This week saw the 25th anniversary of my birth and the 1st anniversary of moving to London and starting my dream job. Because I’m super crap and haven’t written in forever, you’re now going to get a summary post of all the things I’ve wanted to write about while being 24 and living in London, but.. well.. haven’t.
24 has been the longest year of my life. Which is entirely a blessing when life since about age 13 has gone distressingly fast. Here’s what happened…
I went to Qatar in the Middle East. I’ve never been anywhere too exciting in my life (aside from a week in New York which was just the best) so venturing to Qatar was super satisfying as one of the most random places on earth I could possible go. I went to visit my friend Katy who edits an English magazine out there called FACT. I spent a week just exploring and eating and breathing the super sweet air of this Aladdin country. It was fascinating to see it from Katy’s expat point of view rather than just as a tourist because it made me realise I really could live anywhere and feel comfortable anywhere if I wanted. Which is a relief for the future!
I got back involved with Girlguiding. From aged 7, I was a Brownie, and then a Young Leader helping at said Brownies unit until I went to uni. I think after that I was literally brainwashed of the whole thing because it was only around October 2012 amid a desperate search to find something London based to replace the work I was doing with Girls Out Loud, did I see some press coverage of Girlguiding, and have the brainwave of ‘Oh yeah, I used to utterly love doing that?!’ No clue how I hadn’t thought of it sooner.
So now I’m helping at a guide unit (ages 10-13 so more of a challenge then Brownies, but a good challenge), helping now and then at Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Guide & Scout unit, I’m the Marketing & Communications Adviser for London North West County and have been trained as a 4 peer educator (to give sessions on the standard bullying / health etc but also skills like self-confidence, communcation). It feels good to be doing it in London for a while, because I feel closer to where the bigger policies and plans are happening, and that seems a good place to be right now as the organisation is changing a lot and trying to freshen up its image away from all the tradition. I do miss nature walks though and just generally being able to take the girls outside…
Ooo and also I’m taking my Queen’s Guide Award! I have to complete it before I’m 26 (argh!) but most of it was stuff I was doing already. It’s the highest award you can get in Guiding and includes things like service to guiding, improving a skill, research into an issue affecting the community, and taking your Guiding holiday license to be able to take the girls on holidays and camps.
The job is great. I’m enjoying it and learning a lot. I’ve realised that one of the reasons it’s hard for our generation to share stories on the workplace that could mutually help us all, is because we’re so used to sharing online as much as face to face.. and I just can’t publish most of what I would want to say about my work.. not because its bad, but just because it’s sensitive and wouldn’t be appropriate. Which pisses me off. So do ask me about it in person. But I’ve learnt a lot about the media industry, about negotiating or at least being clear about what you want, about work being a two way street where both employer and employee have to give and take, and that you have to be smart and play to your circumstances. Anyone who thinks they will be handed things on a plate once and because they ‘deserve ‘ it, is unfortunately not someone likely to get far, and not someone I would chose to employ anyway. (Generalising, obvs, but it’s an important thing to at least be aware of).
Keeping up the singing. I was really lucky to have found a singing teacher in London before I even moved (through people at Preston Opera). We really started having regular lessons in the past few months and focusing on my Grade 8. God I love it. My teacher has suggested I learn quite a few options for the Grade, and then do a little recital of them all (which naturally terrifies me, but a good challenge!). I’ve also been involved with an office choir we have at work where we rehearse every Wednesday evening. It’s been a great way to keep singing and we have a really great teacher while the music is a bit more poppy and laid back which is fun. Oh and also I’m going on a music camp at the end of June?! No idea what to expect but apparently we just spend a whole weekend learning a big piece of opera.. why not?!
Women of the World Festival. I went to my first of these festivals just for a day in 2012, but this year I went the whole hog of 3 days and it was just a dream from beginning to end. I couldn’t have spent a happier weekend.. just learning and having my mind blown by amazing women, and just feeling all this potential in the world. And I took my live tweeting skills to a whole new level 😉 They videoed a lot more of it this year so you can still see lots even if you weren’t there. A woman at the end of the weekend made a comment like ‘I feel we come to WOW each year, say we’re going to keep it going and change things and then nothing ever happens’.. and I so disagree, because if any of the people in that room leave feeling the way I do, they’re going to spend the next year making changes in their own little patches and collectively things will get better.
I graduated from my MA! Crikey this feels ages ago now. But I managed the craziness of doing a masters project for 3 months while working. I was so proud of the final result. My magazine is a work in progress but it is everything I wanted it to be. And however stressful it was for that year, it was very much worth it.. I learnt so much and I know it’s propelled me more in my career.
I’m slowly getting back into running. I still haven’t quite found my rhythm. I desperately want to run lots but can’t quite work out if I prefer it alone or with someone, morning or evening, whether I need extra exercise to compliment it. But I’m just going to keep trying until something clicks 😉
Counting down to London. I spent a long, long time waiting to get to London. I think I had a 24 month countdown at one point. To be fair, things got better at home and I forgot about that countdown for a while, but for whatever reason, I have always wanted to be here. Be it childhood visits, or too many movies, I never wanted to miss out on this cosmopolitan glittery magic. And it is wonderful . I’m so lucky to live so central. I cannot believe that now for the rest of my life I will always get to say I lived in Fitzrovia for a year (or more!). I prefer it to Paris, but I think that’s more the luck of a great job and just being more used to a culture I love. I’m not going to live here forever. Who knows if I will even work here forever. I miss the countryside desperately and all the time, but right now my pulls country / city are still 50/50. We’ll see. But I know how much I wanted this, and I’m so so grateful I got it.
Who knows what 25 will bring. I’m moving in with a boy so that’s a biggie. My career could go anywhere and good God I miss writing. I’m also just desperate to keep learning and discovering. But more generally, I feel like the last few years have been the super hard work, then 24 was the setting up, and now at 25, I’d really like time to just, well ENJOY it all for a bit. I’m not sure I’m capable of sitting back and just taking it all in.. but I know how content it makes me, so I’m really going to try
‘What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.’