Another Trip Around the Sun: Lessons Learned

It’s Gemini season! With my 28th birthday on the horizon and another trip around the sun almost complete, I find myself reflecting on the highs, lows and lessons learned over the past 12 months. Looking back before stepping forward into a new age and season of life is something I always find myself doing around this time of year. And with a column titled, ‘Truly Twenties,’ I can’t think of a more fitting platform to document the key moments of being 27.

  1. Intentionally look for things to be grateful for

I started a 5-Year Gratitude Journal on the 1st of January 2020. I was 23 at the time. By the 31st of December this year I will be 28 and the journal will be completely filled. As per the date of writing this, I have managed to find and write down something in my life that I am grateful for every single day, for 1,612 days in a row. It serves as a reminder that every day may not be good, but there really is something good in every day, you just have to look for it.

  1. The importance of girlhood

A term that has become synonymous with the shared experience of being a woman following the release of the Barbie Movie last summer. Girlhood means doing things with your girlfriends that make you feel happy for no specific reason. It is so simple, yet so pure to reach a stage in your twenties where one day you look around and out of nowhere suddenly realise that every single woman in your friendship circle would mention your name in a room full of opportunities and vice versa.

  1. Your health is your wealth

At the ripe age of almost 28, I have now realised that whilst I am still absolutely at my peak of youth…  The fact of the matter is I am not 16 years old anymore. I now know that if I don’t factor in some form of movement and exercise throughout the week I will start to feel irritable. If I have a late night on the horizon, I’m aware that I might as well write off the next day as an unproductive one. And if I neglect to keep my Natural Cycles app updated, I have no metric of rationale to remind myself that perhaps I don’t really hate everyone in the entire world, but in fact these feelings are a result of a certain stage in the month.

Now more than ever before I am embracing taking care of my body and my mind. I am aware of the things I need to do and the things I need to avoid in order to be the happiest version of myself and in true mid-to-late-twenties style, I will openly admit that the extra glass of wine sometimes isn’t worth it and actually, I love having a bedtime.

  1. Most of the time when you stay home, you’re not really missing anything

In the last year, I have found myself becoming increasingly aware of just how much time I was giving to surface level relationships, networking events and my attempts to be involved in every opportunity going. In my case, I know this stems from a fear of disappointing others, or disappointing myself as I hate the thought of potentially missing out on opportunities. Recently, I have been making a conscious effort to have a better work life balance. I have quickly learned that during the times I stayed home, I actually didn’t miss out on anything. Life continued on in the exact same way, no one was offended and it has freed up a lot more time in my schedule for enjoyable moments with my nearest and dearest.

  1. There is no such thing as a silly question

Realising that nobody else would think twice if I asked for help is something I wish I had learned much earlier in my career. As a brand new presenter at 23 years old, I feared that asking lots of questions would draw attention to the fact that I felt way out of my depth and there was a lot that I didn’t know. As a result, I avoided asking questions where possible and made life a lot more difficult for myself by spending conspicuous amounts of time on Google and YouTube.

The wonderful thing about getting older is gaining perspective. By the time I moved station to Downtown Country and CoolFM 18 months ago, I had learned the lesson that there really is no such thing as a silly question and asking for help both saves time and offers reassurance that at one point or another, everyone was the new person.

  1. Reconnect with your inner child

The older we get, the easier it can become to live life in fast forward as we accumulate more and more responsibilities. I would like to close this month’s Ulster Tatler column with a reminder to stop and enjoy the little moments every once in a while. Watch your favourite childhood movies. Re-read books that you enjoyed. Be creative. Spend time with loved ones. Stop rushing off to the next thing. Swim in the sea. Spend an afternoon baking. Remind yourself it’s ok to put the boring thing off until tomorrow. Have fun today while the fun shines. Make time for things purely because they bring you the sense of that joy that was commonplace in childhood when life was slower and things were simpler.

Between my last birthday and this one, I have learned the importance of being intentional with how we choose to spend our time. After waiting for several years for things to slow down, I realised it wasn’t going to, this isn’t just a busy spell in life, this is life when you are heading towards 28. My mum always told me when I was growing up that time is the most valuable currency we have, you cannot buy more and so I plan to continue to be intentional with spending it wisely.


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