Archive | April, 2016

28 Years Later

18 Apr

My birthday is FINALLY here!!! I’ve been awaiting the arrival of this day for about 364 days now and honestly I don’t know anyone more excited about birthdays than me. I LOVE my birthday. It isn’t about adding 1 to my age (or subtracting 3, 5 or sometimes 10), but celebrating the anniversary of the day I was born. April 18th 1988 I was birthed into this world and my story began.

The Happy Birthday Girl!!

The Happy Birthday Girl!!

Just like the end of the year is a time of reflection on the past months and preparation for the New Year, this special day is time for taking stock of where I’m at. Life has been so unpredictable so I’ve always been anxious of what the future had in store for me at various points in my life. Last month I read an interesting article in the STYLIST magazine titled “This Is What 30 Looks Like” where 30 women across the globe assessed their lives at 30 years old. It was a very honest and heartening report, illustrating how distinctive this milestone was for women from different cultures, religions and professions. Only 4 out of the 30 women said they were exactly where they thought they’d be at this age whereas the rest didn’t expect this was how life would unfold. Some had surpassed their personal expectations due to the progression of gender equality in less developed countries or opportunities begetting opportunities propelling them further in their careers while others missed targets such as getting married or their lives took an unfortunate turn due to the loss of a loved one. However, whether good or bad, a common thread in each of their stories was this sense of satisfaction that regardless of their current situation, they were proud of how far they’d come these 30 years on earth. I was encouraged because I thought I was the only one who felt life hadn’t gone the way I thought it would and I haven’t even reached 30.

In light of that article and my upcoming birthday, I decided to evaluate what has become of me 28 years later and here is my stock-taking in summary.

Three things I haven’t yet done that I would have liked to

1) If you cast your mind back to April 2013 in my post, Quarter-Life Crisis, I mentioned riding a horse was one of the things I hadn’t ever done before. Would you believe 3 years later this status hasn’t changed? Shame on me… Maybe before 30?? #30before30

2) I haven’t seen a single full episode of Grey’s Anatomy. With all the numerous series I watch, for some reason this didn’t made it to the list. I’ve heard nothing but great reviews however I can’t start it from anywhere else but season 1 episode 1 so I need time to catch up. I’m saving this for my 2nd maternity leave. Oh yeaaa!

3) I would have thought by 28 I would have relocated to another country. I have a great curiosity about the world and there’s so much to see. Different cultures, food and people to discover; I love travelling and imagined me living somewhere else besides the UK. In my opinion, 28 years is too long of time to spend in just one place. One a smaller scale though, I’ve lived in Thailand for 6 months.

 

Three things I’ve achieved that I hadn’t imagined at 28

1) I’M MARRIED!!! I’ve always wanted to get married, but I wasn’t actively and sincerely preparing for that life change; I was just wishing it to come to pass. Maybe because deep in the cabinet of my fears, I thought I’d be 30 and single, 40 and single and possibly 50 and still single. I knew it would take a miracle for me to get married. And that’s exactly what happened. My miracle of a husband that knew the first time he saw me that I was his wife (or so that’s the story he tells me).

2) I’M A MUMMY. Just like number 1, I always wanted children. But I assumed me being great with children translated into a career working as a teacher or youth worker. I didn’t expect to have a baby so soon after marriage, but as life would have it, the best gifts are always surprises.

3) I’M A DATA MANAGER (in clinical trials). I loved English and Drama at school and thought I’d be a full-time writer/singer/actress. But those dreams where pushed aside when I went to University to study Law, after which the plan was then to become a teacher. But being rejected for the PGCE course 3 consecutive years, it seemed it just wasn’t meant to be. In 2013, I didn’t even know what Clinical Trials was until February of that year, where over time I’ve developed great skills in Data Management and a passion for Research and the vast impact it has in our daily lives.

Marriage, Babies, Careers!

Marriage, Babies, Careers!

 

Three things I deliberately set out to achieve and succeeded.

1) Rekindled my love for writing. I created this blog in 2012 with 33 posts to date. Thoughtchannel is a place where I can gather my views on life experiences; it’s where I find calm in the midst of the craziness of life, where I dig deeper and discover. It’s opened the path to other great writings.

2) I’ve explored higher ground and deeper waters in different countries. Climbing Mount Fuji in Japan  and Scuba diving in Thailand.

3) At 28 I am a ‘Natural’. My last relaxer was in 2010 and since then I’ve gone back to my roots. I’m committed to this natural hair journey; I’m constantly having to be patient with the process, but it’s taught me a lot about myself and I’m proud and confident it was the right decision.

 

So there you have it; a snapshot of my life as I planned, wouldn’t have imagined and where it didn’t pan out accordingly. How do I feel about where I am today? Honestly? Before writing this post I felt like I was behind; so far from the mark. But the question I had to ask myself was is there a perfect and universal standard in which I can measure my progress against? And the answer was NO because I can’t compare to age mates or those older/younger than me because quite frankly, we’re not even running the same race and will never be at the same page even if we all started on April 18th 1988.

Contentment

The race is only with YOURSELF!!!

I’ve never been the goal-setting type of person so it’s a mystery how my chaotic path has carefully orchestrated itself to this perfect place where I’m gradually accepting this is where I’m supposed to be. For the few goals I did set, where I failed to achieve them within fixed time frames, subconsciously I negated all the other unintentional victories. I didn’t give them as much importance because they weren’t in my line of focus but they turned out to be the real achievements that are moulding me into the person I want to be. At 28 I’ve finally learnt that sometimes the plans, goals and ideas YOU have for life isn’t really the plan, goal and idea LIFE has for you.

With that said, start with what YOU have and be happy WHERE YOU ARE. I’m sure if you were to take stock of your life at your next birthday; you too would have plenty things you purposely achieved and are proud of, many things you are yet to experience and things you’ve achieved that never even crossed your mind (please do share yours in the comment box; I’d love to read summaries to further illustrate the notion of same age, different stage). Live life as best as you can in whatever capacity you find yourself. Live as honestly, as painfully, as patiently, as excitingly and as simply as the day brings. Be attentive and receptive to the possibilities life presents to you and ALWAYS be thankful for the lessons as well as the blessings. Don’t worry about the future. Take care of ‘today’ every day and the future will take care of itself

Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect...

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect…

...it simply means you've decided to enjoy life.

…it simply means you’ve decided to enjoy life.

Happy Birthday Meee. Here's to many more happy years.

Happy Birthday Meee. Here’s to many more happy years.

I have found calmness in the midst of craziness.

Ms Tola aka The Birthday Girl  

xx