Landslide

Landslide

I was never originally afraid of change. It always seemed very attractive to me when it was pushed into the near future and I didn’t have to really worry about it much. In other words, I wasn’t afraid of the idea of change. But the next few months are a period of change for me and yes, I’m afraid. 

Stevie Nicks sang Landslide on Thursday night and I cried. Not only because that song was a big one in my childhood but because it makes sense to me right now. I’ve become quite comfortable with how my life has been the last few months and now that things are changing, I’m afraid of how it might change me. 

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25 for 25

25 for 25

I turn 25 on Friday.

I don’t think I’m as horrified as I could be (or should be). I don’t mind birthdays but they were never really a huge focus in my life. I’m not a “it’s my birthday month” kind of person, I honestly just want to get on with my day.

It took me a while to realise that your birthday is just another day in the calendar. You’re not supposed to (or expected to) magically feel anything in particular. Things aren’t meant to be miraculously different. You won’t discover the meaning of life or find enlightenment. It really is just another day. So I’ve stopped having massive expectations for my birthday and allowed it to just be. And for that, I am much happier.

But classing myself as being in my ‘mid-20s’ is a little frightening. Here I am, 24 going on 25, with a handful of achievements and dreams of a couple more.

I share my birthday with Reese Witherspoon and William Shatner (v cool) as well as my best friend (medium cool) who was born in the same hospital on the same day in the same year just hours apart. He and I only met in college but our lives ran pretty parallel to one another until then.

In those 25 years, I’ve done a lot. As much as anyone would really. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about my life. I haven’t achieved anything massively spectacular or survived any enormous amount of trauma (aside from mental health struggles) but I have learned a few things; things that have helped me, things that I wish I knew before I learned them, things that have been difficult to come to terms with and things that have more or less saved my life – both metaphorically and literally.

So I thought it’d be fitting to share twenty-five of those things here and maybe when I hit fifty, I’ll have another twenty-five to throw at you.

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5 Ways to kind of be a Better Person

5 Ways to kind of be a Better Person

We all want to be a better person. Unless you think you are the *best* person and if so, you probably need to work on your humility.

I often find myself wishing I was better but better at what, I don’t know. Sometimes I get frustrated that even when I’m trying my absolute best, I’m not improving and nothing is changing, whether it’s with work, friendships, family relationships or things I do day to day. I have an image in my head as to what I want and immediately lament that I’m too dumb/stupid/lazy/incompetent to do it. And then I wind up with low confidence which feeds the circle of “I want to be better” and we start all over again.

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2009 v 2019

2009 v 2019

I see everyone posting their 10 year challenge pictures.

Ten years ago my life was widely different to what it is now. Sure, everyone’s is – be a bit weird if it wasn’t, right?  But ten years ago, I was preparing for my Junior Cert which  was a catalyst for some of the major issues I faced in my late teenage years and early 20s.

Up until 2016, I categorised my life before and after 2009. My life was calm, smooth and pleasant before 2009 and after, it became a chaotic, anxious mess. Because 2009 was the year that I first experienced Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I’ve written about my OCD before. Numerous amounts of times. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re all sick of hearing about it because God knows I am. I can’t say I was an anxious child growing up – I don’t really remember – but if you had said I’d an underlying mental health issue, I don’t think I’d have believed you.

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Edinburgh

Edinburgh

When I first suggested going to Edinburgh in December, most people said ‘don’t’. They said it was miserable and dreary and yeah, at times, it was.

But I didn’t mind so much. The weather went hand in hand with the festive atmosphere that was coming to the surface at what was the first weekend of December.

The place was unbelievably busy between the Christmas markets and the many, many events the city were running. It rained a lot – the first clear day we had was on Monday, the day we left – but the atmosphere was cosy, our hotel was wonderfully warm and generous and I found that Edinburgh is the perfect size for a three-day exploration that also lent itself to daytime naps and hours-long afternoon coffee.

I spent most of my time exploring so there’s not a huge lot to say about it – the photos really say it all (and it’s photo heavy – sorry!)  – so I won’t be writing up a full itinerary but if I had to recommend a few things it would be:

  1. The Scottish National Gallery – about half the size of Dublin’s (which is already pretty small), you could do it in 20mins but is home to some beautiful Monets, Degas and some of Scotland’s own art.
  2. Victoria Street (the first photo below) – which was said to be the original inspiration for Diagon Alley. The shops are just as whimsical and chaotic as you’d imagine. It’s also home to countless Harry Potter gift shops and narrow specialist stores that are dubbed the real Olivanders and Flourish & Blotts.
  3. Edinburgh Castle – not the castle itself but the walk up to it. If you get there early in the morning, you’ll miss the crowds and get to enjoy the most famous part of the Royal Mile all to yourself complete with bagpipes, warm coffee, and cobbled roads.

But despite the crowds and the rain, Edinburgh was the best way to round off the busiest year in travel I’ve ever had (I’m talking seven cities, ten flights and infinite bus rides in ten months). I think I’ll stay at home for at least the next six years.

Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

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72 Hours in Toronto

72 Hours in Toronto

72 Hours in Toronto is both enough and not enough.

It’s enough if you want a break from reality.

It’s not enough if you want to explore Toronto’s incredible culture

It’s enough for a layover to reduce the effects of jet lag

It’s not enough to experience Canada.

But it was perfect for me.

Toronto was a last minute decision (as much of a last minute decision as you can make 8 months in advance) but it was already the clear winner even before I decided on my third city.

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Boulder, CO

Boulder, CO

I don’t really know what I expected with Boulder, I just know that I wanted to go. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s become famous through television shows, songs and if you know your true crime history, JonBenet Ramsey.

But Boulder is famous in its own right. It’s home to the gorgeous Boulder Flatirons (that you really get a good glimpse of if you’re travelling from Denver) and the University of Colorado, Boulder. It sits just northwest between Denver and the Rocky Mountains. And it is very, very wealthy.

I got to Boulder at 9am on a Tuesday morning, the day before I flew to Toronto. Getting there was easy, RTD run two kinds of buses – an express bus and a regular and as it is run by RTD, you can get your return ticket for only $9. The trip was about 90 minutes from Union Station to Pearl Street Mall.

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Littleton, Colorado

Littleton, Colorado

This is going to be a long one because, to be honest, and to my total surprise, I really loved Littleton.

There’s not a whole lot to the place at first glance. The RTD light rail that goes there hardly announces the area when it passes through. Littleton is simply defined by its ‘Downtown’ and ‘Mineral’ stops. It’s pretty much as suburb-y as you can get but once you really get into it, you’ll see that Littleton is a treasure trove of American life. It’s full of colour, whimsical stores tacked onto homes and old architecture. If I had to compare it to anywhere it would be to Stars Hollow (hello, Gilmore Girl fans) and then some.

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Denver Foothills

Denver Foothills

This tour is the perfect example of Nike’s famous saying of ‘Just Do It’. I just didn’t want to do it. I just wanted to stay in the city and do nothing but I had a tour booked to see the Boulder Foothills about six weeks previous and knew it was too late to cancel. I don’t know why I wasn’t eager on going seeing as how I had booked the tour for myself without any shotgun to my head but when I got an email the evening before it was due to run that it was cancelled,  I was more relieved than disappointed

You see, I was loving Denver and felt that I hadn’t explored enough of my own area yet let alone take a tour (with other people I didn’t know) outside of it. I still get quite nervous before unknown social situations that I have no real control over (I mean, who doesn’t?) but I knew that this tour would be my only real chance to get out into the real Colorado “wilderness”. The RTD trams weren’t going to get me anywhere near the Red Rocks or Lookout Mountain and I knew when I was offered a replacement tour around the Denver Foothills, I would regret saying no.

And I can wholeheartedly say to all the lazy ones like me out there who weigh up the pros and cons of doing something they’ve always dreamed of because “ugh effort”, just DO IT.

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Vienna

Vienna

Today’s post is more of a photo diary (with photos in no particular order to reflect my life). I spent the last five days visiting friends in Austria, taking a much needed break.

Vienna was ten times better this time around – probably because I had a friend to show me around rather than just scrambling about for myself. We had a lot of good coffee, good Aperol and plenty of indescribably great experiences (such as one time on The Danube, struggling to steer our electric boat whilst treating to the shores of the river to Beyonce). It was good. I feel rejuvinated. And most importantly, it was soul-healing.

(thank you so much, Fi and Hannes for a really incredible trip and letting me invade your home, you guys are truly the most welcoming hosts)

Ps, Fi took some of the photos on this post – I think someone should get her a camera stat. Also, a puppy.

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