A blog about travel, books and navigating your twenties in one piece

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The 52 Lists Project // Week 17

Happy Sunday! I hope you're having a wonderful bank holiday weekend. I'm spending mine revising which isn't all that much fun but in less than a month now I'll be free for summer so I can't really complain!

I can't get over the fact that today is the last day of April. This holiday has gone so quickly and, although I'm really ready to go back to Exeter on Tuesday, this month has felt so short, I don't know if it's just me or what.

Anyway, this week's list is a bit of a somber one: "List the difficult moments in your past that have shaped you for the better." But the fact is, although all these things were difficult, they have made me the person I am today and for that I'm incredibly grateful, so here they are...

  • My parents divorcing when I was six - No child wants their parents to have to divorce and having it happen is for the most part a horrible experience. But both my Mum and Dad are so much better off for it and, in the long run, I was much happier for it too.
  • My first break up - My first boyfriend (if you can really call it that, I was fourteen!) were together for only around three months but when he broke up with me I was absolutely devastated in that classic, teenage way. I thought the world was ending. It's so funny looking back on it now! But I learnt a lot about myself from that, and about boys, and both of those lessons have been very helpful.
  • Moving house and changing schools when I was sixteen - My Mum and I moved from Surrey to south-west London just before I started my A Levels and I was distraught. I adored my old school and all of my friends there and we'd lived in Surrey since I was three, so essentially my whole life. That, and starting a new school where everyone had already known each other for five years, was incredibly daunting to me and I was so upset for months. But, as things tend to, it all worked out for the best and I met the most wonderful people at my new school and wouldn't live anywhere but London now!
  • A Levels - As much as I loved the two years in which I took my A Levels they were also so damn stressful. So much pressure was put on me and my friends and, while it definitely paid off and I learnt so much from them and the stress of exams, at the time they were incredibly hard.
  • My first proper relationship ending - This break up was different to the first one in 100 ways. I mean, firstly, we were together for two and a half years and, to make it worse, it ended horribly and in the middle of my A Level exams. It wasn't easy to deal with but I knew I'd be ok this time, that life would move on and that I had so much ahead of me. The way it ended taught me a lot about what I want out of life and relationships.
  • First term at university - Adding this to the list might sound strange because Freshers is generally thought of as one big party where you have no responsibilities. And it is fun. But it's also really hard. You're typically living away from home at the first time with total strangers in a place you don't know very well and drinking quite a lot. That's a big deal. And, while I enjoyed it, it was also a difficult period in my life. I was coming to terms with a lot about myself and doing it in an environment that wasn't the most secure. It did, however, also involve meeting loads of amazing new people, learning a lot more about who I am and how to ask for help so I'll always remember it fondly I'm sure.
  • Going for a few sessions of therapy - I don't know whether I've ever written about the fact that I've had a few sessions of therapy before. I'd been in the past to help deal with my parents divorce but the time I'm talking about was just after my first term of university (hence the reference for learning how to ask for help earlier). I felt pretty lost around Christmas 2015 and wanted to work some things out with someone completely external. My Mum, being a therapist herself, was so unbelievably supportive and kindly paid for me to have a few sessions of therapy and, although it was scary, I am so grateful for those few hours. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. In fact, I think the world would be a much better and happier place if we all did ask for it a bit more, and those sessions taught me so much. 

So there you have it. Overall I know, of course, how lucky and privileged I am and that I haven't gone through anything that's incredibly traumatic or of any comparison to what awful things many people go through every day. 

But, nonetheless, all of these things were very difficult at the time of going through them. And I suppose all these things go to show that, in my experience, we always learn the most when faced with periods of our life that challenge us to the core. 

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