This week I’ve felt like I’ve spent seven days on a high-speed thrill ride, being flipped upside down, side to side and plunged screaming over cliff faces. I’ve cried, laughed, felt like I’m drowning in the worst hangover of my 27th year on Earth and wanted to jump for joy – almost all at the same time.
I’ve drunk, what feels like, my own body weight in white wine, thrown up, eaten too many things that my stoma hates, and spent far too much money – and there’s still 10 sleeps until Christmas, I’m screwed.
In the past seven days something remarkable happened. One of my best friends in the entire world, one of the most generous, loving and amazing people I’ve ever met, came home after her dream trip to Thailand. For as long as I’ve known Rhian she’s talked about going to see the elephants, I always knew she would do it, but I guess I always thought she would be in the process of planning it (a bit like my dream of living in Italy) and not actually just jet off and do it.
I’ve only known Rhian for almost four years, but she has been both a rock and a positive force for what feels like my entire adult life. She can see the best in everything, always manages to make me smile, is able to get rid of my grump and never fails to tell me when I’m simply being stupid or stubborn (which I love). I’ve got a really amazing circle of friends, people who have helped me through pain, loss, operations and without whom I would not be the person I am today. But my best friends, Laura and Ri and Kirsty, have been my rocks through thick and thin, even when I’ve been the worse version of myself.
Ri left behind everything in order to live her dream. She threw herself into the unknown, moved abroad to work seven days a week around the clock to earn enough money for her trip. She knew no one, didn’t really speak the language, and just went for it. I admire that. I guess I’m a bit in awe of people who abandon security and take that chance. What she told me the other night, how many amazing experiences she’d had, the fantastic things she had seen, made me realise it was worth the risk – I guess it gets you thinking, what would I do if I was that brave? Imagine the things I could achieve!
Anyway Ri’s return was a total shock. She and my friend Anna managed to spring her arrival on me in the most lovely surprise ever. During a very hectic deadline day I got a very coded message from Anna inviting me for drinks – I didn’t really feel like it but felt intrigued and, I guess, also worried something was wrong to be going for drinks so out of the blue. After walking in the freezing cold for 30 minutes I arrived at Bar Lounge frozen and confused to find Ri sitting in a booth.
It was all very emotional and I don’t think there was even a split second’s silence from our table all night – I’m sure the women sat next to us would agree with that!
The stories of her trip were frankly unbelievable, and once the shock of hearing about her adventures wore off I was left looking at my life in a different way. When I was a child I had this weird notion that by the time you were 30 life was pretty much over. I thought that by 24 I would be married, have two children, a house in an affluent suburb, a dog, and be an executive editor with a very snazzy glass facing office. Obviously seven year old me would think her 27 year old self was a loser – I’ve not even got a fish let alone a dog!
There are so many things I want to achieve, both in work and personally that I haven’t even got round to even daydreaming about (don’t really remember the last time I did that) in a long time. After my operation I was determined to embrace life, but I’m really just the same as I was before. I need to give myself a kick up the bum (if that’s even a saying I can use anymore with a stitched-up bum), take a few risks and live life a little more. I’m the only thing getting in the way of myself, and I need to take a leaf out of Ri’s book at go live a few dreams.
Me and Andy head to Bruges tomorrow, but after that I’m determined to crack on, not only with my challenges but my life path (cheesy I know). Who knows, perhaps this time next year I will have written that novel after all!