It’s been a while since I last blogged. I have approximately 7 posts in drafts at the moment, which I had lined up over the past few weeks but I didn’t really know how to follow my last post. I was utterly overwhelmed with the response I had, and am still getting, from a post that was extremely difficult/rewarding/cathartic/heartbreaking/bittersweet (all of the above) to write. To all of you who read it and to all those who reached out with kind words about it, I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to me.
Now that cheese is out the way, here’s a quick list to give you an update on what’s been going down the past few weeks:
- Brexit. And my consequent addiction to paying close attention to the monumental car crash that is UK politics. I’ve even started religiously listening to LBC…turning in to my mother more and more each day.
- Watched my baby sister graduate from Durham (yep, I went north and survived!) with a First degree in history. So. Damn. Proud.
- My birthday celebrations that included a weekend in York, brunches, pedicures and baby cuddles.
- Gained a new housemate. Hey Abi.
- Moved baby sister back in. Hey full house.
- Djokovic AND Federer got knocked out of Wimbledon. But Murray won so it’s all good.
- England got spectacularly knocked out of the Euros.
- I developed an addiction to a certain ITV2 reality show that I can’t get enough of but painfully embarrassed about admitting it. 2 words: Love. Island.
- For 3 years, I’ve held the title of Flip Cup champion, but sadly lost that title this weekend. Gutted.
- I booked a post-Design Week holiday to Kefalonia in September. Counting down the days already.
It’s no secret that I despise birthdays. I can’t really explain why but I get totally overwhelmed by them. My living nightmare is having people sing happy birthday to me. I made a pact to myself last year that I would endeavour to go away for every consequent birthday. Last year was New York (predominantly for work) and this year I had a long weekend split between Durham (for Emilie’s graduation) and a Jane Austen-worthy hotel in York, Middlethorpe Hall. It was divine and the dinner was hands down the best meal I’ve had in 2016.
I’m definitely not crying in to my pillow about leaving 27 behind – it wasn’t the best of years – but it was a year that I am really proud of myself for. In March, I had what I can only describe as a full on breakdown. I won’t go in to it now or this will be quite the essay but long story short, I ended up on anti-depressants and going to see a therapist. That in itself was huge for me as I don’t accept help very well and albeit wrongly, used to see “depression” or “mental health issues” as a real weakness. Since then, I have broken cycles that I never thought I’d get out of and moved forward in ways I really didn’t think would be possible so quickly. It’s really changed my outlook on, well, everything.
Watching Emilie (and her friends) graduate (actually in Durham Cathedral, which was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G) and achieve such a high result from such a prestigious university, made me the proudest sister that ever was. It also made me reflect on the things that I’ve learnt since I left university to give her advice on what to do now she’s out in the real world. I thought I’d share these with you all in this post. After all, I love me a list…any excuse eh!?
- Learn how to network. The more people you meet, the better. Anyone who says life is not about who you know, is lying. But do it properly. Meet someone at an event? Follow up with an email the next day. Ask them for coffee. Get to know them. Follow their social channels but make sure you get to know your online crowd offline as well!
- Slow down. It’s ok to not do everything at breakneck speed. Take your time to enjoy your experiences. It’s like we’ve all been put on fast forward but why?! What good does that do us? I climbed a career ladder speedily and until this year, was desperately trying to tick off all my “life” boxes as quickly as I could. But helloooooo, I am 28. I am still so young and still have so much time to do all of that. I really wish I had learnt that a few years back and enjoyed my twenties more than I have.
- It’s OK to lose friends. We really don’t have to keep up friendships if we’re moving in totally different directions. It’s draining. Know who your friends are and treasure them. Be ok with saying goodbye to those bringing you down. Your inner circle and your family are the only people that you can whole heartedly rely on. Build your squad wisely.
- Changing paths is NOT failing. I finished university absolutely dedicated and focused on building a career in the TV world. There was no doubt in my mind that that was what I was going to do with my life. After a year in the industry, I had to admit it just wasn’t for me. That was a tough pill to swallow and I did feel like I failed myself for a while but once I found my feet with a new job, in a new industry, that old cliche that everything happens for a reason echoed round my head. If you’re not enjoying something, move on from it.
- Build a capsule wardrobe. Most of us spend the first half of our twenties being flat out broke. Starting salaries these days do not = good times. But resist the temptation of buying your entire wardrobe from Primark. Save up. Fill your wardrobe with quality over quantity, particularly with shoes – cheap shoes = lasting damage. Don’t buy too heavily in to trends. Learn what suits you and go with it. It will keep your wardrobe tidy but also make life much less stressful when you’re having to get dressed for work everyday.
- Switch off. Once you’ve paid your dues at work and you’re firmly established in your job role, be strict with yourself and switch off. When you leave work each day, really leave work. It’s so important to establish a work/life balance. Admittedly I’ve not yet learnt this one but I’m working on it and recognise that it’s incredibly important for your mental health.
What life lessons would you offer your graduate self?