my own place where I could invite people round if I wanted to but also have my own space if I wanted to as well.

I’m super stoked about the friends I have so I’m not fussed about number 7 at all. I also don’t have the most well paid job in the world but the work that I’ve chosen to do is important and is hopefully making an impact on the world.

I’m single as someone can get and have been for a while. But for a long time, I wanted to be in a relationship because other people were in them. Now, I just don’t care. If I end up in a relationship, awesome, I’d be stoked. If I don’t, that means I can use all of my time and money and energy focused on myself and take risks and do what I want, when I want.

Adulthood is nothing like I expected it to be. I never expected to have mental health issues as an adult. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that my childhood views of adulthood were warped. I set myself a time limit and was disappointed when I didn’t meet them. But why are we all in such a rush to grow up? Why do we feel like we have to have done certain things by certain times? So what if someone you know is already married? So what if someone else has their own car? That doesn’t make your life any less awesome as it is.

The only thing that I’m super disappointed about in my life is that I’ve played it safe. I have played almost every part of my life safe for over a decade. The one thing that I need to learn to do is take more risks. And that is definitely something that I’m going to be working on this year.

My main message for this meandering, rambly post though is don’t be disappointed that you haven’t achieved everything that you wanted to at this point in your life. Life isn’t that easy. It throws curveballs your way all the time. There is no time limit for success. You can define success any way you like. Just don’t judge whether or not you’re successful based on other people’s lives.

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A Short Update!

First things first, a really important update. Work on the Invisible Illness Human Library has officially got underway! I’ve started meeting with people who are interested in getting involved and have contacted my first potential venue. It’s not a massive start but it’s a start. It’s super exciting to be dipping my toes back into running events!

I’m currently also trying to recruit a little team to work with me on this project. First and foremost, the people with the stories!

For anyone who wants to be one of our “books” the main things we’re exploring about your stories are:
– Diagnosis
– Symptoms
– Highs and lows
– Organisations that have supported you
– Tips for people to support others with an invisible illness.

We’re looking for each person’s story to last between 5 and 10 minutes.

We’ll be doing a physical event (the human library bit) but I would also love to record your stories and upload them so that we can show that it’s okay to talk about invisible illnesses.

 

Next up, a little life update. It’s been a really tough couple of weeks recently. I’ve found myself feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Luckily, I’ve had lots of people very kindly making sure that I don’t lock myself away and wallow in my own mad mind! I also received the nicest, most thoughtful gift of all time. I was taken to see Eliza and the Bear which was absolutely amazing and then I was given an incredible, heartfelt card and this beautiful wooden Success in Selflessness guitar pick. It’s really hard to stress how important it is to have amazing friends around you. Try your best not to shut yourself away, even if you’re feeling extremely anxious or your depression is hitting hard. Even send a text to say hi to someone. It will help. I promise. 20161128_231753.jpg

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The Power of a Smile

I talk a lot about how the little things in life can really help people get through a day, a week, a year. It could be something as simple as a good song or bumping into an old friend or even something silly like tidying up the mini zen garden on your desk. All of these little things can make the tough days just that little bit easier and even though sometimes you don’t acknowledge them, they’re there if you look for them.

I made a new friend recently. For those of you who know me you know I’m not a huge fan of meeting new people. It often makes me feel physically sick. People often tell me that they’d never guess that I’m not a fan of meeting people because I seem so friendly and confident. Truth is, I’m just a very good actor. Meeting people, as I mentioned, makes me feel very sick. It makes me brain function at 1000mph and leaves me considering every single possible social interaction that we’d have in the next few seconds, minutes, hours and days.

However!

This particular person walked up to me with her friend (who I already knew and who all of this also applies to when I first met her) and came over beaming. Smiling like there wasn’t a thing wrong with the world and that made me feel significantly more at ease than when I saw her coming over.

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A simple smile made me feel significantly more comfortable with this new person. She came across as friendly and accepting. Luckily, she was actually friendly and accepting. She’s absolutely not the only person with a winning smile though. Most of the people I know and love greeted me with a smile. Whether it was at the first ever volunteering residential I went to (where I was unable to bring myself to approach anyone), at work or through other ways I’ve always had wonderful smiles around me to calm my nerves.

So I’d always encourage you to smile at that stranger you see on the train every morning, smile at your partners, your friends, your families. Whether it’s a polite smile, a toothy grin or a good ol’ hearty cackle it could be a huge thing. You never know when someone might need that small gesture of kindness.

If you’re in need of a smile, my glorious friends from all over the place have sent me photos (or let me trawl through their Facebook photos) and are here to provide a smile for you as they did for me.

 

Thank you to Jacqui, Deepan, Taz, Sarah, Zahrah, Amira, Jenny, Shaun, Emma, Rob, Victoria, Kate, Scarlett, Kishan, Cat, Zahra, Monet, Emmeline, Jack, John, Naomi, Amy, Katie, Louise, Reema, Sarah and Rosie and many many more for sending in photos, helping me to spread a little joy and for bringing so much joy into my life. I ended up receiving more photos than I could fit but here are just a small fraction of them!

Keep smiling, all.

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