On the eve of my 33rd birthday I Googled “what happens when you are 33?” which I think pretty much sums up my laissez faire attitude to my extra year.
I used to worry that the years were slipping by me too fast, that I wasn’t squeezing enough in to them. I spent so much of my early twenties pregnant and sleep-deprived that I just didn’t have the energy or get-up and go to achieve: or maybe I did and just couldn’t remember so much of what happened in these years because of the lack of sleep?
I’m pretty sure I say this most years, but 33 feels like a bit of a big one. It marks ten years since I got married, a little over 8 since I became a mum. Six years since my marriage split. The year in which I’ve been at my most happy, my most sad, my most loved, my most successful.
It’s been so lovely moving into my mid-30s and discovering the process of becoming the person I am meant to be is rolling and evolving
I recorded a podcast yesterday with Dr Mark Winwood, a psychologist who’s working with me on the brilliant ‘Owning Your Fears’ project with AXA PPP healthcare. In it we chatted on the subject of Imposter Syndrome, something I have suffered with for years and have been delighted to set-to and tackle these last six months. I laughed to Dr Mark how funny I found it that, when I was younger, I used to think that self improvement was a finite process. You know, you’d wake up one day when you were, like, 26, and BOOM! you’d be a complete person. Job done.
I was so excited for this day when I’d finally wake up and be perfect: whatever that means.
But it’s actually been lovely to move into my mid-30s and discovering the process of becoming the person I am meant to be is rolling and evolving. How lucky am I that I get to experience life and use the highs and lows I go through to assimilate these brilliant lessons year upon year? And these last twelve months, the year of 32, has been so monumental.
For a start, my friends have been absolutely life-changing this year. They were always brilliant but I feel recently like we’ve relied on each other in ways we’ve never done before, and it’s lovely to know we have each others’ backs. It’s been a process of pulling my circle tighter – I have fewer friends than I once did, but I trust and love them implicitly – and the feeling of having my strong women friends behind me is the absolute best.
Work has turned a corner, too. I gave up the corporate world last summer to concentrate on being a full-time self-employed creative, and suffered a huge crisis of confidence when I realised that my whole income suddenly relied on me being a full-time self-employed creative. SHIT!
I pushed through it, got a book deal, wrote a book, released a book: I don’t think I’ve completely come to terms with that process. There’ll be more about it in the future – I have so much to say about the absolute rollercoaster of penning a memoir – but ultimately I am extremely proud of what I achieved. I wrote a book and it was published by the second biggest UK publisher, and that’s something I’ve always dreamed of, a dream that very few people achieve in their lifetime. That’s really effing cool.
I can’t talk about the year of 32 without mentioning love. I fell huge and hard just before I turned 32, and subsequently experienced a kind of heartbreak I didn’t expect (or want) to feel. But again lessons were learned: the whole process was both excruciating and humbling and I feel so much more confident in myself and the love I have to give moving into my next year, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
The children were shining stars these last twelve months, the absolute apples of my eye. I haven’t always found it easy to be a mother but I think with each year of age and wisdom comes the ability to be that little bit less selfish, which always is impactful when it comes to my mothering. Everything I do is truly for them, every word I write and step I take. They are my biggest achievements and I am so lucky to have them.
33 was the year I went a bit woo-woo and starting working with life coaches: I feel absolutely no shame in saying that it has been transformative. Aside from my project with AXA PPP healthcare, which was an experience that got me not only exercising 3 times a week but enjoying it (I did a HIIT class at 6.30am on my birthday, WHO AM I??!), I’ve also been having sessions with Nicola Gibb, a coach who specialises in giving mums their confidence back. I would so wholeheartedly recommend Nicola to anyone: I credit her with helping me re-discover my joie de vivre, increasing my income and becoming an all-round kinder and more patient person.
What do I hope my 34th year will bring? More sleep, always. More love. Fitness and flexibility. Family. Career success and the motivation to continue to work hard. Happiness for my friends, safety and love for my children. Creativity and continued fulfilment.
God, life is good, and I feel so thankful to be able to enjoy it.
And after all my birthday-eve Googling do I know what happens when you’re 33? No: the most credible looking link in my search was one directing me to the Daily Mail website (boo hiss, etc), and I got distracted by an article about Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s holiday in Capri. So we’ll just have to wait and see what the next twelve months bring. Happy Birthday to me!
Pssst… this is what my 32nd birthday looked like