6 days ago, I turned 28. For me Birthdays are days of contemplation as well as celebration. I like anything that marks an ending and a beginning. I tend to reflect on my life so far on and around my Birthday. After a harrowing year where it felt like time pretty much stood still, I decided to write a list of 28 things I’m grateful for up to this point in my life.
1. I left the country I grew up in and created a new life on my own in London. It’s the best thing that I’ve ever done. I worked very hard to get to the place where I belong and I’m proud of myself for accomplishing it.
2. I managed to teach myself how to beat the depression I have been struggling with my whole life. I realised that happiness is a choice and accepted that we create our own reality through our thoughts, our thoughts amount up to what we are and; Negative emotions feed of themselves, thus creating a downward spiral. Since then I’ve been changing my negative thought patterns.
3. I know exactly what I want out of life, what I want to achieve, and what is important to me.
4. I became open-minded when I realised that you never know who is going to teach you a valuable lesson or become an integral part of your life.
5. I know and love myself, flaws included. I’m fine with being prone to depression, being of a melancholic nature. It doesn’t mean that I can’t be happy! I’ve got an hour-glass figure and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I don’t do sports or heavy exercise and that’s fine. I eat healthily – but I love cake, dark chocolate, cheese, and crisps. That’s fine as well.
6. I’ve finally realised the importance of family and real friends. Time and distance makes no difference when it comes to true bonds. People doesn’t matter less to me because they live far away. I’m grateful for the family and friends I have around the world, and the fact that I’m important to a lot of people.
7. I accepted that luck is just preparation and opportunity coming together. I create my own luck.
8. I’ve tried a lot of different jobs such as: au pair, ball gown seamstress, shop assistant, baby coffin bedding seamstress, factory worker, and hair model. I also used to make and sell clothes, accessories, and jewellery. I’m a self-taught hair dresser, having cut my own hair for 15 years, but I do hair for free.
9. I’ve played around with loads of different styles and aesthetics. I have had pretty much every hair colour there is. Most of all I’m glad that I have had pastel pink and bright pink hair because it taught me a lot about myself, people, and the world.
10. The years I had with my cat who now lives with my mum will always be in my heart. Leaving her when I moved to London was the most difficult thing I have ever done, but I know how happy she and my mum make each other.
11. I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like.
12. After having been a collector of many things for many years, I realised that materialistic possessions mean nothing. They’re literally just things. I sold everything I owned before I moved to London and have ever since been perfectly content with a minimal amount of possessions.
13. I never get tired of learning new things and I’ve always been obsessed with studying the human mind. I’m also grateful for my abilities to learn and read very quickly.
14. At the time I didn’t appreciate it enough but I’m very happy that I went to art school and studied subjects such as: photography, art history, ceramics, design, etching, graphic design, contemporary art, textile design, sewing, drawing, psychology, and philosophy.
15. In my childhood I learnt to love my own company and entertain myself. I still do this incredibly well.
16. I’ve met quite a few of my heroes.
17. Growing up I learnt to be thrifty, cook and bake, make things myself, adopt new skills, be independent, and survive on next to nothing. I’ve been through a lot of brutal things in my life and by now I consider myself an expert at surviving tough times.
18. I’m grateful for the personality traits and passions I have inherited from my parents. I got my passion for film, British comedy, and horror from my dad; I got my creativity and passion for art from my mum. I got my passion for literature, music, and Britain from both my parents.
19. I’ve learnt how to cut drama and negative people out of my life.
20. I was bullied throughout my childhood. I have chosen to view this is a good thing because it made me incredibly strong and forced me to teach myself to not care about what other people think of me. I don’t need anyone else’s approval.
21. I’ve always had someone there to encourage me to do whatever it is that I want to do. My mum has always told me and my brother that we can be whatever we want as long as it makes us happy. This is such a beautiful thing to tell your children.
22. I was unemployed for many years in the country I grew up in and this is another thing I have chosen to view as a good thing. Not being able to get a job, not being wanted by society taught me a lot about many things. Retrospectively it’s obvious that the depression I was suffering from would have drastically worsened would I have had a job I hated. I’m grateful for all that free time I had to focus on the few things I enjoyed and to get myself out of the downward spiral.
23. I’ve learnt to only compare myself to myself. I’m never bitter over someone else’s fortune. On the contrary, it inspires me to work harder.
24. I’m grateful that I have so many different interests and skills. I’m creative and artistic by nature, and I’ve always been a writer. That’s what I do, I write and I create. I’m also grateful for having re-discovered my passion for photography.
25. The arts. Design. Simple pleasures. Cats.
26. I’ve finally accepted that I’m not capable of working for someone else. I want to work for myself, but I would be just as happy working with someone who has the same vision and aspirations.
27. I constantly strive to improve things (including myself) and refuse to settle for less than what I want.
28. I have a future. I will travel, write, create, photograph, laugh, connect, change, learn, celebrate, live.