30 Minutes to 30

30. Once a scary number, now a reality. I remember thinking as a child "30! They're so old! I'll never be 30." I also couldn't comprehend the concept of sunbaking either as a kid 'WHY! SO BORING!" And here we are.

Everyone keeps asking me about being excited, what am I going to do, 30 means business! Obviously a pivotal age, when I'm supposed to have it all figured out. Well... my 20s were an absolute rollercoaster filled with pain, heartbreak, tears, laughter, happiness, love, sadness, friendship, loss and gain. I have learned so much through these formative years that I could never have learned any other way. The experiences I allowed myself to have in my 20s have shaped me in to who I am today, and I am so thankful.

To be completely honest here, I've battled with extreme anxiety, depression, complete physical discomfort as a result of my scoliosis. Often avoided both the mental and physical situations until I sat myself down and learned to cope with my own emotions, learned to manage and process them to avoid complete shutdown. I've worked so hard to love myself despite these imperfections, both physically and mentally and although it has taken time, I'm so proud of how far I have come. As a teenager I HATED myself - the ugly duckling in a back brace for scoliosis and braces on my teeth, grasping at bits and pieces of others' personalities, trying to figure out how to be what people wanted me to be.

Then I moved to Australia and everything changed. I felt like I could breathe. It was a clean slate;
I could let myself be who I really was and whoever that was, I was just about to start getting to know her as well.

30 Things before 30 (my pre-30 bucket list)

1) Obtain Aussie citizenship (this was my number one, always. People asked me what I wanted to be when I graduated uni - I would reply "Australian")
2) Run a half marathon (tick, spine was ruined but I wanted to prove I could do it!)
3) Skydive (tick, Cairns 2011)
4) Foster pets (done, all throughout uni in DC)
5) Have my own pets (tick, ANDY!)
6) Figure out meditation and mindfulness (tick, 2013 to present!)
7) Publish an article (not yet! however, my bum was featured across all the major news networks, see photo here!)
8) Realise my passions and make them a part of my life (blogging, photography, social and working with brands! TICK)
9) Do a Euro summer (tick, 2013)
10) Go to Africa (unfortunately haven't made it there yet but it is high on the list with Iceland, Morroco, Spain, Portugal)
11.) Lead a healthy and moderate lifestyle (tick! though it has gone up and down over the years a little)
12) Do volunteer work with abandoned animals (not yet, often the places stop accepting apps because they have so many wanting to help! but I did at uni. AND andy is a rescue)
13) Learn to crochet (not yet)
14) Start my own business
15) Have plants in the house and don't let them die! (TICK! Finally)
16) Travel though central America (TICK! best 3 months of my life, 2015-2016)
17) Buy my very own car (TICK! Helen the 2001 Astra)
18) Get a tattoo representing my love of Manly in a non-lame way (TICK)
19) Dye my hair lavender (TICK! see most recent photos with lilac ends!)
20) Become fluent in Spanish (hmmm work-in-progress)
21) Work in fashion photography (not yet...)
22) Buy a house (haha)
23) Go to a camping festival (TICK! Lost para last year)
25) Get married (LOL. Bear in mind this a comprehensive list built throughout my 20s)
26) Go to a psychic (NOO! But I should I've always made plans to and never gone)
27) Spend an exuberant amount of money on an article of clothing I REALLY WANTED (tick, tick, tick and tick... oops)
28) Have a healthy relationship with my body (Tick! But on-going of course.)
29) Drive a scooter (TICK! Bali)
30) Get my spine fixed (Surgery locked in for August 14, 2017 - not long now!)

I'm sure there are a plethora of things that I still want to achieve and I've been fully transparent here in the things that I haven't yet been able to tick off, for whatever reason. But I have a great, flying start - just have to keep pushing and keep the momentum. I've faced fears and stormed bravely and confidently through, often citing my mentor "fake it till you make it". I always try and see the positives, lessons learned, how I can change for the better and how I can obtain the results and the things that I want in life.

Make a list and set your mind to it. Once you have put a pen to paper, it almost becomes real. When it becomes real, you are much more inclined to work towards it. Take the necessary steps to make your life what it is. I get down sometimes like everyone else, and I have definitely felt like the victim sometimes, alone, sad, despondent, hopeless. But there is hope. I've done SO much already with my life and I can't wait to do more. MAKE YOUR OWN PATH and don't let anyone tell you that what you are doing with your life is wrong. And make sure to slow down and enjoy the journey as well ;)