Last month I celebrated my 26th birthday with an uneasy feeling of disappointment in myself. I’d made a massive furore of trying to complete 25 challenges before I turned 26 and I had failed. There were more challenges on the list I hadn’t even touched than I would have liked. There were some I had started and not finished but there were many I had done and enjoyed.
And then, like with most things, a bit of time and a little bit of perspective made me realise that I was being characteristically hard on myself. I climbed three mountains this year! I trained my ass off so that I could swim an open water mile. I recorded a video of myself SINGING for everyone to hear. I did a burlesque class. I got on a surfboard! I auditioned for a TV game show! I made a massive cupcake. I raised over £1000 for charity! I may not have completed all 25 challenges but I took a damn good stab at the 18 I did try or complete.
On the days I’m being fair to myself, I know that I took on too much. I asked too much of myself for any regular year, let alone one in which I started a new job, bought a new home and in the process found myself homeless and watched my wonderful grandma fade away before we eventually lost her in August.
25at25 was never about failing. It was about having a really great year. It was about creating some unforgettable memories, being brave, being reckless, making the most of the moment and embracing a little bit of adventure. It wasn’t about forfeits or being disappointed in myself.
So I refuse to let myself call this a failure. And I refuse to let not finishing everything perfectly define my 25th year.
I am proud of 25at25. And I am proud of myself. I hope you don’t feel too disappointed with me if you’ve followed me on this journey or if I failed to complete your challenge.
Here’s to seizing the moment, grabbing life with both hands and doing the absolute best you can. Here’s to future surfing adventures, open water swimming with my dad. Here’s to wearing a leotard and a pair of stilettos in a room full of strangers. Here’s to a ridiculous bass face, cringing at my accent in a YouTube video. Here’s to carrying on the challenge even after a birthday has passed. Here’s to getting in a pool anyway even though the scheduled event was cancelled. Here’s to celebrating with good friends and loved ones, even if things didn’t work out as planned.
And here’s to you for coming along on this journey with me.
Thanks for everything. It was a lot of fun.