2016 wasn’t a good year for me. Life just can’t be perfect, and complaining about the past 12 month seems almost ungrateful for all the good things that happened. In many respects, I made heaps of progress, yet somehow I was constantly discontent.
You see, In 2016 I turned 30. I was so wrong to think that I wouldn’t care.
As long as I could define myself as a twenty-something-year-old, I felt as if with one leg I still belonged in the land of childhood. It allowed me the luxury of time, and it bore many a promise. I still had time to push my freelance career forward. Still time to start writing a book. Still loads of time to climb my first 8A, to think about one day having a child, to deciding which country I wanted to live in, and to become wildly successful in something. Still loads of time until the first wrinkles would crease my face.
Well, in 2016 two barely noticeable lines have framed my lips. A network of shallow creases appears around my eyes every time I smile. And it seems that after every smile they linger for longer and longer.
All of a sudden, the delayed message has hit me.
You’re an adult. You should be somebody.
Switching gears. Learning to appreciate the now. More often failing than not, but at least I'm on the way. Breathe. Let go. Be. [shot by @kiellgram] . . . . . . . . . . . . #instagood #liveauthentic #livefolk #letsgosomewhere #lifeofadventure #polishgirl #portrait #followme #photooftheday #outdoorwomen #exploretocreate #artofvisuals #teamcanon #sheexplores #wildernessculture #outdoors #modernoutdoors #wild #traveller #questionmadness #optoutside #upcloseandpersonal #yogagirl #adventure #stayandwander #pinkhair #ladnscape #righttoroam #ombre #outdoorlife
I proceeded to playing a subconscious blame game every time I opened my eyes in the morning. Every time I looked in the mirror, every time I headed to the gym, and every time I felt out of my depth at work. In fact, it accompanied me in almost every moment.
I’ve never had any particular expectations of myself, and my goals have materialised rather late in my life. I’m just one of those indecisive people trying to do it all, and failing at everything.
Still anticipating some future successes, for most of my twenties I kept looking forward, imagining myself as somebody I’d want to be. As, one by one, the promises of the future became missed chances, a sense of lateness and disconnect lingered in the air. At first just a minor annoyance, and then, around my 30th birthday, an unbearable sensation of simply having fucked up.
I haven’t become any of those people I imagined myself as. Not a writer, not a successful businesswoman, not an athlete. Still not even remotely interested in becoming a mother.
I’m not going to lie and tell you that with the arrival of the New Year I’ve magically forgiven myself. As I write these words disillusion hangs heavy in the air. What’s different though is that I want it gone.
I can’t change who I am. Yes, I’ve let many opportunities go, and I can’t bring those moments back. But where I am is a not a bad place to be either. Maybe I’m not doing everything wrong. I have to learn to recognise and cherish that thought. Holding on to the feeling that I’ve arrived five years, or maybe even a decade too late is not going to turn back time.
My age doesn’t define me, and I deserve my own respect for my choices. I deserve to take pleasure in the pursuit of my goals. I deserve to stop imagining myself as someone else. I deserve to allow myself to be me.
The list of what I want to do in 2017 is quite long, and it mostly involves statements such as “I will keep trying” and “I will try harder”. Apart from one thing, there’s nothing in particular that I want to achieve. And the single most important thing is self-acceptance. I want to love being me, because it seems that being somebody else in simply not an option.
(If an opportunity to be a unicorn arrives, I won’t let that one go, I promise.)