Turning 26

I recently had my 26th birthday and every birthday makes me think about the previous year and everything that is to come.

26 felt like a big number as it is moving very steadily into the late-20s and that seems very grown-up. The land of mortgages, serious relationships, kids, savings accounts, and gardening gloves. I currently only have one of these sorted – the boyfriend – and I have pretty much zero desire for the rest. Realising this has been a good thing! I feel less concerned that my life doesn’t look like that of all of my school friends or what my Grandmother expects.

Things I have learnt in the past year:

1. It IS okay not to be doing the aforementioned ‘grown up’ things IF you don’t want to or aren’t ready for them. Other people’s expectations are just that, theirs.

2. Always get a birthday cake. Even if it is a little one. Birthdays without a cake aren’t the same.

3.Diet and fitness are – annoying – pretty damn important as you get older. My metabolism is not what it was 10 years ago and I like to be able to run for the bus without collapsing. So, more bulgur wheat and yoga for me!

4. Making a big life change can be liberating but pretty damn scary. When I got my PhD funding and I made the decision to leave my nice, safe office job and great flat in a beautiful city for the unknown – I was terrified. However, it has been the best choice I’ve ever made.

5. Being in a long distance relationship sucks but it can work. It is also very hard  to keep both parties happy and secure in the longevity of the relationship. Yet, I don’t regret starting the PhD and moving away.IMG_3720

6. Have something in your life that isn’t work. I used to work all day then come home for the typical evening of making dinner for myself and settling down to watch TV. Every night. So that is one of the reasons I started this blog: it gives me another focus that both isn’t work but is productive. It makes evenings and weekends feel more useful and I enjoy it.

7. Doing a PhD requires strict budgeting and that is rubbish! One way I’ve managed to keep to it is meal planning. It stops me hitting up Just Eat or eating a huge bowl full of pasta covered in cheese. I just take like 5 minutes a week to think about my lunch and dinners and it saves me a ton of money.

8. I was never really a pet person until my parents rescued a dog in January. I didn’t realise you could love something as much as I do that silly, old dog. I’m not shopping for dog collars and treats for my own dog just yet – they are a bit too much of a committment but give it 10 years.Lisabeth Westwood

9. Gilmore Girls is always great. Especially when you binge-watch 10 episodes in a day.

10. Being happy comes in many forms! What makes my boyfriend happy is hearing the wind blowing through trees in the countryside. While I think that is nice it doesn’t exactly set my world alight but I love drinking a cup of coffee watching YouTube or playing fetch with my parent’s dog. Lisabeth Westwood

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