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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Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly

When I told my American History Professor that I wanted to write my Michaelmas term paper on Buddy Holly, he looked at me funny. Not in a “who is that” kind of way but more in a “sounds pretty specific but ok” way. I wrote my paper on race relations and Buddy Holly’s music – spoiler alert: not a whole lot to write about there – but it was a paper I wrote more for myself than anyone else.

If you have read this blog long enough, you’ll know about my struggles with anxiety. In fact, I seem to be starting all my blog posts like that now. But this one is a little different.

When I was younger, Buddy Holly never meant more than a dorky kid with black rimmed glasses that tried his hand at rock and roll. I didn’t know any of his songs or his impact or his untimely death. I didn’t know he inspired Elvis or The Beatles or Bruce Springsteen or that he broke the foundations to what is now rock and roll. He just wasn’t someone I was bothered about.

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Everything I’ve Learned

Everything I’ve Learned

Do you want an emotional and soppy post? No?

Tough, you’re getting it anyway.

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the people around me, the people who have shaped me since I was a child, the ones who have been constant and the ones who drift in and out. And it’s especially true for periods of transitions where you’re a little in the dark. In the last 18 months, I moved out of home, I started a new job, I went back to college, I sought treatment for my anxiety and I took a two week travelling trip to the US on my own. This is more than I could probably have imagined for my 24 year old self when I was in college.

But transitions like these are hard.

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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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Winter Reading

Winter Reading

Ok the title of this post is a lie.

I didn’t finish one book between October and December.

Not one.

Compare that to my incredible one-book-every-four-days feat in April and you’d think I maybe I had forgotten how to read.

Truth is, life gets busy. And in order to do the things you want to do, you really have to make time for it.

You also need to acknowledge that life is too short for a book you can’t get into.

But I have managed to start again this month and read two books I think are worth reviewing – I’m cheating with one of them – it’s a short story. I’ve also written a bit about the two books I struggled with last year and maybe someone could shed some light on how I could possibly get through them.

 

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Mr Salary – Sally Rooney

My best friend knows I am a huge HUGE Sally Rooney fan and bought this short story of hers for me for Christmas. It’s thirty pages of tension, growing pains, missed opportunities and bereavement. I adored every last word of it. Perfect if you want a half an hour read.

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Respite

Respite

I’d be lying if I said Christmas was my favourite time of year. Give me Autumn, late summer or Spring over Christmas any day because honestly, find this time of year to be the single most lonely and stressful time.

The strive for perfection I gave up on long ago but the idleness, the lack of routine and the copious amount of food, which I admit used to be a blessing just a couple of years ago, has become a source of stress and anxiety. That mixed with the weather, my non-existent sleeping pattern and the lack of socialisation (as so many of my friends have left Dublin for their homes all around the world) gives way to a path of crankiness, unfounded doubt and worry.

But today, I did something about it.

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