Today I am 33. I can’t really say being 33 will be any different from being 32 – or 31 before it. These years aren’t ones of moving house, having new babies, getting married or anything else massively eventful. Instead they are years of enjoying what we have, watching our children grow and just living life.
But to mark another year of my life I thought I’d write a list of things I have learnt in the past year. Some will be big, some will be small and no doubt quite a few you will have already learnt yourself at one point or another.
- I love silence. I work better in silence and it’s something I’ve learnt to really appreciate. Silence really is golden.
- The time between school drop off and pick up is enough time to do so much. I can work, go to the gym, clean, prepare dinner and do so many other things. Six hours is such a good amount of time.
- But, the time between school pick up and bedtime is short. Those four to five hours go so quickly, filled mostly with homework, dinner and bath time. That time always needs me to plan so I can use it wisely and change it from time of not doing much to quality time with the children.
- I love spending time with the children. This may sound a strange one but for the first few years of a child’s life you are there to look after them, change nappies, feed them. But now, although I still look after and feed the children the times they really need me are getting further and further apart meaning that the time in between can be full of fun, laughter and proper conversations.
- Working from home is attainable. I never thought it was possible for someone with no further education to have a job that they can do around the children – but it is possible.
- It’s also possible to have a job you love and to really never feel that Monday morning feeling. That has been the highlight of this year for me.
- You will never have enough money. There will always be things that you need/want to buy, things to fix, things to upgrade and things to do. But, the fun part is saving, prioritising and actually getting those things – one at a time.
- You will also never have enough time. There will always be jobs that need doing, things that need mending, places to go, people to see… You just can’t do everything. Do one thing at a time and worry not.
- Planning things means there’s more chance of them happening. I now pencil days in with friends, a quick cup of tea or a meal out and once they are on the calendar they are fact – they will happen unless someone’s sick or something. If I didn’t make plans I would never see anyone or do anything.
- National Trust passes are the best investment. They give a lovely day out in any season and let us see places we would never think to visit. They are also great places for me to go with the children when Dave’s working – something I hadn’t thought to do until recently.
- As much as I would love to have my hair and make up perfect all the time – it’s not going to happen. It’s not a priority for me and often it’s something that is very far down my to do list. Instead I am always clean and tidy and sometimes I straighten my hair and put make up on. Both ways I look like me – and I’m fine with that.
- Also, as much as I would love to be slim forever I’ve realised I am not able to stick to a diet constantly and a strict gym routine. I like cake, I like pudding and I think I like them both more than the gym. I will always be slightly overweight but I am happy with that.
- I will never be able to wear skirts without tights or leggings underneath. My thighs rub together, I get a rash and it makes me uncomfortable. I’m happy to never be bare-legged ever again and avoid the chub-rub.
- I love having my eyelashes tinted for holiday and I thought I’d love to have it done regularly as a little treat. But, as much as I’d love to have it done I will never find the time for that sort of thing every few months or weeks. The same goes for nail appointments and regular hair cuts – life will always get in the way for me.
- I love going to the cinema. It makes me happy and it stops me from working, pottering or being on social media. I need to go to the cinema more often.
- Baking with the children once a week makes me happy too. It teaches the children life skills, gives us quality time together and lets us create something yummy too.
- But, I hate crafting. I’m not good at it, I don’t have the patience for it and I would rather they did those things at school. But, when the children want to craft at home – I let them craft. It makes them happy – which makes me happy. Even though I really hate crafting.
- I will never have a home or wardrobe suitable for Instagram. But, corners of my life are Insta-perfect – and I’m happy with that.
- I’ll also never be a Pinterest-Mum. My bakes are homely rather than beautiful, my home is lived in rather than staged and see point 17 above. I will never be perfect enough for Pinterest – but that’s fine too.
- I have very little family but inherited an amazing family when I married my husband. I also have incredible friends – who really are the family we choose.
- I would much rather have a gin & tonic than a glass of wine.
- I am comfortable wearing a bikini whatever size I am. Finally I am happy in my own skin and I think that may be one of the biggest things I’ve learnt this year.
- Being a yes person takes work. I say no a lot but when I realise I’m doing it I say yes more. I like to agree to things the children ask, I like to go on adventures, have something different for dinner or try something new. I will always try and say yes as much as possible – even if I have to make a conscious effort to stop myself saying no.
- Life isn’t always full of exciting things. More often than not life is mundane and normal. But, as long as you are comfortable with your own mundane then life can be pretty good.
- There is nothing better than clean bed sheets and freshly shaved legs.
- As much as I try to like it coffee is something I will never be able to drink. I love the smell of it but I know with all certainty I will never drink and enjoy a full cup of coffee.
- I am braver than I thought I was and I am able to try things that I wouldn’t have even imagined a few years ago. Go Ape, paddle boarding… who knows what I’ll say yes to trying next.
- As a self employed person it’s never really possible to switch off from work completely but, it is possible to have holidays, enjoy them and come back feeling so fulfilled – even though you’ve had to check your emails and do admin every so often.
- Life is too short to compare. Yourself to others. Your home to those on Right Move. Your job to someone else’s. Your kids to their friends. Comparison really does take the joy out of life. Be happy with the cards you are dealt and don’t compare your hand to someone else’s.
- You never know what is going on behind closed doors, what a photo doesn’t tell you or what happened five minutes before you interacted with someone. Don’t judge, don’t presume. Just live and let live.
- You really do never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. With terrorist attacks, health issues and fluke accidents – make the most of whatever time you have.
- For every minute you spend angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. This is true. Be happy.
So there we have it. I’ve learnt to do more, spend more quality time with my family and friends, to be more present, to let things go and to just enjoy life. It’s taken me to 33 to realise that life really is too short and I think once you have children life seems to speed by at an incredible pace. So I’m determined to live life happily, to say yes as much as possible and to just be a nice person.
Happy birthday to me.