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What I’ve Learned In The Past Decade: 2009-2019

So with the end of a decade, obviously comes reflection. Wanna see my decade challenge photo? OK, you asked for it…

Still striking the same pose 10 years later…

And I still enjoy dressing up as Disney princesses…

So that was me at 17. Wait a minute… 10 years ago I was 17??????

I can remember being 17 as clear as if it was yesterday! OK now I feel sick and like I don’t want to continue with this post anymore…

But alas, I will. But only for you guys!

I could do a post bragging about all the things I have done in the past 10 years but we haven’t got all day. Har-dee-har! So instead, I will enlighten you with the pearls of wisdom I have earned in the past decade. This will be my decade challenge…

So, what have I learnt in the past decade?

Dreams change. You don’t have to be loyal to the dream you had 10 years ago.

You are a different person with every passing year. Yes, it sounds cute to say ‘I’m doing everything that I said I wanted to when I was a child’, but if what you wanted then isn’t what you want now, then you don’t owe your past-self anything.

10 years ago I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than performing in a musical on a West End stage, so I set myself out on that journey and got close to achieving that dream. Move forward a couple of years and it was not what I wanted anymore, in fact, it was far from what I wanted. Trying to continue chasing that dream when my heart wasn’t in it made me feel lost and wonder why I was doing any of it. It took leaving behind that dream for me to finally find peace and re-find myself and my passion again.

Graduating Guildford School of Acting in 2014 with a First Class Honours Degree

Travelling is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

I don’t think I ever thought of myself as a ‘traveller’ 10 years ago, but working for Disney Cruise Line and getting the chance to see so much of Europe and the Caribbean in one year definitely gave me the bug. Now, I am constantly thinking of where I can go next.

The world is beautiful and amazing and it is the best thing you can do with your time. So quit going to the same resort in the same place every year for your holiday – go somewhere new in 2020!

Koh Samet, Thailand, in January 2016

Kids aren’t actually that bad.

Disclaimer, I never wanted kids until about 4 months ago. I used to associate kids with HARD WORK and the end of your life as you know it… and I do still associate them with these things. But I also now have had the opportunity to witness their funny moments, the excitement that comes from watching them and helping them experience something new for the first time, the victories when they conquer nerves and difficulties, the joy with which they learn, their eagerness to learn, and how they change with every passing day to become fully fledged humans. Also, babies are pretty darn cute… except for when they’re pooping.

It is normal to feel low, but you should also do all you can to help yourself.

It won’t last forever, even though at the time it feels like nothing will ever feel OK again. So do what you can to get through the hard times. Speak to a friend, cry and watch your favourite movies, lock yourself away for a bit, talk to a therapist, go to the doctor (medication does not make you weak). Do whatever you have to do to make it through, because you will eventually.

No matter how hard you try not to, you will grow up to be your mother.

And while you’re at it, be kind to others who are going through a hard time.

Be aware that some of your friends may be going through a hard time and just haven’t spoken to you about it. Be kind, ask how they are doing and reassure them that everything will be OK and you are here for them. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own pain that we forget that other people are hurting too.

Talk to strangers.

Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and speak to strangers. Not everybody is a weirdo, most people are actually very nice and have interesting stories to tell. You can never have too many friends!

Exploring Sintra in Portugal with two girls I’d never met was the most fun day of my solo travelling trip!

People can die and you won’t get to say goodbye.

This is probably the hardest life lesson I have learnt just in the past 2 years. Death is awful because it is inevitable and it is final. It is scary and it is upsetting and it makes you feel angry and guilty, but it also reminds you to treasure every moment, love deeply and openly, and be cautious. Go tell someone you love them right now.

People will do shitty things to you. And when they do, rise above it and get on with your life without them.

We all fantasise about the things we would love to say to the people who have hurt us and done us wrong, but the reality is that it will never go down the way you plan. It won’t satisfy you and it won’t heal you. Rant to your loved ones, have a little cry, be mad, but most importantly, don’t lower yourself to their standards. They probably won’t realise (or care) that they have hurt you, so your rant will fall on deaf ears. Keep your pride, rise above it and move on.

Find friends who compliment your own crazy.

If your partner scares you, then LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.

On that note, love should not be hard work. Life is hard work, loving somebody should not be. If you are miserable 50% of the time then it is not a good relationship for you. It is toxic.

If you want to quit, you are allowed. You can always come back to it.

Whether that is a career, a class or just life, you can take a break. Come back to whatever it is when you are in a better headspace and you will do so much better at it! If something is a chore then it’s not for you.

Just because somebody was your friend when you were younger, it doesn’t mean you are going to be friends now.

It’s OK to grow apart. We all change as the years go on through our individual life experiences and personalities. If you grow apart from your friends that is OK. Don’t try to hold onto the past when it isn’t right for your present. Appreciate the wonderful friendship you had once upon a time and wish them well as they move on with their life and you move on with yours.

Also, caramelised red onion is a game changer for cheese and Pâté!

I can’t get away with drinking like I did when I was 17…

You can still play 16-year-old characters when you’re nearing 30.

‘Friends’ is still funny but now I understand more of the jokes.

Your body feels worse when you do nothing. It also gets more stiff with every year so run, jump and dance as much as possible until your hip hurts!

Stop caring about what other people think. The people who care, don’t matter.

Bronte has been my best friend for all of this past decade because I can be my true self around her more than anybody. Keep those kind of people close because they are the ones who truly matter.

Well, I’ll stop there for now. No doubt, I’ll write some form of reflective decade challenge post in 2029. Wait, 2029… I’ll be 37 then… excuse me while I pass out.

Happy New Year and Happy New Decade one and all! May it bring you joy, success and plenty of life lessons to make you a well-rounded version of yourself!