It’s April 28th. (well here in Scotland) Ya nerds in America are living in the past.

I’ve never been one to freak out about my birthday. I tend to just celebrate it at home with a small group of close friends and lots of food.  I also moved abroad after I turned 18, so I sort of missed the ‘big birthday.’  But, I always like to look back at the past year and see how I’ve grown and changed as person.  I aim each year to not change who I am but just to be a better version of myself.

So here are nineteen things I have learned over the past year.

  1. Being an introvert doesn’t mean I hate people. Do people annoy me? Yes. But, I don’t hate people… for God’s sake I’m studying History and Archaeology.  Being an introvert just means being with people all the time tires me out.  I need a few days to recharge.  Going camping this year has helped a lot with this as I have been able to go away for a weekend and talk to people if I want to but also just walk.
  2. Try something new at least once a week. I know there’s that Eleanor Roosevelt quote about doing one thing that scares you each day, but if you’re like me and like your daily routine and would prefer not to have an anxiety attack…  try to do something new once a week.  But, that’s a little hypocritical as I sort of jumped off the deep end and starting climbing mountains and getting tattoos… but that’s a different story.
  3. Doc Martens are great. When you walk to University everyday and live in a pedestrian city, you need good shoes.  Trust me, your feet with love you for it.
  4. And, so is food. Eat more food.
  5. Everyone conquers at their own pace.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, people.  I struggle with maths but excel in writing.  Everyone is good at something and crappy at another thing.  But, that doesn’t mean one skill is more valuable than another.  I don’t understand maths… but I am humble enough to grovel before it as I watch Netflix on my laptop run by some magical computerized code.  Just find what you’re good at and destroy your enemies from there.
  6. Don’t try to grow up too fast. Moving away to University, and especially moving abroad,  I felt like I was having to grow up fast.  I overwhelmed and worried that I was not mature enough to live on my own.  I tried to act mature but that just ended up with me being extremely bored because I realised being a grumpy adult really sucks. Maturity isn’t really something a person forces… it just comes with living and learning from mistakes.  So for now it’s back to watching cartoons and reading comic books.
  7. Vodka is a no. (See reference to ‘learning from mistakes’ above.)
  8. Go to the gym. My stress levels get out of hand if I don’t work out.  I physically have to do something or else I will go crazy.  But, it doesn’t have to be a crazy long run or 2 hours lifting weights.  Just go do something.
  9. As God said unto Abraham, ‘Treat yo self.’ Take a day and just do whatever you want.  It doesn’t have to be anything… sometimes I just don’t leave my room for a day and watch Netflix.  Just take a day and relax.  When my anxiety gets bad I go to the National Museum and hang out in the basement looking at Roman and early Scottish artifacts.  It’s quiet, it’s something I enjoy, and it gives me a break.  Other days, I go shopping.  I buy a new jumper or a new book.  It’s not everyday, but if you don’t take a day for yourself every once in awhile life gets pretty annoying.
  10.  People change. It’s natural and actually like around 1 million or so cells in your body die each day so literally speaking you’re a different person each day.  I know I’m different but I’m not trying to be a different person.  I don’t try to put on a false persona, because a) that’s hard work and b) sooner or later people are going to find out that I’m a huge nerd anyway.
  11. You have to let things go. I was notorious for holding grudges.  Call me the Grudge Queen, and it’s still something I’m working on.  But, I realised I can’t let what people do and say impact me negatively.  If I’m worry about what other people do, I’m not living my own life the way I want to.  
  12. Never give up, never surrender. When I was a kid, I had a tag on my tae-kwon-do bag with this quote.  It was pretty much my driving force growing up; work hard and one day it’ll all day off.  Even when it gets hard, you just have to keep going.
  13. If it doesn’t make you happy, then why are you doing it? I lost a childhood friend to a car crash last year and it made it realise that not only is life not fair, it’s fucking short.  Don’t waste your time with something that doesn’t make you happy.  It’s not worth it.  I’m so lucky in that am I studying what I love in a place that I love.  I’m also lucky that I found that love at a young age… but honestly, if you’re not happy… do something else.
  14. Say thank you. I would not be here without my family, friends, and teachers.  I will forever be thankful for their love, support, and guidance.  Friends you chose, family you’re stuck with, but teachers are especially stuck with you… so just make you that you say thank you.
  15. Failure and ‘Not being Successful’ are two different things. You only fail when you give up.  People don’t succeed at everything all the time.  Life would be pretty boring if we did.  I wasn’t accepted into the Honor’s Program at the University of Kansas… but that didn’t stop me from still applying to the University of Edinburgh and the University of St. Andrews and getting into both with unconditional offers.   
  16. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades. This is something my dad always says, and he’s right. While everything in life isn’t a straight shot, doing something halfway just is not worth it.  Just do it right the first time and then you don’t have to fix it later.   
  17. Proving things to others doesn’t really matter. This was something I told my dad I learned when he came to visit.  Growing up I always felt like I had to prove things to people.  I got a black belt and published a book because people told me I couldn’t.  I was always fueled by other people’s negative energy and not my own positive drive.  Moving forward now it’s how can I make myself better, not how can I prove to people that I’m worth something.  Because, I know that I am.     
  18.  Honesty and Loyalty. Call it growing up in a military family, but honesty and loyalty are as close to sacred as things get to me.  I can deal with stupid.  I can deal with bigots, racists, and sexists.  But, dealing with dishonesty and lies is not something I want to waste my time with.
  19. Carpe the fuck out of that diem. I try to make every day better than the last.  I know some days are going to suck, but that’s just life.  There’s always a silver lining to everything, sometimes it just takes a little bit longer to find.

So that’s my birthday post.  I’m up early to go climb Arthur’s Seat for sunrise and then join #teamtattoo today.  Tomorrow, archaeology exam and then CAPTAIN AMERICA!  Next month, 2 more exams.  June, Romania.  After that, who knows?

I just know I’ll keep working hard to be the best person I can be and do what makes me happy.

3 thoughts on “Nineteen.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely amazing. I can hear 18 years of our talks in your writing. Even better I hear a strong, independent person who has taken our talks in her own direction and with her own twist. Love you so much! Padre

    And, Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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