I can’t believe that today marks the 8th year anniversary since I boarded a plane with Catariya & my mum.
I started this blog 1½ day before I left Sweden as a way of keeping in touch with friends and family back home and around the world, but I never thought it would still be going after so much time!
A lot has happened since I first started writing and going through my old posts I can’t help but to think that I was so young & so extremely naive. It’s a bit like reading your childhood diaries – some of it is so cringe worthy…
But despite that I do have to give my 19 year old self credit for having the balls to leave everything she knew about life behind and move to a place where she didn’t know anybody. I probably wouldn’t be as brave today as I was back then.
So I have a lot of respect for that girl because despite her naive views on life and love, she powered through some of the most difficult times and lows, and I don’t really know how the hell she had the inner strength to do it (although I bet you it was most likely stubbornness and the deeply rooted view that “failing” was not an option) but I am extremely happy that she did because she helped me realise / come to terms with the following things throughout the years:
We live in a time where we expect an incredibly quick turnaround on almost everything in our lives. The truth is, real change takes time. Whether that is getting a diploma, becoming fitter, advancing in your career, saving up money to buy a home, building new (or old) relationships. It used to get me down when I didn’t see instant change until I started running. That monumental change in my life made me realise that it takes time for all these seeds in life to grow and blossom. And even if it is hard at times, you have to be patient and persistent, and most importantly, you should not give up if something goes wrong. Just accept it, forgive yourself and move on.
Learn to forgive yourself
I am known to hold grudges forever, mainly with myself, but on occasions when it comes to others too. It has taken a lot of work to start forgiving myself for certain things in my life. I know that Im still very harsh on myself, but I am slowly learning how to pick my battles. It’s not easy, especially when you have a habit of over-analysing everything, but I am trying because I know that some things are simply not worth working myself up about.
Don’t waste money
I’ve never been super irresponsible when it comes to money, my mum is an accountant and my parents own their own businesses, so it’s been hammered in me from an early age that money is something you work hard for. But life was very different as a student and when I wasn’t living on my own… This year was the toughest financial year in my “adult” life and after living on a £10 a day budget since February, I can’t begin to explain how angry I have been at my younger self for spending stupid amounts of money on ridiculous things that I deep down knew I either didn’t need or want. I swear, if I would’ve saved all that money I spent on needless purchases I would have an amazing pension by now… Now I am all about the budget – I plan my purchases and I keep all my receipts so I know where the money is going. Every little counts!
Love is (sadly) not enough
I used to believe that love was the answer to everything. If you had and gave love things would work themselves out because in my head, Love = Happiness. Sadly, if my last few relationships thought me anything, it was that love is not enough to build a lasting and happy relationship. It made me incredibly upset when I came to terms with this because I had more or less based my entire life around that notion. I guess I was too naive, too caught up in a fantasy, but I believed it so much that even when I could see and feel how unhappy love was making me, I blamed myself rather than accepting the truth. Then it all came crumbling down and I had to face my demons. It was hard, but Im in a much better place thanks to it.
Believe in you
It’s not a secret that during my “youth” I wasn’t the most confident person on the planet, mainly due to always being chubby and never really feeling like I was as good as everybody else. When my first three years at university didn’t really turn out the way I expected, it was a massive blow to my confidence because it made me feel stupid and it made me doubt myself on so many more levels. It’s only recently that I have started to have more confidence in myself and my skills, and without being too arrogant, Im starting to realise how important it is to believe in yourself and your skills/thoughts/feelings. There is only one you, so why pretend to be somebody else when you can work on making you the best that you can be.
Invest in yourself
This is something my mum has always told me, but I didn’t really understand what she meant until last year when I had to get treatment for my stomach illness. I have been fortunate enough to have a family who have supported me through university and through things like private medical help. But it was only when I was working hard on my MA degree and struggling with my treatment that it hit me that no matter how hard it was at the moment, this was something I was doing to make sure I would have a better life in the future. Knowledge and health are two amazing things that if you have them, people can’t really take them away from you. It’s the best investment you can make – you only live once, why not make the best you can of it?
Trust in your struggle
It is so damn easy to get caught up in your own head and during times of struggle, you look around and see all these other people in your surroundings who seem to be having an amazing life, and you ask yourself WHY!? Why is my life not as amazing as theirs!? And it is beyond STUPID! But it happens. I’ve spent many lonely days and nights crying into my pillow, feeling like I was dealt a shit hand and no matter what I did, I just couldn’t change my situation. Despite being unsuccessful to brush off these feelings from time to time over the years, I had a defining moment this year that changed everything. I had truly hit rock bottom and when I thought life couldn’t get any worse, it did. But then there was a silver lining, and somewhere between the tears and the happiness it dawned on me that nobody could take away the struggles and the hard work I have done. They might not get it why I do it, they might not relate to my problems, but it doesn’t matter. It was my own choice to walk this path, so I have no other choice but to accept that it won’t be easy, but if I do what I truly feel in my heart that I should be doing, there will be light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to be patient.
Don’t forget to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you”
It is easy to get caught up in life and forget to appreciate the people around you that mean the most to you. You start taking people for granted because you are busy, and then you wonder why nobody wants to make time for you when you need it. Im epically bad to stay in touch, and due to financial and health related issues the last few years, I basically stopped being very social. However, I have tried to nurture some of the relationships in my life and I feel like the key to make them work has been to be able to look past my stupid pride and say sorry when I have been an idiot, and make sure that those persons have felt and known how much they mean to me, even if I haven’t been able to see them as often as I might have wished. I know, saying sorry or I love you are very basic things, but I think their impact if you really mean them can be very overlooked. Never go to bed angry and fighting, and never give up a chance to tell a person you care about how much they mean to you and how happy they make you.
It has been an EPIC ride and I can’t believe that I am entering this new phase in my life that includes knowing how to deal with my stomach issues (it’s taken me 20 years!), owning my own flat in London (OMFG!!), finishing my MA degree and just generally having more knowledge about who I am and who I want to become.
Thanks for sticking with me – your support and encouragement has meant so much to me! Here’s for another 8 crazy years! <3