On Tuesday next week it’s my birthday and at exactly 11.25am I turn the grand old age of 32.
Age isn’t something that bothers me, I remember being upset about turning 13 and 16 as I felt they were both keys ages at which I was waving goodbye to my childhood, but since then I see each birthday as a milestone at which point to take a glance over my shoulder and appreciate all that has gone by, before focussing my eyes firmly ahead at what is to come.
It’s no secret that that 2017 has been a bit of a rubbish one for me but it has also seen some majorly good things happening – weddings, babies etc. However, more than anything, it’s been a reminder of just how precious life is and a reminder of my own mortality.
I was going to – as I do most years – let my birthday slip by with little mention. I’ve never been a big one for celebrating my own things, however, having been to see my consultant last week and been told that he thinks there is a chance I might have more Cancer, it has given me a bit of a kick up the butt and made me realise I need to start making the most of life and not let this dark cloud 2017 brought me keep me in the shadows. I’m fully of the belief that the results will come back giving me the all-clear, and my consultant is just being super cautious because of my history, but it has still acted as a boot up the backside and a “GET OUT THERE AND START LIVING, WOMAN!” for me.
A few days ago, while I was killing some time online, I came across a viral video from The Stay At Home Chef. In it she’s talking about a rude comment she received from a viewer and how, having had health issues in the past, she came to a realisation – I’ll share her words below rather than try and explain it myself:
“If you read my About Page, you’d know that I have a rare auto-immune disease that means I will most likely never live to be 70 years old. Every sign of ageing that I have is a sign that I’m still alive. A lot of people don’t get the privilege to ever live to be old and I probably won’t either which means that I don’t have time to waste criticising myself and I don’t have time to waste criticising other people. I care a lot more about what my life is like RIGHT NOW.”
Watching that video just made me think, “She’s right!” tomorrow really isn’t promised for anyone and regardless of whether you are unwell now, have been unwell in the past, or are in full health, bloody hell we need to make the most of our time trotting around on this little planet of ours!
So here I am, planning 33 things I want to achieve by my 33rd birthday – a year away.
Obviously, not being flush with cash, I can’t do anything majorly exciting like travelling the world, but I’ve put together a little list of (realistic) things I want to do – little victories, experiences, ambitions and goals.
1. Ride a horse along a beach
2. Visit 12 new places (even if just for a day trip)
1. Amsterdam – for a weekend in September; my first ever blogging trip abroad!
2. Hythe – for a weekend in February (will post about it soon!)
3. Hold a chick
4. Go On A Jack The Ripper Tour In London
5. Go Alpaca Trekking
Done! Will post all about it soon!
6. Read 30 new books
1. Spirits of the Cage: True Accounts of Living in a Haunted Medieval Prison – stories from one of the most haunted houses in the UK. I actually pre-ordered this book as I had heard of The Cage through local stories and my interest in the paranormal. After reading this book I’m even more intrigued but don’t think I’d ever be brave enough to stop foot in the house if I was offered the chance!
2. Talking with Psychopaths: A Journey into the Evil Mind – interviews with some of the world’s worst serial killers. I found this book a little difficult to get in to, but there were some interesting comments in there regarding the psyche of the people being spoken to.
3. Perfect Victim – the story of a girl captured and held hostage for several years in a box under a bed. Horrendously, this is a true story, something that I couldn’t quite believe as I was reading the words on the page. Truly, truly horrific for the poor girl involved.
4. 147 Things – a book of little facts and snippets of knowledge from YouTube star, Jim Chapman. Click the link to read my full review – I was very pleasantly surprised by this book!
5. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology – the story of Leah Remini, her life inside Scientology, and the struggles she has endured after walking away from it.
6. Friend Request – a thriller following a school reunion and a Facebook message that seems to be from beyond the grave. I rarely read fiction, but having made a conscious decision to dabble in it a little more this year, I downloaded this. The story was fairly similar to a film I saw a few years ago and I guessed the ending, but it made for a good way to wile away my commute.
7. Jeffrey Dahmer: The Gruesome True Story of a Hungry Cannibalistic Rapist and Necrophiliac Serial Killer – the story of the serial killer who targeted young men, killing 17 over a period of 12 or so years.
8. Anything You Do Say – This was such a great read! Following the main character committing a crime, we follow her story on the two different paths her life could have taken – confession or cover-up. It was such an interesting concept and made me think about how critical the decisions we make in life are as they change the way things end up for us. I definitely recommend this book!
9. Raven’s Peak (World on Fire Book 1) – I really enjoyed this; a dark story with a supernatural twist, it was different to anything I have read before.
10. 11:05 Murders (The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries Book 2) – Following the murder of local men, all at 11.05pm, we follow the police team as they try to find out how the individuals are connected, why they’ve been killed and who is behind it.
11. Crash: A compelling psychological thriller you won’t want to put down – I absolutely loved this book and have recommended it to so many people! Twists and turns and surprises throughout left me unable to put this down and wishing away my days so I could settle down and get through some more of the pages!
12. The Skin Collector: Lincoln Rhyme Book 11 (Lincoln Rhyme Thrillers) – Book 11 in the series of stories following Lincoln Rhyme as he solves crimes, this is the first one I have read and I will definitely be downloading the previous 10 – well written, gripping and kept me engaged the whole way through.
13. Forget Her Name – I really enjoyed reading this and the twist at the end I definitely didn’t see coming! Definitely recommend!
14. The Stranger Beside Me – This is, quite simply, the best true crime book I have ever read! With the unique viewpoint of being both (unknowingly) friends with the murderer and working closely with the team investigating the murders, the author can show both aspects of the goings-on at the time in a clear and concise manner, but with the human element that can only come from a close friendship. If true crime is something that interests you, you will love this book.
7. Get another piercing or tattoo
Read all about it by clicking here!
8. Stay in a log cabin (or something equally as cute) in the New Forest
9. Watch a film at an outdoor cinema
10. Visit Longleat Safari Park
11. Climb the O2 in London
12. Go camping for a weekend
13. Do a vineyard or brewery tour
14. Blog at least 4 times a month, every month
15. Visit The Shard (food and drink too maybe…)
16. Visit a London museum I haven’t been to before
17. Go for a picnic
18. Visit Highgate Cemetery
19. Watch a trial at The Old Bailey
20. Ride the Emirate Cable Cars
Done! Will post all about it soon!
21. Create a gallery wall in my living room
22. Learn how to use my camera
23. Start a savings account and save £1,500.00
24. Go gin or whisky tasting
Done but it was rubbish so will have to book another one!
25. Cook one new recipe a month
26. Start to learn a new language
27. Go on holiday with Ben, my brother and his wife
Done! We took a mini-break to Bishops Castle Barn in Shropshire
28. Visit Buckingham Palace
29. Work with cows for the day
30. Do at least one Future Learn course
31. Video our life more so we can capture our memories forever
32. Spend a day with my childhood best friend
Done! We went to see Boyzone in concert on Hastings Pier – read all about it here
33. Make a piece of artwork to hang on the wall at home
I deliberately haven’t put anything outrageous on this list like going to Las Vegas or sky-diving because I know they aren’t achievable and the whole point of this list is to have a year of fun, not to fall at the first hurdle!
I’m excited for the year ahead and determined to make it count – is there anything you think I should have added to this list?