Growing Old isn’t all Bad: 27 and Counting

I don’t know what it is about this week but I’ve realised I am turning 28 this year! I mean it’s three months away so not sure why this is dawning on me now, but it has and here I am sat and my desk wondering where the years have gone. I’m always scared of “getting old”, having not “ticked those boxes”. I’m still not sure I can adult, and I am meant to be a fully fledged grown up right? But as the years go by I seem to realise how much I’ve learnt and age, well that’s just a number right. I mean lets be honest here, I still think I am 23 at heart, even if my creaking knee and back know that I am 27 and can no longer crash on a friends sofa (I NEED A BED).

There are things I wish I could do again but with the knowledge I have now. This is such a cliché but it’s so true. I would love to do my travelling all over again with the knowledge I’ve learnt now. Though I am glad I wasn’t on Instagram, I feel like it would have taken away from it trying to get that perfect pic. And yes I hate that I am that person now!

But 27 years, I’ve learnt a lot, from not leaving your 18 month old at the top of some brick stairs (thanks parents), to how little you can pay for good food (michelin star isn’t the only good food out there)! But here you go, here are the three top things I’ve learnt in my young life. And sometimes still need to remind myself of…

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Yup that’s 18 month me in a cast… thanks parents!

To Wonder and NOT to Plan
I love a good plan, I really do, but not everything has to be planned to a tee. If you decided you don’t like where you are leave. This can be used for the hotel you are staying in, to the country you are in to the office job you hate. Don’t get me wrong you have bills to pay so don’t just quit on the spot but changing it up and trying something new that’s not “in the plan” isn’t a bad thing. It’s scary to think of starting again but you will find something new and better (hopefully). I’ve moved from London, to Edinburgh, to Dublin and loved every city and made some amazing memories. I’ve now got friends in different places and I wouldn’t change a thing. I hated each place when I first moved, it was scary and new, but within a few months I was hooked. It just takes time.
When we first started planning our travels I was convinced I knew the route we would take. After 3 weeks, a country had been dropped and two others added, and several city stops changed! It was fantastic, each day was quiet literally a new adventure. Boarders were closed, so new plan needed, heard about this elephant sanctuary, planned had to be changed, heard how cool a country was, just had to go. Plans change and how you deal with each one will grow you as a person.

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Best plan change ever!

You can always learn something new
Any normal person will realise growing up means you realise how little you really know. Remember being 16 and thinking you knew everything and how your parents couldn’t possibly get it, and you are an adult now. Well, guess what, you were so wrong, so very, very wrong. School and your teen years teaches you the basics, but it’s just that it’s the basics! I still struggle with taxes and all those adult things. But also, I am now happy to admit when I don’t know something, and that’s okay. You really aren’t expected to know it all. I don’t think you can ever know everything but take interest in others, what they are trying to teach you because you never know one day it might be help (even if it’s just in your local pub quiz).

By opening your mind and not knowing everything you find incredible places. I had never been to Estonia, and just about knew it was part of the EU (I had a 50:50 guess of getting it right). But I went there to visit a friend and I just started to learn so many things from what they had been though with USSR to foods they cooked. Even my friend who is Estonian learnt more. It’s really worth just listening to others and taking in what is around you. Never assume you know it all.

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Tallinn, Estonia – learnt so much about this place in such a short time!

Don’t compare yourself to someone else – apples and oranges
I don’t know when this happened, but everyone seems to be getting younger. All those rugby players born in the mid 90s, those Olympic gold medallists with their baby faces and all those reality TV “stars”, just wow, and not in a good way. Friends are getting married, buying houses and there is me wondering how to pay for my next flights. I am happy with what I’ve managed, it might not be the norm, and others may still be doing it better than me. But I’ve lived in four countries (or three depending who you ask haha), visited 28 countries and got done a 6 month trip abroad. If 18-year-old me could see where I am today, I think she’d be pretty damn surprised and a little proud of what I’ve achieved. So remember everything you’ve done is for you not anyone else, and don’t let others tell you you aren’t achieving the correct things.

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Edinburgh, the first time I lived further than 1hr from home!

Do you have things you need to remind yourself of? Or some top tips you’ve learnt over the years?

 

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Life is SHIT, now let’s talk about it!

Disclaimer – if you don’t like swearing, I advise you don’t read any further… if you hadn’t worked that out from the title!

Last Sunday, my mum, my sister, and myself were putting the world to right over a glass (*bottles*) of wine. We discussed everything from Black Lives Matter, Women Belong in the Boardroom, the 8th Amendment and how SHIT life can be.

No one has it easy, but the problem is we don’t talk about how SHIT it is! We discussed putting our problems out there, how we really felt, in the hope that one person who feels the same knows that they aren’t alone.

I obviously have my blog, and this is a little ME part, to write and share my shit. I hope that others will too, this doesn’t have to be online for people to see, it can just be a scrap of paper that when you’re done you shred, a diary only for you, or a letter to a friend. But write and it will make you feel a world of difference. And remember, how little you think your shit is, if it is shit to you, it’s important! To give context to this, my Nanna visited her friend with breast cancer, and complained to her about her headache she had for days, then laughed saying I guess that’s nothing really; her friend turned to her and said, my breast cancer isn’t making your headache any less shit.

So my shit, my shit is that my father-in-law has cancer. The big C, that thing that now affects 1 in 2 people! That thing that, even knowing that statistic, would never affect someone I love. How could it, everyone I know is kind, loving, caring, why would it take someone like that. But guess what, it doesn’t care who you are, what you do, or what you are like. IT IS SHIT!

What makes this harder is it’s not my dad. Sounds crazy and backwards right!? But what I mean by this, isn’t that I wish it was my dad, but that I could ball my eyes out, I could refuse to do nothing, I could wallow (yes we all know it doesn’t help but sometimes you just need to!) because it’s my dad. This isn’t my dad, and I love him like family, but technically he’s not. And what I feel is only a fraction of what his children feel, what my stupidly strong boyfriend feels. And how can I compare to that. I feel like I have no right to be mad, to be upset, to cry. If they aren’t, why should I. Us Youngs are emotional folk, the Isards so much less so. We are chalk and cheese. But I dwell, I wonder how they all are, day in day out.

To top it off, my friends and family definitely don’t tell me their shit any more. Too worried to not over load me I think is their logic. But instead, this is even more isolating. You feel out the loop of more people that you care about. Then you feel like you shouldn’t share the less shit, (work, BF is annoying, you miss your family) because that then feels even more small and less important!

So I know I am not the only one in this boat, but it’s lonely, it’s isolating, it’s shit! But to all those other people in this boat with me, I’m here, whether we talk and share or sit quietly, we are in this together. I would like to say it gets better, but right now, I can’t say that, because I honestly don’t know.

Oh and one last thing – FUCK YOU CANCER! Donate to Stand Up To Cancer NOW! 🙂

Crohn’s Disease and Me

I’ve realised this blog is “Travel, Food and Me” and I’ve not written a single one about me! So this is my life with my lovely Crohn’s Disease…

First and foremost everyone’s disease is different! I have it relatively easy, but it doesn’t stop it being any harder – especially when someone knows someone else who has it so much worse and mine is nothing compared to theirs.

For those who don’t know Crohn’s Disease is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (gross right!). It can affect any part of the gastro system from your mouth to your anus (again, ewww!). It’s an auto-immune disease – in layman’s terms my body attacks itself, all fun and games. Turns out I’ve been suffering from it since I was 16 but not diagnosed until I was in my 20s. And here I am nearly 10 years later…

A lot of people will ask “oh no is it your Crohn’s” when you feel slightly unwell. It’s hard to get annoyed as they mean it in such a caring way but trying to explain that it’s not always that, sometime like them I just get ill. It’s is exhausting. Most people think Crohn’s is a pain in my side that makes me go to the loo a lot. They really don’t know the half of it.

I have a lot of problems thanks to Crohn’s. Some days I can’t stay awake. Fatigue takes over and all I want to do is sleep. I’ll get home from work, cook dinner and sit on the sofa not doing anything and I find myself wanting to go to bed at 7.30pm! I’m 26 years old and the thought of going to bed that early makes me feel ancient. Sometimes when I am in the middle of a flare up I have to sit down in the shower because my body is just too tired. To get across to people how the pain in my side is nothing compared to the exhaustion I can feel.

My joints – wow who knew your joints could feel on fire. When it gets bad I fidget endlessly trying to find that comfortable spot, I’ve been known to be in the oddest positions with limbs everywhere as for that minute it might just stop it. Last Sunday was the first time my Crohn’s has really affected my life (note – I’ve been in hospital, missed my last semester of uni and cancelled so many events) but this was the first time I’ve been out and couldn’t do anything about it. The Boy and I went to see Bear’s Den, and I could hardly stand. I moved around so much, felt so unwell that we had to leave 30 min before then end. I felt ill and upset. My disease ruined someone else’s night and I feel so guilty about it.

My weight goes up and down like a yo-yo! But I made things worse; I put on a bit more weight than I should have so I’ve been working hard to get it off. I’ve managed it WHOOP! I’ve lost a stone since the beginning of the year. The downside – I instantly get asked if I’ve been ill, if my Crohn’s has been causing problem. I don’t get that praise normal people get. I’ve also been told it’s not because I’ve been working hard but because “I’m lucky and my disease helps me loss weight”. But that’s life, sometimes you have to be strong and tell people they are wrong. It can be hard as it makes you second guess yourself.

My diet has changed a lot over the years, not because I was unhealthy before but I have to deal with the consequences of my eating habits. I used to love pasta, I think when I was at uni I had it 5 days a week. Now, I have it once, maybe twice at a push. I used to have a lot of cereal with skimmed milk. Now I don’t even have milk in my coffee. It’s odd, lots of this was just natural progression, some of it I made a conscience decision. I can’t have a lot of dairy as it’s hard to digest so I cut milk so I could have cheese. Sounds crazy but for me it works. And that’s it, for me it works. It makes me happy – I tried to cut dairy and gluten and it made me depressed. I am a foodie and I couldn’t live with a life where I couldn’t eat things. So I go for the little of everything method.

But here I am, I work 40hrs a week, gym 4-5 times a week and have a social life. My life isn’t bad, in fact my life is pretty damn good. I just happen to have this disease but it will not define what I can do. It will never stop me living the life I want, I’m too stubborn for that.

If you’ve just been diagnosed stay strong, half the battle is mental. If you’re suffering, it will be okay, your more than just your disease. 🙂