Sunday, 12 January 2020

The Last Decade

As 2019 came to an end, my social media was filled with people celebrating everything they have achieved in the last decade, and whilst I initially refrained from doing this, I have since been reflecting on how much I actually have achieved.


I was 15. I had no real idea of what I wanted from my life, I had a vague idea of teaching, but had no idea of how to achieve this, University wasn't even an option at this stage. I had no self-confidence, and lots of questionable appearance decisions. I'm still haunted by the fact that my colleagues can still see my Year 11 School Photo where I have a jet black pixie cut... I still thank my best friend from school for that now - luckily she's now my hairdresser and has said that she'd never let me do it again! My friendship circle was small, and I was yet to meet Tom. My support system? That was my friends, the family situation has been tense for years, and my support came from elsewhere.


I was 20 years old, I'd been with Tom for over 3 years at this stage, it genuinely amazes me on a daily basis how someone can be so selfless and caring. He came into my life, saw the wreck that stood around me, and helped me build the life that I wanted. I graduated University for the first time with an English Degree, and began studying for my PGCE. The family situation deteriorated, and I moved out. For over a year, I lived in a dingy room above a pub, it may not have been ideal, but it was absolutely the right decision for me. I began believing in myself for the first time, I gained new friends, and lost some of them along the way. My circle grew, Tom's friends became mine along with their partners, I put myself out of my comfort zone and actually tried to make friends!


Where am I now? I'm 24, I graduated university again and work as an English Teacher. I moved schools this year, whilst it was hard leaving my friends and department behind, I joined the school I always wanted to be at, and it was a great decision.  I have friends who've been around for years, (14 to be precise Katie!), and friends I've made in the last year yet it feels as if they've been there forever. I live in a lovely little flat with one of my best friends, and I feel content. I've been with Tom for 8 years... he deserves a medal!  We are currently saving and searching for our first home together, and I can't wait! My family? Tom, my brother and his family, all of Tom's family, and all of our friends. They are my family. They are the people I rely on daily, the people I celebrate my achievements with and mourn my losses with. The people that make me feel worthy, and also, the people who are always up for an adventure - it's very handy having two friends who own a flat in London!

Looking back at myself in 2010, I barely recognise the 15 year old with a bleach blonde pixie cut. If I could give her some advice, it would be to stick it out, stick with your gut, because everything you ever wished and hoped for will come.

The last decade certainly hasn't been a breeze, but I couldn't be happier with where I am at the beginning of the next one. There are still multiple things that I am focusing on changing this year. I want to tackle my eating, I am so fed up of being controlled by an irrational disorder that affects every single day of my life. Alongside this, I want to take responsibility for my health, I want to be more active, run the Race for Life again, get out of the house more! I cannot wait to buy a home, and to welcome some four legged friends in! And finally, I can't wait to continue making memories with my favourite people!

The last decade cost me lots, but brought me so much more. I graduated University twice, I made some incredible new friends, and developed friendships with old ones, I gained 3 nieces and a nephew, I got the job I'd always wanted, and I found the person I want to spend the rest of my life. It is easy to focus on the negatives in life, when actually, it brings some pretty good things too! I am optimistic about the next ten years, and I'm excited to see what they bring!


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