Well, it’s finally here. The big three-oh has arrived and I’m saying goodbye to my 20s. Tomorrow, I am entering a new decade. This transition is both full of anticipation for what is to come as well as a quiet reflection on the years that have passed.
In some ways I’m excited for the new and improved Suzy 3.0 to be launched. Who will I become next? Will I learn a new skill? How about grow in my career? Will I finally remember to floss daily?
I struggle to pinpoint the right word to describe this final year of my 20s. In a rather unimaginative conclusion, I’ve settled for ‘interesting’.
So without rambling on for too long, here is how I would sum up me at 29.
This is deservedly at the top of the list, as I gained the title of Auntie this year.
After months of eagerly awaiting what meeting this mysterious little person would be like, I was not disappointed. I cried. I cooed. My neice is every bit the wonderful bundle of delights I’d hoped for. I was awash with instant love – I can only imagine how her parents must feel!
There is something quite incredible about gaining a new relative. I was suddenly aware that the whole world needed to do better for her. And I literally mean specifically for her. She deserves the very best of us.
What would be the long-neglected travel blog without mentioning a bit of travel?
Kaz and I have enjoyed a fair few trips this year, but only one of these is a country we’ve not visited before (ok, technically 2, but one was accidental. We’ll get to that…).
We started off with a wintry weekend in Amsterdam last November. A delightful couple of days spend mooching and munching our way around such a delightful city.
A southern hemisphere summer
Then, in February we visited Kaz’s homeland of New Zealand with a brief stop in Sydney, Australia on the way. After 3 long years away, we finally returned to the place where it all began. My love for Aotearoa and Kaz blossomed all at once way back in 2016, and I can safely say this trip only served to reignite and remind of all the reasons I adore both so much. New Zealand grounds me, and it is always a joy to be guided by Kaz to explore his home country together.
Now, on the return journey from New Zealand, we ended up visiting the first of the two new countries this year – Singapore. This happens to be the accidental visit, as a stopover in Singapore on our way home was not intended. However, a very long story involving a missed connecting flight, some misplaced luggage and a lot of worrying meant I had 3 days in Singapore. And we did almost nothing with that time besides stay in our hotel room and take a very long walk around Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay (which resulted in an almighty downpour!). So I don’t really count this one, unfortunately!
A European summer
Just a few months later we visited Zurich, Switzerland with some friends for a weekend of chocolate, cheese and hiking! This came at just the right time as a rush of mountain air can really work wonders to reset your mind from the pressures of everyday life.
A few weeks later and and we were in France for a dear friend’s wedding. The most delightful weekend of good food, good company and a whole lot of love left us will full tummies and full hearts.
From France, we decided to tack on a trip over to Porto and Lisbon in Portugal to make the most of the summer sunshine. Plenty of port tasting, pastel de natas (or pasteis de Belem, if you’re after the originals!) and hilly streets were enjoyed for a week in our official new country of the year.
It’s funny to look back on this year’s travels. It’s certainly more than we’ve crammed in for a long time, and we’ve embraced a ‘go with the flow’ approach which very much goes against my usual need for planning and organisation. I quite like this new Suzy already.
It’s little surprise that hitting this age and the latter end of our 20s means that every other month is a reason to celebrate with loved ones. New homes, engagements, weddings, promotions, graduations… How lucky am I to have such talented and successful friends around me?
Since we’ve been more settled in London, which I touched on in last year’s reflections, I’ve been so lucky to spend significantly more time with some of my very best friends. To see them reach milestones and achievements that they’ve worked so hard for and so deserve makes my heart sing, and I feel so fortunate to spend this time with them.
With life events abound, I do still struggle with comparison. Am I making the right choices? Would I be more successful or comfortable if I’d chosen a different path? I have always had these worries, and perhaps always will, so it’s an ongoing battle to shush these thoughts to quieten down and not spoil the fun.
During our aforementioned trip to New Zealand, there was a particularly special day that Kaz and I shared.
I find it incredibly difficult to share nice things about myself, without feeling self-conscious and anxious, so I’m gulping down my instincts here, but we got engaged!
I’m a pretty private person (the irony of sharing my life’s biggest moments in a blog is not lost), so I won’t go into details of how it all went down. But just know it was perfectly us.
While choosing to get married is hardly a novel life choice, nor is it especially interesting to anyone else, it matters to me and I’m excited about telling this handsome, tall Kiwi how much I love him in front of a couple of complete strangers and a room full of loved ones.
Just half joking on that last bit. But in all honesty, this man is incredibly special, and anyone who has the pleasure of knowing him is very lucky. I am even more lucky he chose to spend his life with me. Now, I’ll save the rest for the wedding speech I suppose!
Amongst the fears and niggling anxieties about a wedding that are pinballing around my brain (What if no one turns up? What if everyone is just pretending to have fun? How can I make sure people aren’t just looking at us while also not not looking at us?), there is so much to look forward to and this slice of life news has brought us a bubble of love to soak in.
Although there have been plenty of joyous things this year, and indeed my 20s, somewhere along the way I started to feel very unsure of myself. My self-confidence has taken a real hit, and I’m not sure if it’s because something caused this or if it’s always been that way and I’ve only now realised.
You might recall in Me at 28 that I had been attending counselling sessions. Those ended a few months after my birthday to round off a full year. So perhaps it’s being out in the big bad world without the crutch of a weekly brain dump that’s knocked me?
Either way, working on myself and taking ownership of who I am, who I have been and who I intend to be is a continuous journey. I wholeheartedly hope the rumours are true and your 30s are the best years to discover yourself, and stop caring so much about what others think of you. That would be really, really nice.
Wrapping up my 20s
To be perfectly honest, I don’t think there’s much else to add. I wish there were because it sounds like I haven’t done an awful lot with the year. But, some pretty big Life Things have certainly occupied a lot of time. And time is such a funny thing.
I’m sure I’ll be spending far too long looking back at my 20s in the coming days and weeks. I hope mostly with fondness but Suzy across the years has certainly tackled a lot so perhaps with a bit of relief too.
Anyway, that’s me at 29! Off to eat as much cake as I can manage. ‘Til next year 🙂