A big thank you to the camper for taking us from the mechanics of Calais, to from the mountains of south eastern France, through the fruit fields of Collias and finally to the Mediterranean. It’s been a rollercoaster (literally when the breaks cut out, or teetering on the side of the verdon gorge) but it’s been a pleasure. 🌎 Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
Big intake of breath…
As a 21 year old, fresh out of university and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, so many ideas have been floating around my head and today I wanted to share one!
The idea I want to talk about borrows from the tenets of Eastern Philosophy about living in the present, and never really ‘arriving’ so to speak. I want to start of with a quote from Alan Watts which goes something like this: ‘’and while as I said it is of tremendous use for us to be able look ahead in this way and to plan. There is no use planning for a future which when you get to it and it becomes a present, you won’t be there… you’ll be living in some other future which hasn’t yet arrived. And so in this way one is never able actually to inherit and enjoy the fruits of ones actions. You can’t live at all… unless you can live fully, now.”
If I look back with an honest eye at the past few years, there’s little doubt I’ve been preoccupied with preparing for my future. I’ve just graduated from University, where I spent three years looking ahead to what I would do when I had a degree; what job I might end up in, what adult life I might claim. Before that I was in college, working towards A levels that would help me get into the university I wanted so that, at whatever point in the future, I would be happy and I would be successful. I had an awful lot invested, and I suppose I still do, in the notion that one day, I would arrive. Everything would come together and I would somehow learn in a moment, the life I would live. But that hasn’t happened. I’ve arrived and yet I haven’t. I’ve ‘gotten’ to the future, and found that it ONLY exists in the future. There is no arriving – and I’ve been missing out.
We are inside of a system that prepares us only for a destination – not the journey that we live around and within every day. From a very young age, I have been learning how to prepare, but on this path my preparation will never end. We never reach ‘there’, wherever there is. We carry on preparing for the future all our lives and we never make it, because there is no destination. The future exists only in the future and it is useless to live for a future which shifts just beyond our reach each time we come close. Happiness can’t be possible in a future which is not guaranteed and joy for the future can’t, by its very nature, exist if you don’t try to be happy right now.
In one month and ten days, I’ll be turning 22 years old. There’s a small part of me that wonders where 21 went, but in reality I ticked of some pretty hefty life experiences this year. I got my first proper job, we moved house twice, I started making videos on YouTube, I turned vegan, I made huge steps in recovery from an ED, I improved my climbing, started running and Nathan and I celebrated 3 years together.
They say that life speeds up as you get older, and all of a sudden you’re looking back, wondering where your twenties went, so it seems to me that I’d do well to grab these years by the metaphorical balls and have a good go at making the absolute most of them. With 41 days left until I enter year 22, I’m determined to make a last push and tick off some small goals before my birthday.
In no particular order, I want to:
1.Take a trip to somewhere new
Travel is something I don’t feel you can ever do enough. Since childhood, I’ve wanted to visit, see, do and explore as much as possible, and yet I feel as though I neglected the wanderer inside of me a little this year. Luckily, Nathan and I have 1 trip planned for June, but the real aim would be to push this up before July 5th, funds allowing.
2. Watch at least 1 sunrise
There’s a quote which I adore which goes a little something like this: “There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.” Though I’d hate to admit it, I do miss far too many. For for the next 41 days, I really want to make an effort to catch and appreciate more of them.
3. Go on a photography walk
I’m a big camera person. I’m rarely to be found without one on my person and I’m always taking pictures or clips of things, much to my friends bewildered amusement. ‘Hannah why are you taking pictures of your food?’ is a phrase I’ve heard more times than I could count and yet I still feel like photography is a passion of mine that I need to make more time for, so I hope to be able to take my DSLR for a whirl in the woods and get some shots before Spring is up!
4. Write a letter to somebody
I can’t explain this one as much as I’d like to. I feel like there’s a lost art in letter writing, and I really want to try my hand at a long and meaningful letter some somebody close to me.
5. Have a clear out
Considering we just moved house for the second time this year, you wouldn’t think having a clear out would/could make this list. Thing is, I’m a huge hoarder and I’m ridiculously sentimental- That box of post it notes and old point and shoots in the store? Yes I do need them, because they might be useful one day and don’t you remember that I drew that doodle on that note on our first night in our last house?! That said, I’m a big believer in ‘tidy space, tidy mind’, so a clear out before my 21st year is up seems like a good idea!
6. Run a 10K
I am the queen of well-intentioned 10k runs that turn into run/walk/take pictures of flowers 5k runs. I started running this year, and I still haven’t managed a 10k – partly because cardio is HARD and partly because my attention span is pants. This month though, I will…!
7. Cook dinner for my parents
Two of my favorite things in the world are food, and my parents. So some simple maths ( food + mum + dad = dinner cooked for parents) dictates that I’ll have cooked my parents dinner before my 22nd birthday!
8. Try a food I’ve never tried before
And there aren’t many! I’m a big foodie, so I feel like this might be quite an easy challenge. In fact, sourcing some yummy, exotic food doesn’t really sound like a challenge at all! I’m quite looking forward to this one.
9. Take a day trip somewhere alone
Here’s the thing: I’m world number 1 at being an introvert. I absolutely love a good solitary ‘thinking’ walk, or an ‘until you get wrinkly’ read in the bath without any human distractions and I really like my own company. I also really like fading into the background and experiencing a new place as a lone ranger – so I really would like to take a solo trip before the summer. Not far, but just far enough!
10. Make my own recipe
Cooking is one of my favorite, favorite hobbies. I love to get creative in the kitchen and think up new and different recipes – testing them out on Nathan is one of his favorite things too, I think! Before I turn 22, I want to get a recipe of my own nailed. A real personal dish that I can hail as my own creation and thrust proudly under everybody’s noses at fuddles.
11. Conquer an outdoor climb
After taking a fall at climbing the other month, I’ve not been doing all that much on the wall. I’ve been doing even less outside, and if I’m really honest, I’m a little bit nervous after an injury! It seems a shame to shy away from the thing I love the most, so I aim to get back out of the grit before July 5th!
12. Write a 22 years blog post
In addition to this post, I also want to recap my year once my birthday has passed. I think it’s always lovely to be able to look back over your experiences down the line and remember all the things you got up to!
13. Give Nathan a massage
Nathan is honestly one of the most ticklish, responsive people I know. His enjoyment of back, hand, head anything massages is so insane, I sometimes wonder if his nervous system is wired differently. But alas, I’m a lazy girlfriend and he suffers massage neglect daily. So, as a gesture of good will and as a big thank you for sharing the year with me, I want to give Nathan a proper back massage before my birthday!
14. Go on a date
Perhaps this next one is slightly more self-motivated but I’d really like Nathan and I to go on a proper date; go for a meal, or watch a film together, just spend some ‘us’ time together.
15. Ride my bike
I’ve written ride my bike and now I’m wondering if I actually own a bike anymore. Maybe squirrelled away in my parents shed but it’s been that long since I used it they’ve probably donated it. I’ve always been funny on a bike – I never was a very confident rider and as the years passed it became more and more of a thing that I just wasn’t very good at and honestly, I’m terrified of riding on the road but my phobia of bicycling is one that I really want to put behind me!
16. Read 22 books
I’m not 100% sure that this is actually achievable, not because the intent is lacking, but because I have 41 days in which to do it. In all probability, fitting in that many books whilst also ticking off the rest of this list may be a little tight, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. When there’s a will there’s a way, isn’t that what they say?
17. Make something from scratch, be in clothing, a piece of furniture…
There’s never an occasion where making something from scratch isn’t satisfying as anything. This aim also coincides nicely with the abundance of timber and paint we have lying around the house from Nathan’s furniture projects.
18. Start a new TV series
I recently powered though Bates Motel and AHS and some of my best wind down time comes from burrowing into my bed and marathoning Netflix. Before my 21st year is up i want to find another series to lose myself in – should be too hard!
19. Play squash
Squash has long been one of my favorite sports. It’s such good fun and great exercise and it indulges my competitive streak, yet I haven’t played in a good few months. This needs remedying.
One of my fondest memories plays back to me often. In it, I’m sat on a sun lounger in Nathan’s back garden, looking at the stars with Nathan and chatting. This was back when we were first getting to know one another, and it’s an activity I have lots of good accusations with, so I’d like to set aside a space for it on this list!
I’ve voted before, in last years general election. It didn’t go too well. I was sorely disappointed. Without launching into a politically charged rant on the importance of voting, one of the things I’ll do in June is vote in the UK referendum, to decide if the UK will remain in the EU.
22. Have a medical
Lastly, before I turn 22 I wan’t to get a full medical check up. There’s nothing like a birthday to remind you of your own mortality, and to give you that gentle nudge to appreciate your health and how lucky you are to be ailment free.
So that’s my list of things I’d like to get done before I complete another year of my life. I’m feeling quite confident, and I’m looking forward to sending off 21 on a good note. Wish me luck. 🙂