I don't know why birthdays mean so much to me.

My birthday, other people's birthdays, I even get excited about random people that I don't know celebrating their birthday in a restaurant with a sparkler and rowdy singing.

I feel good because I am in a better place than I was on my 26th birthday, better than my 25th, and most certainly better than my 24th.

I'm in Belgium, in my own apartment, not living with my parents and am just about to start a new job at the European Parliament.

I've just been on holiday to the North & West of France, and will be going on a short trip back to my hometown of Edinburgh to see some things at the Festival later this month.

Tomorrow I turn 27, and I feel OK about it. It's weird to be getting closer to 30 (why is it such a social/cultural milestone?), and weird that somehow I don't really have my life worked out. Although maybe I am slowly growing into myself, and becoming more sure of what I am and what I am about.

It's also strange because even though I am in an objectively good position (upcoming good job, living abroad, some great people around me, all the possibilities in the world), I also feel weird. I am in-between jobs, so very poor this month (like, really poor. minus minus minus numbers). I am having doubts about what I want to do or be: increasingly thinking that I would like to quit 'regular' jobs and somehow fund myself as an artist. Been feeling really down and confused the last week or so.
I would have liked to have had a proper 'birthday party', or even had the kind of apartment where I could host people.
Maybe next year.
This year will be pizza and drinks. I might go to Lille for the day as a treat to myself.

I'm also very proud of all that I achieved this year - in particular, picking myself up from a very low point. Since last August, I managed to quit a job, which wasn't right for me, in a graceful way, with no bad blood (much harder than you might think!). I won 2 journalism awards and I moved abroad to work at the European Parliament. I didn't quit before the contract had finished (which had been somewhat of a habit of mine), and I even managed to get a promotion out of it.
I went from being burnt out, to being in therapy, to getting back on my feet.

I sometimes think that these things go in cycles - I am fine, I work hard, I burn out, I break down, I recover, I am fine...
But what I am hopeful of, is that I am getting slightly better at handling it.
I hope that maybe as I get older, I push the hard work a little less, or I know how to spot the signs of breaky-downy-ness before it happens...

This year is set to be super cool if I want it to be.

- I have been admitted onto 2 studies (online) to do with Northern / Circumpolar Studies. They are the first year of a Bachelor (60 ECTS each), but if you want to do the rest I think you need to move to Norway. I just think it's a really good way to get the basics as I am particularly interested in indigenous groups, and the way that things are changing in the North due to climate change, but also due to the proximity to oil and the geopolitical issues with Russia etc.
Northern Studies at the University of the Arctic, Tromso
Circumpolar Studies at Nord University
They both start in September.

- I will start my role as Media Analyst at the European Parliament in September.

- I will continue my MA in Communication for Development.

- I hope to leave Belgium by the end of the year.

27 I hope will be filled with -

- Sun
- Friends
- Learning
- Feeling deeply good about my work sometimes
- Putting things out into the world which feel helpful
- Finding my style again
- Art
- Dancing

Aims -

- Write a children's book
- Write more in general
- Finish my NCTJ
- Move to another country
- Get to B2 level in French & Italian (aiming for eventually C1), and maybe B1 Spanish?
- Start learning Arabic
- Paint
- Work remotely
- Get closer to finishing my masters
- Start doing workshops / working within art therapy & participatory art/media projects
- Make another film

I am thinking of starting to do a birthday project a bit like Kasia Skowron's - where she takes a photo each year.

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