Wednesday marked the beginning of a new era: I am twenty one.
I’ve never really known how to feel about birthdays. Growing up they signified parties, gifts and my favourite type of cake, and now more than ever they feel like a checkpoint where I am supposed to ask myself “What have I accomplished so far in my life?”
I live in Australia, where the legal drinking age is eighteen, so I don’t feel like turning twenty-one represents me turning into an adult and having a whole lot of newfound responsibility. But I still feel different. When I travelled interstate to visit my gran recently and when she had a tear about me turning twenty-one, it became obvious that the older generation still views twenty-one as a massive milestone in life. But for me it feels like I’m just one step closer to death. Morbid, I know.
But in celebrating another year around the sun, I continue to realise how short my time here really is. And although I’m not positive about what I want to be doing with my life, I’m positive that being a full-time McDonald’s worker isn’t it. Birthdays really make me consider what on earth I’ve done in the past year. What can I do in the next year? Is anything I’m doing worthwhile? So I thought that I would take this moment to have a look back at what I managed to accomplish during the first year of my twenties, and think of a few things I would like to do before I turn twenty-two.
I tackled my anxiety, depression and addiction head first
Actually, I spent my twentieth birthday in a mental health facility last year. 2016 in general was a massive year for me dealing with issues I’d been avoiding for years, but it was after my birthday that I truly realised how important it was to get things under control. Spending my birthday in hospital wasn’t the greatest feeling in the world, but I got to go out for dinner with my family and my hospital friends got me little gifts and it was ended up being an alright day. But it definitely made me realise that I needed to get things sorted; I didn’t want to be spending another birthday on the ward.
I let go of toxic people and focused on the people who brought out the best in me
It was really difficult, but I culled quite a few people from my life this past year. Upon being discharged from hospital it became a lot clearer who I needed to be around to be the best person of myself. I got rid of the negative and embraced the positive people and my life has become so much richer because of it. Never underestimate the power of a loving and supportive friendship group.
I restarted my blog
This was huge for me. Ash+Moon originally started as a book blog that I slowly started using less and less frequently around the end of 2015. I wasn’t as passionate about reading as I had been in the past and the idea of sitting down and writing was a massive burden. But around the time I was in hospital I found myself with all this free time I hadn’t had before, and I started dedicating that time to my blog again.
I’ve always loved writing, and although I did stop using it again for a while at the beginning of 2017, I have spend the last few months of being twenty diving head-first back into the blogging world and re-learning what I am passionate about. It’s been incredible.
I moved out of home
One of the, if not the biggest learning curbs of my life so far was moving out of home. It has definitely been a struggle (and a half) and it’s been a lot more complicated than I could of imagined, but the absolute relief I feel having my own place is incredible. Although I am currently going through a lot of housemate angst and I’m pretty sure I’ll be moving back home (well, into the caravan!) soon, the experience has been amazing. I definitely want to start looking for somewhere new and a lot less toxic as soon as I can.
Before I turn twenty-two I would like to find a new job
This one is likely to happen sooner rather than later, but it is also one of the most important things I would like to do this upcoming year. I have been at my current job for just over two years (but honestly feels like a life-time) and I desperately need a change. I work with amazing people, but I’m stuck for opportunities or getting anything out of it. I definitely need out of McDonald’s and into something new!
Visit New Zealand
I would love to travel anywhere internationally, but right now New Zealand seems do-able. Since I’m Australian, I don’t need a visa and I could legally find work there if the country seriously took my fancy. I need something new, and honestly even the smallest of change seems incredible right now.
Where I write isn’t important, but it’s so, so important to me that I continue writing this year. I get so much from spilling my thoughts onto paper or a computer screen, and I definitely want to make sure I keep it up.
Art by heather, featured on september 2016 art gallery on ‘The Messy Heads’.