Twenty Two

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Tomorrow is my 22nd birthday.

I was re-reading my post Twenty that I wrote two years ago today. I remember writing it like it was yesterday. I am still the same person that I was when I wrote that blog post, I still have the same dreams and I still believe that turning twenty was a defining moment in my life. Since then I have graduated from university, I have visited Dublin with my boyfriend, I have started an internship at VIVA magazine and I have started to make plans for my future.

Honestly, it has been a hard two years, there have been a lot of struggles but everything I go through is making me a stronger person. I’m trying to live my life day by day instead of year by year but my mind always wanders to the future. I’m a dreamer, I always have been and always will be.

Another birthday is passing by and I might not be where I want to be but I have to be patient, I have time. I have years to accomplish everything I want to do. I am enjoying my life right now. I might not have a job or enough money to buy the things I want to buy and go to places I really want to go to but I am surrounded by love. I have to believe that my future will be bright. I have to believe that things will get better and I have to believe in myself.

If there is one thing that changes every year on my birthday, it’s my perspective. Whenever my birthday approaches, I look at life in a different way. I look back on the year that has passed and what I have achieved in that time. Life is a journey and sometimes we don’t appreciate moments until they are memories. I’m going to start enjoying the present. I’m going to be patient and grateful, I am going to smile even when I feel like I can’t and I’m going to keep hoping and dreaming that I will make it to my next birthday and I will be one step closer to my dreams and one step closer to the person I want to be.

Waiting & Wishing

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Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

I’m always wishing for something or thinking about something I want. I know that I should appreciate what I already have but sometimes, I find myself stuck in an endless cycle of negativity and hopelessness. I’m tired of struggling. I just want everything to happen. Right now. I don’t want to wait any longer. I’m still waiting for the day that changes everything.

Why is it so difficult to see what is right in front of me? What is this selfish need that all humans have to always want more? I feel like I have fallen into the same trap that everybody else falls into. I have it imprinted in my mind that the only way I am ever going to live a happy life is to get everything I want. But I know deep down that none of it really matters.

I have a long mental list of things that I want to complete, I want to have lots of money and own expensive possessions, get my a dream job, be able to travel the world and possibly have a family of my own one day. But do I really want all of that? More importantly, do I really need all of that? Or is society’s influence so strong that I don’t know the difference between what I really want and who I want to be and what society expects of me?

Dreaming is an important part of living. There’s nothing wrong with hoping for a better life and wishing for good things to happen but when they start to control your overall happiness, it becomes a big problem. And it’s starting to become a big problem for me. I’m only twenty one years old, why do I feel this pressure to achieve everything and have everything I want right now? I blame society. I blame social media. I blame the high expectations that are set by others. I also blame myself for succumbing to this toxic way of thinking. I don’t need to follow any guidelines, my life is not going to be the same as anyone else’s, I need to start believing this.

I try and switch off and embrace the day, live my life and stop worrying about the future but it’s hard. None of us know how much time we have and I think that urgency causes this need to want everything right now. I want so many things. Maybe I should start focusing on what I need? I already have everything I need. I have amazing friends, a family, a loving partner and a home. I am more privileged than most but I fail to see how lucky I am on a daily basis. I am surrounded by love, I experience happiness every day but I don’t realise it because it is clouded by the pressures of the future and everything I have yet to achieve and material possessions I have yet to own.

I need to stop thinking of happiness as a goal. Life is a journey and finding happiness is part of that journey. I’m not always going to be happy. I’m going to have days that I feel so bad about my life that I won’t want to get out of bed in the morning and that’s okay because there are plenty of days ahead of me that I will experience joy and contentment. I might not be where I want to be right now but I need to start enjoying the present and stop fretting about the future. I’m not perfect, I’m going to make lots of mistakes, I’m still young and I still have so much I need to learn about this crazy and perplexing thing we call life.

When One Door Closes, Another Opens

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Something that amazes me about life, is how quickly it can change. How one decision can make a big impact on your future and how making the right one can change your perspective on the world. It also amazes me how quickly people can enter your life and how quickly they can leave, and as I get older I am becoming more acquainted with this process. I can cast my mind back to a couple of months ago for example and I realise how different my perspective was in that situation. This was a time when my head was full of questions and doubts about what I really wanted and I felt that everyone and everything around me was dragging me down. It was a dark place and I knew I had to take drastic action to achieve the happiness I knew I deserved.

A couple of months ago I was living with three other people, in student accommodation. I thought it was what I wanted, the student life. But, what happened was the people around me started to change and I felt like I was changing too and not in a good way. I guess I was caught up in my emotions, hoping for some salvation to bring a smile to my face. I had many things in my life that brought a smile to my face at that time, but the bad and stressful aspects of my life were starting to overshadow the light. I have learned now that people can have a powerful influence over you, without you really realising it. I was becoming a person I didn’t want to be. I complained about everything, all of the time. I was tired, fed up and lonely. I was surrounded by a sea of people but I still felt alone. I was unhappy and even considered quitting university. I knew after a while that I needed to make a big decision. To stay miserable, or do something about it.

Now I am many things, but immature is one thing that I am not. Of course I have my moments of immaturity. Times when I feel like a child, a free spirit of unlimited possibility. But when stepping up to my responsibilities, I think that I have a maturity wiser than my years. I guess it shows how much I have grown as a person since I became independent. Normally, I wouldn’t be able to reach that place in my mind where I think, ‘You know what I am unhappy and I am going to control this situation and do something about it.’ I feel strongly that I can do this now. I feel in control of my decisions and my life and even though it took me a while to accomplish this, I am glad I finally got to this place.

I look at the way my life is now and on bad days I do ponder about what I could be doing, or where I could be. I think that’s the problem with human beings. We can have everything, be blessed with a life full of joy and happiness – but it still isn’t enough. We always want more.  We always ask ‘what if.’ On good days, like today. I clear my mind of all negativity and say to myself ‘Life is good.’ Because it is. Lets face it. Life is beautiful. I think that we all dwell on the things we don’t have and forget about the things we do have. I have an amazing family. They might not be perfect and we all might not get along sometimes but I know that they will always be there for me when I need them. I have an amazing boyfriend. Someone who I know will be my future fiancé/husband/father of my children.. I can feel it in my bones, like an electricity of certainty and hope. I know he is the one person who will be with me on this journey that we call life. I have amazing friends. It’s funny how people who I thought were my friends (the three people I mentioned earlier) disappear like ghosts of the night when times get tough. I don’t waste my time on people like that any more.

I deserve to have friends in my life that understand me, accept me and love me for all of my flaws and insecurities. Since leaving those unworthy friends behind I have realised that my true friends were there all along, waiting for me to accept their friendship. I couldn’t be happier with the friends I have right now. I have old friends, that can only be described as stars in the sky. I might not always be able to see them but I know that they are always there for me. I think the most important thing for me to remember is I have a future that is bright. I can do anything that I want. I can be whoever I decide to be. I know I love to write. I know that I have a talent with words. I am not a big-headed person and never will be. But that is something that I truly believe. Writing is a talent that I truly believe in. I do not know where life is going to take me and once upon a time this used to be one of my biggest fears. But with all of these amazing people in my life I know that I will be okay, whatever I decide to do. I think the philosophy of life I now live by – comes down to these six words.

 ‘When one door closes, another opens..’

‘The Lucky One’ Nicholas Sparks Book Review

The second I finished The Lucky One I knew that Nicholas Sparks had created the perfect romantic story again. I have to admit I have a big addiction to romance novels like these… Stories that can pluck at your heart strings and bring tears to your eyes.  The Lucky one wasn’t the saddest of the Sparks collection of books, the ending did create the illusion of a bad ending at first though (If you read the book you will know what I mean by that).

I’ve read a lot of books by Nicholas Sparks and while it was not his best book I did enjoy it, as I always do. Once you get into the plot it is hard to put the book down. Sparks has the ability to keep the reader intrigued and emotionally attached to the diverse characters. We all want to see these character happy and together. However, The Lucky One was very predicable from the beginning.

I don’t know if it’s because I read a lot of romance novels and the couple always gets together at the end but I knew what was going to happen from the beginning. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, can you really have a love story without the typical cliche ending? The basic love story, boy meets girl and they fall in love with some twists and complications. I have yet to get sick of these romance novels because I enjoy reading them.

I really liked the character Keith Clayton in this novel, he wasn’t the typical antagonist. He was the main character Elizabeth’s ex husband and one of the narrators to the story. The novel was separated into different narrators, this portrayed the different points of views of the characters and I really liked this about this particular novel. Clayton is a very complicated character that the reader starts to hate as the story progresses. Sparks always has a balance of good and bad characters but in The Lucky one I feel he created a bigger contrast with the character Clayton.

I asked for a Nicholas Sparks book for Christmas and gave my family a big list and they chose at random. Weird how they chose The Lucky one. I saw the trailer for the film adaptation a few days after I reached the middle of the book. I will go and see the film but the expectation is always low because the book is always better in my opinion. The Lucky One is coming out on April 20th.

However, I would recommend reading the book first to avoid disappointment. Nicholas Sparks never fails to make you smile, cry and gasp with surprise. Sometimes you just need a feel good novel, if you enjoy reading romantic novels then Sparks if for you. I do think that some of his other novels are better, The Notebook, The Last Song and A Walk to remember are my personal favourites but I would still recommend The Lucky one.