21 Things I Did Before 21
A few weeks ago I wrote a post all about 21 things I wanted to do before I turned 21, and whilst I didn't manage to complete all of them I thought I'd share with you what I did manage to do (and not do)!
1. Have a basic grasp of the Dutch Language. ✔️
So I started my dutch lessons, and bloody hell dutch is hard! however I can now just about get by in the supermarket and say the basics and I'm starting to understand more and more!
2. Learn to cook a signature dinner - forget dish - I'm talking starter, main, dessert and sides! ✔️
My year team had to cook dinner for other people in our rowing association so I kind of got to try this out... and start playing around with cooking something other than couscous! So I found out I can make a pretty good pea and mint soup, a passable risotto, an incredible cookie dough skillet and does salad and homemade bread count as sides?? I just need to learn to make my own dressings now...
3. Travel solo somewhere ✖️
So I have travelled solo before but only on day trips and I really want to stay overnight somewhere and do solo travelling properly but with exams and Christmas I just had 0 time to do any, but I'm planning on heading back to Paris for a bit at the end of January to visit some friends and I might stop off somewhere on the way...
4. Read 21 Books ✖️
So I didn't quite hit 21 unless you count the readings I have to do for uni, in which case I'm well over 21, but I did get through quite a few. I finally finished Suite Française, which I've been reading for about 6 months, but I really recommend it as one of those books that everyone should read once. Némirovsky never got to finish her novel before she was sent to Auschwitz, but her daughter published it when she found it 60 years later. I also got through Hiding Room, A Palestine Affair, The Rival Queens, Un Secret, I hope this reaches her in time and In Extremis (which is my new favourite book ever all about Marie Colvin). Usually I feel obliged to read the classics when I have free time to read and so to just read books that looked good was so nice!
5. Learn to Drive ✖️
This didn't happen at all, not even a little bit. Like the travelling I've just had 0 time (and money!) but I've been dreaming a lot about driving lately, which is basically the same as driving lessons right? Experience is experience?!
6. Sort my skin out! ✖️
So I've been investing a lot of time into my skin, and before Christmas it did start to improve but then I think the (very large) amount of alcohol consumed caused it to flare up again! Its starting to settle down again now, but I've also realised that whilst I long for perfectly clear skin sometimes things like this just are out of my control. However, I have promised myself to ALWAYS take my make up after a night out..
7. Get rid of 21 things I don't need anymore ✔️
So I've started getting inspired by Marie Kondo's method of "does it spark joy" which I thought was a load of bull and wouldn't work for me but when I got really invested in it and it helped me a lot. In particular with my memory box and items that I was holding onto because they were 'sentimental' but in reality I couldn't remember where they were from! And now that her series is out on Netflix I'm gonna get even more organised.
8. Volunteer ✖️
I mean I proofread some essays for people? But yeah in reality, I didn't manage to do this one either, I just had such little time and I know where I can volunteer back home, but at uni, I have no clue! Hoping to do this this month though!
9. Raise money for Care4Calais and Médecins Sans Frontières by running a half marathon (This one I know won't be completed before I turn 21 buuuut I can start training now to do one next year) ✖️
So I started training and I can now run 6 miles without stopping which isn't great when a half marathon is 13 miles, but it is nearly half way and for someone who hasn't ran since sixth form I'm pretty impressed! Just have to keep it going now!
10. Fail at something ✔️
From this list it's pretty obvious I've already failed at quite a few things but the point of this was to put myself out there more. I used to go to several auditions a month, and get rejected a lot, and recently I've really feared rejection and started sticking to things I know I can do which is rubbish for personal growth! So I applied to a couple of freelance writing jobs, but never heard back which I'm pretty sure means I didn't get them (although a confirmation would be nice!). But I'm okay that I didn't get them because I taught myself to go for it even if you think you won't get it!
11. Finally move on from him ✔️
I probably text my friends at least once a month like yep I'm finally over him, but it's hardly ever true and I get sucked back in. Buuuut, I spent a lot of time with him over Christmas and I realised that the only feelings still there are nostalgia. I do want him to be happy, but I don't want to be the person he's happy with. I've realised how much we've both grown being away from one another, and how I'll always be there as a friend but I need something different in a relationship, and I want something different.
12. Write a letter to 30 year old you ✔️
My letter was mainly full of how I feel now, and what I think I'll be like when I'm 30. What my goal and ambitions are, what I think of myself, what I think of others, how I imagine the world to be in 9 years time. Maybe I'll post it on here or maybe I'll wait and post it in 9 years...
13. Publish something ✔️
So I'm going to count this one as done because I have written many many blog posts but I have also written my first little collection of "poems" and whilst it isn't officially 'published' I did print it and bind it and gift it to my mum for Christmas. So it is out there in the world to be read, and who knows maybe I'll try sending it to some publishers this year.
14. Go to the movies alone ✔️
I used to be so self-conscious of what people were thinking when they looked at me when I was out. It got so bad at one point that I just stopped going out, even with other people. So this was kind of amazing to remind myself how much progress I've made and there's something refreshing about not having to compromise with anyone. You can pick what movie you want, turn up whenever you want, sit wherever you want, you don't have to share snacks. It's great.
15. Get a tattoo or piercing ✖️
Okay so I haven't done this yet but me and my best friend had planned to get matching tattoos after New Years but the tattoo place was all booked up! However we've made a promise this is going to happen next time we're in the same country! Also I'm going to get a second cartilage piercing with my next pay check (who needs to eat, am I right Mum?)
16. Take a first aid course ✖️
Again, didn't really manage to do this one but I did refresh my memory on CPR skills etc, especially CPR for kids through videos etc. Really want to get my first aid certificate soon though.
17. Write for fun at least once a week ✔️
I started reading through my old journals from Paris and realised how much I missed just writing for no reason at all. It's been really therapeutic too actually and it's made me fall back in love with blogging and writing again, no matter how busy uni gets or how many papers I have due!
18. Learn to be good with money (ahem, savings) ✔️
Money slips through my fingers faster than water. Luckily I've got myself a good part-time job, which is more than needed seeing as I've used up all my savings from Paris, and I've made a monthly budget planner. From March things should be back on track and I can start building up some savings again!
19. Recycle and compost as much as you possibly can ✔️
Moving to the Netherlands has opened my eyes to a lot of new things but one is how much they separate their rubbish. Back in the UK we have one bin for 'recycling' and one for everything else. Over here we have one bin for food waste, one for glass and plastic, one for batteries, one for paper and cardboard and one for everything else. Then we take the 'recycling' to the recycling centre and separate coloured and white glass, different plastics and so on. You can even get money off in the supermarket for returning empty wine and beer bottles!! I'm trying really hard to generate as little landfill waste as I can now, by recycling, reusing, donating, and I've been looking a lot at plastic free alternatives so I'll keep you updated with how that goes!
20. Start doing yoga and take self-defence classes ✔️
So I do yoga and stretching either every morning or every night now, and I'd like to start doing it morning and night. It has made my body feel so much better in terms of flexibility and energy and I can't wait to keep improving! I haven't signed up for self-defence classes yet but I've been teaching myself some moves with online tutorials, but I can't wait to get into a class!
21. Be kind to myself ✔️
I was talking to a friend about this over Christmas when she confided in me that sometimes she is so cruel to herself that she can make herself try. And I got it 100%. That used to be me. But now I counter every negative thought that goes through my mind if it's about me or someone else, and of course sometimes it doesn't work. I don't think "god I look fat today" and counter it with "You're just in a bad space today, you're not fat, no-one else would think you looked fat today, in fact look how good your hair looks" and suddenly forget how horrible and fat I felt. Sometimes you can't get out of that negative space but I've learnt to not let that one self-criticism escalate into pointing out everything that I think is wrong with me. I've started being kind to me too.
So 13/21 isn't too shabby considering how little time I gave myself, and whilst I loved having goals to hit, I didn't get caught up and obsessed with getting them done and I did a lot of other things that weren't on the list! I gambled for the first time at a casino, I caught up with old friends, I got a job, I made new friends, I passed all my exams, I tried port, I gatecrashed a party and did a few other things I probably shouldn't mention here. If I had just had a one track mind on this list I might have let all these other things pass me by, and missed a lot of great memories!