26 Reasons To Love Being 26

I’m turning 26 on Monday and I am having a mild quarter-life (+ 1 year) crisis about it. My grandpa died six days before my birthday last year so it’s a bit of a sad time for me, and I also hoped to have done a bit more with my life by this stage. Little me dreamed of big me being married, travelling internationally for work, having a hardcore career, a degree from Oxford, and making some kind of meaningful difference to the world by this age – big me believes little me was slightly disillusioned and extremely ambitious.

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I was voicing these woes to Lorzi the other day and she said something quite profound that struck a chord, “Please be happy that you have the privilege to grow older with your friends.” And then I started thinking. I’m actually incredibly blessed. I have so much love in my life from Tom, my family and friends; I have a stable job that let’s me write about a city I adore; I have my own cosy space to live in; and I have so many other things that give me joy. So here’s a list of 26 reasons to love being 26.

  1. My health. I’ve been so well recently – I think in the two years  Tom and I have been together I’ve only had the sniffles twice. I feel so blessed to be healthy – it’s something I never take for granted and value highly. This year, I’m going to work hard to get back in shape and to feel more comfortable in my own skin.
  2. My family – we’ve been through a lot of loss in the last two years. There were times when I thought our family was cursed because the pain didn’t seem to stop; particularly for my mum. But we’ve all been there for each other, and just pulled tighter together every time something else has happened. I’m so grateful for my mum, dad and Dave and the incredible love we share, and for my extended family – you all occupy a significant space in my heart.
  3. My Tom because he makes my heart so happy.
  4. My friends because I couldn’t live without them.
  5. My colleagues because they’re like family and make me laugh every day.
  6. Our animals: Our Lion paws because of his wrinkles, and our adopted baby Badger, because his tail is twice the size of the rest of him.
  7. Trish, who taught me to love the smallest things in life, to be brave, and to have picnics in parking lots.
  8. Gramps, who called me Starshine and believed I could do anything and so I believed it too.
  9. Gran, because her stories live on in me.
  10. Dave, whose crinkly smile warmed my heart and whose sense of humour made me laugh like no one else could.
  11. This city of mine – because I love it; it’s my home.
  12. Tom and my first trip together – I hope there are many more adventures ahead of us.
  13. My doodles: I’ve realised I love to draw and I need to do more of it. It makes me happier than anything else. I think my future might hold a hybrid of writing and illustration.
  14. My orchids: They’re blooming for the second time this year – maybe I do have green fingers after all! They’re responding very well to a strict regimen of neglect.
  15. Zimbabwe – because that’s where family is and where my memories of the farms are strongest.
  16. Photography: I’m never without a camera of some kind, and making it into CapeTownMag’s top ten photo roundup was a big achievement for me.
  17. Jewellery making: I’m currently learning how to make my own jewellery at Ruth Prowse and I love the creativity and physicality of it. So far I’ve made a ring and a moon – I’ll post pictures when they’re finished.
  18. Writing, because it’s like breathing to me.
  19. Series with my boy: Because cuddling and watching Downton is the best.
  20. Embracing my inner granny, because there’s nothing wrong with being an old soul.
  21. Lunch breaks with my parentals, because sneaky lunch dates are my favourite ones.
  22. All the books I’ve read and will read this year – literacy is such a gift.
  23. The amazing events I’ve been privileged to go to – Indochine, L’Avenir, my NAC helicopter flight and the Galileo being a few highlights.
  24. Making risottos with Tom, because the simple quiet moments sometimes mean the most.
  25. Learning life’s lessons gracefully: I like getting older – I like being better acquainted with myself and more sure of what I stand for.
  26. This world. Amidst all the awful things happening, there’s so much beauty. It’s a strange thing just to be alive isn’t it? Aren’t we lucky that somehow all our atoms connected together perfectly to form a living being. I forget to be grateful just to be alive sometimes.

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