I have started writing this blog post at least four times now. Every time I get a few paragraphs in it just doesn’t sound right. It’s too boring, too long or just not what I wanted it to be. In all honesty, I’ve been reflecting on my twenties a lot this year and my 30th birthday is definitely not going to be what I had in mind. However, I suppose most birthdays this year haven’t really been what people had hoped for, have they?
I think the best way for me to do this is put in a list of my highs and lows of being twenty, and in true Claire style I may ramble a little over some parts.
The highs of being twenty (in no particular order!)
- Working in lots of different sectors and types of jobs from being a bartender, a barista, a social media assistant, a content writer and, obviously, a teacher.
- Travelling all over the world, but especially to new places like Prague, Bratislava, Vienna and Budapest. Being able to go back to Taiwan multiple times was also wonderful, especially being there with my sister without our parents!. Thanks to Melissa for joining me on my first girls’ holiday and many other trips!
I took my first solo trip ever when I went to Zuerich. I loved every minute and owe a big thanks to Diana and Pascal for hosting me and showing me around.
- I discovered the world of decent coffee whilst studying in Sheffield and I’ve not looked back. A huge shout out to The Steam Yard in Sheffield for being my first favourite coffee shop.
- I have also discovered the plant world. It wasn’t that I never liked plants, because I was always curious. But over the last 2-3 years I have become more and more… obsessed? with plants and gardening. If you’ve seen my Instagram, you’ll know what I mean.
- I completed two degrees, and a CELTA, through a lot of difficulties. I took part in loads of extra activities, social events and, of course, made the most of partying and making some super friends.
- I started my blog in 2013 whilst I was visiting my parents in India. I had never intended to continue it and actually had a 3 year gap where I wasn’t posting. I now absolutely love my blog and the people I’ve met through it. It has grown each year and I hope it will continue to do so!
- I passed my driving test and my parents have let me share their little car ever since. On a bad day at uni I used to drive down the motorway blasting out Olly Murs at full volume until I finally felt better. It worked a treat! Cheers Olly!
- I have kept in touch with my wonderful English / Drama / Art teachers from 2014 and they continue to inspire me in most of what I do.
- The lights of my lives came into the world in 2013 and I couldn’t be luckier. My cousin, niece and nephew. They have taught me so much about love and they are truly special.
- And, well, how could I not mention Jonas? After 3 years of trying to meet, but never finding the right time, we finally had our first date. Then a second, and here we are now! Luckier than ever to finally have a decent, wonderful boyfriend after a string of bad choices.
- Oh! And I finally decided I needed to chose a pair of glasses that I actually like. I now have four pairs and I can happily say I like wearing them. I spent all of my teens hating glasses and any moment that I had to spend wearing them.
- Taking the CELTA (thanks bank of Dad!) and becoming a teacher was the best decision I have ever made. I have found a new confidence in myself, a stronger purpose and have made the most incredible friends. I cannot mention everyone who has helped me through this journey, but I must mention a select few.
Helene – without you, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the CELTA. Coffees, smoothies, nights out and our never-ending giggles are priceless and I’m lucky to call you my friend!
Justin, Janet and Jonathan – What amazing CELTA tutors you were, even if I was terrified of Justin! But I’m also grateful for the wonderful, supportive colleagues you became.
Harry, Martin, Sarah and Tanya – you should know by now that I bloody love you all. I am always so thankful for your support, friendship, brownies and, well, everything.
To everyone else who has helped or supported me through my teaching, you rock.
- Finally, after everything that I have been through I can safely say that I am stronger than ever. I hope my thirties will be easier, but if they’re not, I’m bloody well ready to handle anything else.
The lows of being twenty (again, in no order)
- I spent 2 years being mostly bed / sofa-bound
- I spent 7 years struggling with PTSD, depression, anxiety, suspected endometriosis and an awful lot of pain and sickness. Pain that left me in hospital, unable to walk, nevermind go to work, and all of the above took away numerous chances and opportunities for both myself and my mum, as she gave up many things to take care of me.
- Ridiculous relationships! I know you live and learn, but these were situations I could have lived without.
- I spent too much time in my early 20s not knowing what I really wanted from life and wasted a lot of time in jobs and at university. I do wonder where I’d be now if I’d have just done what my dad had told me to from the start.
- I wasn’t often earning money, and when I was I rarely saved it. I splashed out on holidays to Dubai or Switzerland, spent too much in Topshop or was buying gadgets. I wish I had been smarter and saved it all towards a mortgage.
All in all, the highlights outweigh the negatives, which is a lovely thing to see from a grumpy lady like myself. It hasn’t been easy and the negatives have been fairly horrific at times. There were many days during my mid-twenties when I never thought I’d survive the year, let alone see thirty. So I’m proud to say that I’m here, I’m fighting and I’m enjoying the life I now have.
Now, as the minutes tick on closer to midnight, I still cannot believe that I’m about to turn thirty. My mum has been working on decorations for hours, my dad is driving us out tomorrow and my lovely boyfriend is drying my hair as I type this, because there really aren’t enough hours in the day #hesakeeper.
What’s in store for 30? Well, I’m desperately hoping that it won’t be long before I have saved enough for a mortgage, I would like to take the DELTA or an MA TESOL (we’ll see) and I’m absolutely determined to continue working as a teacher. I’m assuming for 2021 I’ll be mostly self-employed and / or working from home, but I’d definitely like to get back into the classroom at some point. I completely adore my job and wouldn’t change it for the world, but I also have to think about earning enough money and saving some for the future. I’m also hoping there may be a mini-me at some point too (but that’s not happening just yet!)
This post is far shorter than I imagined it to be, yay for me! And before I sign off to enjoy the last hour of my twenties I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been part of this mental, unpredictable, whirlwind of a decade for me. Whether you’ve made me stronger, wiser, tougher, supported me or stood up for me – whatever it is and whether or not we still talk, thank you.