So, unfortunately, I recently turned 23. Of course, I know this is still relatively young, but I’ve been feeling old at every age past 19. I’ve nearly always been the oldest person in my group of friends, so I’ve had the privilege of turning ‘old’ first. And 23 definitely sounds like an age I should have achieved something at and should start having my life together. But, sometimes when I’m eating hummus for dinner and actually getting excited while watching the first episode of Kiss Bang Love, it doesn’t seem like everything is as ‘together’ as it should be.
But for this birthday, I wanted to gift myself with the knowledge that I have achieved a lot in my 23 years – even if not everything is conventional and may not seem significant.
- Full drivers license
Now this one might seem like cheating. Everyone has their licence, right? Hahaha, wrong! Two of my closest friends are both 22 and are still on their L’s. How, you say? How on earth could this be possible? Well, I got my licence first and drove them everywhere! But I wouldn’t change it because we had so many great times hooning around as I crafted my skills. So, although owning a licence may seem like an uneventful and everyday task, it’s a skill I have that not everyone else does.
2. Lived overseas
Vietnam, September to December 2012. Some of the craziest, most stressful but unforgettable months of my life. Living and teaching at a university before I’d even moved out of home or started uni myself.
3. Pursuing a university degree
Although sometimes it seems like the thing holding me down, I do not regret going to uni or my choice of degree one bit. Even though the number of times I’ve been asked are there any jobs in journalism any more probably outnumbers how many hours I’ve spent at uni over my degree, it’s definitely cemented what I want to do and given me the skills to do it.
4. Moved out of home
I’ve managed to wash, dry and bring in a load of washing all within 24 hours (once or twice), look after myself when I fall ill in the middle of the night (and call mum first thing in the morning) and live with heaps of different people without ever getting into a real tizzy with anyone. That’s a success if you ask me.
It took me a little while to get involved with anything at uni besides uni work itself. But, at the start of last year, I joined a club on campus and started volunteering my time. And it has been so fulfilling. The time I spend volunteering each week doesn’t seem like a chore because I’m spending time with my friends and working for a cause I care about. Win/Win!
6. Protest March
to my volunteering, last year I was able to participate in my first protest march. It was a lot of fun and so empowering!
7. Maintained friendships from primary school
My best friend hasn’t changed since year one. And that’s the greatest thing ever.
8. Worked some terrible jobs
Although this isn’t really an achievement, it’s definitely been worthwhile. My first job out of school, I was working for $12 an hour and was pretty much running a cafe by myself without prior experience. There were a lot of tears. But it taught me how to think on my feet and be three steps ahead of what I was doing. And also how to recognise exploitation when I see it.
9. Travelled with my family (and survived)
My family and I have spent a ridiculous amount of hours in the car together. We’ve road tripped to family gatherings all across NSW and gone on driving holidays to Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane multiple times. And then we tackled the overseas family holiday. Twice. In Vietnam and China. And it was some of the best weeks of my life.
10. Made a speech outside of school/uni
Apparently all those in class speeches in high school aren’t just an opportunity to laugh at your friends. Oh no, no. They teach you the value and power of the spoken word. They didn’t mention, though, that crying a little bit during the speech is a really good way to make everyone in the room pay full attention to what you’re saying. I learnt that when I made a speech outside of the classroom. I’m a real adult now.
Just because an achievement isn’t a traditional one, doesn’t mean it wasn’t valuable and didn’t teach you a thing or two! We’ve achieved more than we realise and have to start being proud of the little things too.