I’m nearly 26, and I get to brag now.

So in five days time I’ll be twenty six years old. I have to say? I probably couldn’t be more proud of myself.

I managed to break through what felt like the worst time in my life, remarkably intact thanks to good people, good medication, and good counseling. And you know what else? I survived it because I’m me. Because I’m a pretty strong person when it comes down to it, with my own quirks, faults, failures, and pitfalls. I’m also kind of amazing.

The best thing I learnt this year was to be gentle to myself. It took my counsellor and my doctor at University telling me to do it every week for four months before I started listening, but that’s not the point, the point is that I learnt how to do it – I’m still not perfect at it, and like any good skill I need to constantly refine and re-learn it, but I’m not at the point where I mentally beat myself up for every tiny perceived failure and missed opportunity.

This year I got my blue belt, and that felt pretty big. I’m now four steps away from black belt. (Ok, four steps, 20 kgs, and a health and fitness regime away from black belt.) Along with that (amazing) blue belt, I’m now officially further away from my initial expectation for myself than I’ve ever been before – considering my initial expectation was yellow belt – a mere four gradings ago! So I’m four gradings, five medals, and three years past what I expected of myself. And one of those medals? Is for an international competition.

 This year I made myself face that I wasn’t in a position to keep studying. I love learning, and I will one day finish my Degree, but for now? For now finishing University is outside of scope. I had to let it go because it was one of the biggest pressure points in my life – it made me incredibly unhappy. I went from a B+ student to failing. A. Lot.

I need to find a way of modifying traditional university learning to something that suits me personally, so my goal for the year ahead is to set a proper plan for finishing off my last couple of papers. I’m not in a position to do it next year yet – the idea of writing an essay still fills me with gut-churning dread and paralysing panic, but I have hope that I’m going to be there soon. Before I am I have to spend some time confidence building, and slaying the part of myself that second guesses to the point of panic.

This year I ticked a lot off my list of things to do:

  • I had my quarter-life crisis (go depression!).
  • I dated someone with a motorbike (Unfortunately not long enough to be allowed to drive the motorbike.)
  • I paid off (some) debt.
  • I dressed like a flapper, and an Amish person and posed for completely serious family portraits.
  • I got a haircut, and a real job.
  • I learnt how to build networks (surprisingly my greatest tool seems to be the question “How’s your day going?”)
  • I went to a burlesque show, and that, combined with seven years of gym changing rooms has thoroughly disabused me of the notion that the female body is a perfect thing – and that therefore, that I was somehow abhorrent, abnormally squidgy, and gross. I’m far happier with what I look like now, than I’ve ever been before.
  • Also I HAVE to tell you about that Burlesque show. Because I thought I was going to a musical about zombies. Imagine my surprise when nearly-nude ladies started doing ill-advised things with candles. (Really.) Remind me!
  • I’ve found a career path that I want to shoot for in the next few years.
  • I wore a pirate costume on a work day and called my boss a scurvy landlubber.
  • I’ve finally started learning how to accept change graciously. I’m learning to take my instinctive negative response and re-examine it.

So yeah. A year of awesome, and suck, and bad and good. And now I’m 25, five days away from being 26, and getting to shake hands with a five legged sheep. Life is good.

My year ahead:

  • Re-learning algebra via smart phone. Theres an app for that. I’ve started with Linear Equations using Integers. (I swear I’ve never used any of those words seriously before. I must have slept through that lesson in High School.)
  • Entering another patterns competition for TKD… And maybe finally managing to break a board in competition! Or, even sparring, If I’m feeling very brave. (Except sparring is terrifying.)
  • Challenge myself physically. It might mean a change in gym though. Because new and exciting, is new and exciting.
  • Take another step up the career ladder.
  • Be brave enough to speak in a fake russian accent and introduce myself as Ivanna in a bar to a stranger.
  • Working on my trust issues, and being more open to new people – it’s hard to make friends when your first instinct is to clam-up and stare suspiciously at new people.
  • Drinking more green tea. (Even though it’s gross and tastes like bitter grass clippings.)
  • Learn how to do the perfect side piercing kick.
  • I hope to meet a guy worthy of introducing to the parental units – BUT that’s not really a to-do list item. It’s more of a hope. Which is why I said hope I guess.
  • Dress like a pirate and take a photo of myself holding a sword on a bronze cannon.
  • Be awesome at extreme sports. In my head.
  • Take up a hobby for later on when I’m a grandma. Like scrapbooking, knitting, bowls, or coupon cutting.
  • Buy a car, and get my full licence
  • Take a long road-trip to somewhere weird and a bit silly. Like Matamata. Or Hamilton.
  • Find the perfect place to live alone and own a cat.
  • Think about maybe moving into that place. Unless I’m still having too much fun flatting with Becks and Jasmyne.






7 thoughts on “I’m nearly 26, and I get to brag now.

  1. Counseling is the best, isn’t it. I think everyone should go.

    This is a great post – you have much to be proud of. Congrats on all you accomplished and good luck on all the goals ahead. More importantly, Happy Almost Birthday!

  2. 25 is definitely a milestone. You’ve done a lovely job looking forward and back. Congratulations on the things you’ve learned. Being reasonable with/to yourself is HUGE. Happy birthday!

    The college degree, not so much. Yeah, I’m a dropout, but I’ve worked at a college for 13 years now (it’s a great place to work!) I have grave doubts about the true value of that degree as compared to its cost. It’s great for some folks, but not for everybody. Even so, the guilt load of never having finished gives me dreams 2 or 3 times a year, where I’m back at school. Lost, can’t find my schedule, don’t know where I’m supposed to be, completely forgot about one or more of my classes, hopeless … these dreams are not all that bad, just mildly disconcerting, even 35 years later.

  3. ‘Proud’, I think, is the best superlative that I have for you.
    This is not to rule out other words like genus, loving, beautiful, smart and weird (in the nicest possible way). Lol
    See you tomorrow.

  4. Mel: Counselling is DEFINITELY the best. It gives you all kinds of self awareness – then you start noticing how UNaware a lot of people are. It really makes a very big difference in the way you choose to move in the world!

    David: So do you feel guilty about it? Because I still have moments of that!! And do you think you’ll ever finish?

    Dad: Aw! Warm fuzzies to you too! And quite frankly, I take being called weird as a complement.

  5. I’ve usually found green tea over-rated but try Jasmine Pearl tea, it’s sweet and delicate.

    This is my first time here but I am so proud of you! You’ve seen some hard times and come out ahead, high five! I experienced depression and went to counseling and now I feel proud of myself for getting help.

    You’re awesome.

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