As 2019 rolled on in, so did the start of the 10 year challenge, a challenge in which we would post photos of ourselves from 2009 and then from 2019 to see how much we’d changed or how much of a “glow up” we’d been through. Now, as someone who is deeply unhappy with her life choices, has lots of regrets and also has self esteem which resembles dog shit smeared on the bottom of your shoe, it’s safe to say, I didn’t enjoy that challenge.
I avoided it for as long as I could but curiosity got the better of me so I started digging through my old Facebook photos from 2009. There I was, 16 year old me, looking back at me. Deliriously happy. Not a care in the world. Whole life ahead of her without the worry of mental illness, anxiety and endless regret. That girl didn’t have a freaking clue. And she was all the better for it.
But it’s not just that. I have a huge issue with self esteem in the way I look. I always have, probably always will and honestly it doesn’t matter what you say to me, this low self esteem basically block out any compliment I receive.
So looking at 17 year old me, when I was fitter, healthier (apart from the amount I drank but that’s another story), skinnier (just personally here, I’m not at a weight I’m happy with right now) with platinum blonde hair and tanned skinned which made me feel the most like me I’ve ever felt, well, it wasn’t something I enjoyed doing.
It just reminded me of how happy I was, how confident in myself I was and how much my life had so spectacularly been flipped on it’s head to the point where sometimes, I genuinely feel like I’m not living the life that was destined for me and someone else out there has mine instead. Jesus, that got deep.
Anyway! I was thinking about this 10 year challenge and how it’s focused mostly on appearances but then I asked myself why does it need to be? A lot happens in 10 years. Yes, we all look different. We might be bigger or smaller. Our hair colour may have changed. We might have new tattoos and piercings or wear glasses where we didn’t before.
But 10 years is a long old time for a lot to happen in. Both good and bad of course. So I wanted to try and attempt to turn the 10 year challenge around from something which brought up some pretty negative emotions, to something which made me feel proud and accomplished as much as possible and feeling positive.
So here are some things that I’ve achieved in 10 years, the big, small, insignificant but ultimately, things that have made up my life for the past 10 years of it:
- I passed my GCSE’s with 5 A’s, which was better than I ever hoped
- I went Skiing in the French Alps
- I also visited France a further 3 times; twice to Disneyland and once to Paris for an Art trip
- I also visited Bulgaria, The Norfolk Broads, The Lake District, Shropshire, Great Yarmouth, Snowdonia National Park, Suffolk and Lincolnshire.
- I made it through Sixth Form and had the time of my life doing it. I drank far too much, made too many mistakes, didn’t focus enough on my studies but I had the best years of my life
- I got a dog, who’s the love of my life
- I had two serious and long term relationships: My current one and my previous one. Luckily, I’m still very good friends with my ex and my boyfriend and I often hang out with him and his now girlfriend!
- I battled through the hardest and most desperate years of my life when I was suddenly hit with extreme anxiety and diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. This was the turning point in the last 10 years of my life and the thing that separates the ‘before’ and ‘after’. My mental illness has been so complex and I never thought I’d go through what I have and I never thought something could change my life that much. But it has. And it did.
- I had private therapy which was life changing and I’ll forever be grateful to dearest Pam for helping me understand my mental illness in a kind, compassionate and caring way.
- I met my boyfriend. And have been lucky enough to be welcomed into his family, spending time with them, bonding with them and attending his cousins wedding last year.
- I found a few new loves of my life: Yoga and Motorsport
- I attended my first Motorsport event, the DTM race weekend at Brands Hatch. But I also saw the Formula 1 testing in 2016 and the 40 Years of Williams event in 2017.
- I went to my first (and probably only) Yoga retreat. I learnt a lot from that.
- I started my blog. Which started as a small book blog at a time when I so desperately needed something to keep me going. My blog will always be the thing that ultimately saved my life.
- I started my own small online book touring business. I closed it last August but it was a valuable learning experience.
- I released an eBook, my Beginners Guide to Blogging, in October 2018.
- And I managed to turn my blog into a business and earn significant money from it. Which I think will always be my proudest achievement.
- I’ve had incredible opportunities from my blog, including a stay at the Brooklands Hotel in Surrey, a trip to Paradise Wildlife Park and have had plenty of fantastic products sent to me, which I’d never thought was possible for me.