Today is my birthday, which means I get to eat cake for breakfast, drink pink champagne and get spoiled by people I love. In the year since I reached my 30s, in thinking about what I hope to achieve this decade, I’ve been reflecting on the best things I’ve done so far (and the lessons I’ve learned). Here are my favourites:
Fell in love. No explanation required, but without a doubt one of my favourite things yet.
Travelled the world. I’ve seen the sun set over the pyramids of Giza, climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower, seen the cherry blossoms in Japan, slept under the stars in the red dessert in Australia, visited temples in Thailand, explored the souks in Marrakech, swum with rainbow-coloured fish in the Great Barrier Reef, and walked through a snowy Red Square at nightfall. I am so grateful for the adventures I’ve had seeing this incredible world of ours, and can’t wait to keep exploring.
Graduated from University. 3 degrees, 8 years, and countless essays later, I am thankful for the knowledge, experiences and life lessons I came away with.
Worked overseas. Half way through University, I went to Washington to intern with a Senator on Capitol Hill. It remains one of the best experiences I had, and was the catalyst for my career in my politics.
Moved abroad. Leaving behind people I love and moving my whole life to the other side of the world (with nothing but 2 suitcases and my boyfriend by my side) was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the best. I see the world from a new perspective, made wonderful new friends, and had opportunities and adventures I never would have otherwise.
Learned to accept and value myself. Like anyone, I am certainly flawed and wish I could change some things about myself, but I’ve learned to make peace with my flaws, appreciate my differences and make the most of my strengths.
Built a circle of friends and loved ones I treasure. I am so lucky to count some incredible people all around the world as my friends and family, and try to make sure they know how much I adore them.
Stretched my talents. I’m still horrible at karaoke and team sports, but I’m grateful I learned to tap dance, took ballet classes, performed Shakespeare and trained in classical piano.
Earned my career. By no means do I have it all figured out, but I’m proud I worked hard to build a career I value.
Ran for Parliament. Even if you know you’re going to come in second place, it’s pretty wonderful to be a part of the democratic process and see your name on a ballot paper.
… And drafted a law. I’ve done many things that I’m proud of, but negotiating a piece of crime legislation through Parliament is up there.
Volunteered. I’ve learned that helping a worthy cause is one of the most valuable uses of my time, and helping others always helps me get perspective on what really matters.
Invested. I don’t yet have a mortgage or own a house, but I’m pleased that I have savings, investments and no debt.
… And learned how to spend my money. When I first moved out of home and started earning money, my approach to shopping was more about quantity than quality. But as I now know the reverse to be true, I know when to save my money and when it’s ok to spend a month’s rent on a bag (hint: only if it’s something you’ll keep for a decade).
Achieved goals. Whether major life goal or small achievement, it’s an incredible feeling when you reach what you set out to achieve.
… And learned it’s OK if life doesn’t work out as planned. When I was 20, I mapped out my next ten years in silly detail, but life sometimes has a way of taking you in a completely different direction. And that’s definitely OK.
Learned to say ‘yes’. Because sometimes the best adventures happen when you’re willing to depart from your comfort zone and accept the opportunity.
… And also ‘no’. I will always have an urge to please people, but it’s important to know when to politely decline that which does not bring joy.
Started this blog. Unquestionably one of my favourite pursuits yet. I’m eternally grateful for the people I’ve met, the adventures I’ve had and the opportunities which have presented themselves as a result of this blog.
Appreciate small pleasures. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned not to place all my emphasis on those big life events, and instead to also make time for those small pleasures (buying myself flowers, skipping lunch to have afternoon tea with friends, a spontaneous kiss or a trip to the theatre) which make every day a little more wonderful.
What are some of the best things you’ve learned or experienced? Please do share your wisdom below.
Love, Miss B xx