Last week was a week of milestones for me, as I realised it was ten years since I graduated from uni. Ten years. That is a such a long time and while I don’t feel like uni was just yesterday, it definitely doesn’t feel like an entire decade ago either.
I was actually in Leeds on what was the date of my graduation which was a coincidence, considering that’s where I went to uni. It got me thinking about what I’ve done in that time, and unlike a lot of people I know, marriage and babies aren’t on the list. The absolute horror I know, a girl in her 30s actually enjoying life that way how very millennial of me.
I’m perfectly happy with my life though thanks all the same, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t make too many plans, and even if you do it’s unlikely you’ll stick to them as clear cut as you might intend.
At uni I remember having conversations with my housemates about being married with kids by 25. Big fat LOL at that! And also, what a relief. I’ve had so many amazing experiences since I graduated, as well as a few rotten ones of course, and some of them just wouldn’t have been possible with those kinds of responsibilities…
Life will pan out different for everyone, and whatever the last ten years has involved, for me it’s got better the older I’ve got. This list isn’t going to feature those big traditional life moments that I may have previously thought would have happened by now. And I’m totally cool with that.
For some reason I’m assuming everyone’s going to be thinking hmmm, no marriage no babies, that’s a shame. I wonder if the lads I went to uni with would feel the same pressure..? Probably not, but let’s not lose too much sleep over that. Instead this list is just some of the things that I’m either proud of, things I never thought I’d do, bucket list activities, or those pinch me moments where you think howwww have I ended up doing this.
In no particular order..
Girls trips to Vegas
We talked about doing this for years, and waited until we could all sort of afford it, post uni and before any real responsibilities hit. We planned it so far in advance, and we looked forward to it for so long.
On our first night we put $500 on black and won, black no. 4, celebrated like a football team in the middle of Ceasars Palace, then spent all our winnings the next day at the David Ghuetta pool party at the Encore. It was one of the best days of my life and when timehop reminds us of it every year the photos get reshared.
I went back to Vegas a couple of years later with my friend Dani from uni, and a couple of other girls I know through her, and again it lived up to every expectation, as Vegas always does. That trip also included 3 days in LA and I’m so glad I did it. I have no intention of stopping the girls holidays, but they’re a lot harder to plan these days.
On that second trip I took myself off one morning to visit the Neon Boneyard, as that was one of those things I just really wanted to do. It turned into one of the first blog posts I ever wrote, but I didn’t share it until quite a while later.
Started this blog
One of the biggest things I’m proud of is this blog, as it’s entirely mine, created from scratch, and it’s one of the most time consuming things that is equally rewarding. Instagram could delete itself tomorrow and I’d still have everything I’ve created here.
It’s easy to forget with everyone and their aunt starting a blog that it’s such hard work underneath it all. You’re a writer, photographer, PA, negotiator, accountant, web developer, social media manager and everything in between, all while taking a load of shit sometimes too.
It’s nerve wracking and massively pushes you out your comfort zone all the time. It took me months to hit publish and make it public, just because I didn’t have the confidence to do it. That seems like a lifetime ago not just three years.
I think the biggest thing I’m proud of here is that everything I do off the back of it is genuine, I’ve never given in to the money side of it, I’ve never promoted anything I’ve not genuinely used or would do anyway, and I love doing it. Now it’s started to pay for a few things it’s just an added bonus, but I’d do it even if nobody read a word of it.
This was my other anniversary last week, my blog turned three, and I’ve been lucky enough to do some really incredible things through it over the last few years. Even as a little hobby part time blogger that just likes taking pictures.
Found a career I enjoy
It took me long enough, but I worked for a good five years in a job I wasn’t all that fussed about before I pulled my finger out and got into the career I actually wanted. Jobs in social media weren’t even a thing when I graduated, and although I spent five years doing something totally unrelated they weren’t wasted years.
It just shows it’s never too late to do or even find what you’re passionate about, but I don’t regret those years where I worked to fund my holidays and nights out without a care in the world. I met some great people, made good friends and it’s how I met Kieran.
Travelled to places I never would have gone before
I have my job to thank for this in a lot of ways, as it takes me to places I probably would never have been to otherwise. It also gave me a lot more confidence when it comes to travel in general, especially solo travel and eating alone in restaurants.
Copenhagen, Tallinn, Lithuania, Oslo…all beautiful places but that were so far down my bucket list. I’d encourage anyone to go to Copenhagen, and Tallinn in winter. Not forgetting Amsterdam, a place I’ve been to so many times but have some really amazing memories there.
But it’s not just work travel, I’m gradually getting through the list of places I’ve always dreamed of going. You just can’t put things off, if you can afford to do it why wait. Some of my favourites have included Mexico, New York, and more recently Italy – the Colosseum was one of those places I always wanted to visit.
Swam with sea turtles in the wild
Another bucket list item I just always wanted to do for no real reason, and when we went to Mexico I dragged Kieran out of our fancy all inclusive resort to Akumal Bay where they could be found.
It was amazing to see them in the wild, they’re so friendly and cute, and I think of them every time I ask for a straw to try and stop myself. Think of the turtles. Animal tourism is thankfully now being called out for it’s shocking treatment of animals, and it’s true that you can’t beat experiencing them in the wild anyway.
Read my full experience of the sea turtles at Akumal here.
I talk about my experience of anxiety in a lot more detail here, and although I got through the worst of it while I was still at uni, I definitely wasn’t fully back to normal until a few years after graduation.
I blame it for some very dubious decisions in my twenties, but I got through it and I have a lot more empathy towards people who do suffer with it now. I’m a firm believer in helping yourself. It’s not an excuse and it’s not something you can just throw about casually without putting in some real hard work yourself.
That experience has made dealing with others close to me a lot easier too.
Life doesn’t end when your twenties do, whatsoever. If only I could have told that to my younger self. I loved my 30th birthday spent with everyone close to me, and that year was my ‘yes’ year. I did everything I wanted to do, and it was one of the busiest and most expensive years of my life. Worth every penny though. Kieran took me to Paris too.
Went to my first festival
And totally failed at it – see here. And I knowwww Parklife isn’t a camping festival, so it’s no Glastonbury but it’s a big festival and I love it. Seeing Liam Gallagher there last year and Noel Gallagher this year were huge highlights for me, and I’m pleased to say I’ve got a lot better at attending them.
I even did a camping festival last year for a hen do, which was a whole other kettle of fish but I loved that too. I’m glad I got over myself enough to start going.
Been to some pretty cool sport events
I love sports and I always think if you get an opportunity to experience different atmospheres at sports events you absolutely should. I always wanted to go to a NY Knicks game and I finally did that in December last year.
I also went to the mens final of the US tennis open, which was a great experience, and I’ve got my sights set on Roland Garros or Wimbledon hopefully in future. The Six Nations was also on my list which I ticked off at Murrayfield a few years ago.
I’ve yet to visit the Nou Camp, but I’m hoping that will be not too far off.
So although my younger self might have previously seen my current lack of mortgage and offspring as failure, the reality is far from it. Times are changing and women just don’t have to do that as standard anymore. Yes I could have had a house long before now, but that’s not too far off and I’d have missed out on a hell of a lot if I did.
This list isn’t exhaustive either, I’ve attended some pretty amazing weddings of people I love, had some unreal nights out, and put on about five stone but at least I’m happier and healthier than I was at 22 with no clue what I’d do with my life.
If you’re just graduating uni and are wondering what the hell happens now, I promise you the best is yet to come.