Things I want to do before I am 40!

Although I have 6 years to complete it, I wanted to write down all the things I would like to do before I am 40 (although some things may get moved onto the ‘Things I want to do before I am 50 list!!).

I started thinking about things I wanted to do when I knew that I would have a few child free weeks over the summer and I knew that I would find that hard. So, instead of filling the days with housework or looking out the window like a dog waiting for their owner to come home I decided to think of some things I would like to do that I would not necessarily do, or cannot do with little ones around.

I was quite impressed with what I came up with…lets see if I do them all! (I will let you know at the end of the summer!)

Then when me and my friend were putting the world to rights, we talked about things we have always wanted to do but have put off mainly due to money. However, life is for living and unless I win the lottery there will no doubt always be reasons to not do things because of money.

I have always been incredibly careful with money and find it hard to spend and the idea of using a credit card or being in debt does not sit well with me (however, I do not judge anyone who does…I wish I could be a little bit more laid back about it). My friend spoke about what she would like to do for her 40th and so it has got me thinking too.

So far these are the things I would like to do before I am 40….

  1. Qualify as a counsellor
  2. Gain a job as a counsellor
  3. Become an accredited counsellor
  4. Have an article published
  5. Be invited to conferences to be a guest speaker (says the woman who does not like speaking in front of a small group or having the focus on her!)
  6. Have at least 500 followers on my blog
  7. Go back to Malta with my Mum and girls
  8. Get over my fear of flying
  9. Fly to Italy
  10. See monkeys in the wild
  11. See elephants in the wild
  12. Be in a position to buy a house
  13. Feel more confident in my own skin
  14. Write a book
  15. Go to Wimbledon to watch the tennis
  16. Meet Gillian Anderson (I somehow do not imagine that will happen, but one can dream!)
  17. Take more risks
  18. Swim under a waterfall
  19. Go on a zip wire (someone would have to push me!)
  20. Attend an event that gives me an excuse to wear a fancy dress
  21. Own an original piece of art (having said that my house has plenty of paintings by my very talented Mum and my late Grandad, I wish I could paint like them)
  22. Watch a sunset somewhere exotic
  23. Go to a posh restaurant
  24. Swim with wild dolphins in New Zealand

I am sure I will think of other things I would like to do but looking at it, it is quite a list to achieve in 6 years! I do not even know where to start but I suppose on reflection in a way I have started by thinking about what I would like to do and writing it down.

So, for now I will sit and ponder on these 24 things and where I would like to start…maybe I will try to pick one thing that seems possible to achieve this year and take it from there.

Achievements

It has been a very challenging 10 months, what with living through a global pandemic, court cases, getting divorced and the first year of my counselling course amongst other things!! 

I questioned whether to even apply for the counselling course with everything going on, and doubted my ability to get offered a place, let alone anything else. However, after a very intense and demanding interview, I got offered a place. I knew in my heart that my passion lies working with children and young people, and I found out about a local charity that offers counselling and different forms of therapy to young people and their families. I decided to get in touch to see if they offered placements (not expecting anything to come of it) and I got offered an interview. 

I had no idea what to expect, so I couldn’t really prepare for it and I remember feeling a little daunted as I was interviewed by 3 people including the founder and director. However, I loved the fact that her dog was also part of the interview panel, and although I was grilled we also had a giggle, and they made me feel very comfortable. I had no idea what they were looking for or how it went, but then the director told me that they have a secret code to say if they like someone and that they had used it, meaning that they’d like to offer me a place. I remember feeling myself grinning from ear to ear, and I was so happy. Not only had I secured a placement early on but also my dream placement! 

The course itself has been challenging as we spent the first 8 months online, therefore we’d not met anyone on our course, and we didn’t get that interaction that you’d normally get in the classroom or when meeting for a drink as we were in lockdown. We also had to work in triad groups practising our counselling skills online with strangers, bringing real material, and it was scary. I was very lucky that everyone I worked with was very supportive, and I have no doubt that they’ll all go on to be amazing counsellors. Despite the challenges I became comfortable having sessions online and could keep quiet in the background but this all changed when we had to go back into college and I admit I wasn’t looking forward to it. 

However, in the 2 months that we spent in class together, I think has seen the biggest change in me. I’ve certainly come out of my shell more and when I had my end of year tutorial with my tutor she commented on how much she had watched me grow personally and within the group and what a pleasure it had been to watch. It was lovely to hear such comments, on top of which, I also got told that I had passed all my assignments, case study and skills sessions meaning that I can go onto my final year in September and that I can officially start my placement! 

I am very proud of myself and everyone else on the course. We’ve had so much to learn and do in such a short space of time, and without the support of each other, I think we would have found it even harder. It’s hard to believe that in a years time I will have (hopefully) completed the course and be a fully qualified counsellor! 

It’s a shame that when we all went out after our last day in college that we couldn’t really celebrate as we didn’t have our results, but that just means that we’ll have to arrange another night out during the summer!!!

I don’t think we acknowledge our achievements enough, particularly as adults, yet I believe it’s important. We should feel proud and enjoy celebrating our achievements, however big or small. I feel that quite often achievements are taken for granted or just expected, but every achievement requires hard work, effort, strength, courage, resilience…to name a few. 

Sometimes just getting through the day can feel like an achievement and so that should be celebrated too, even if you just acknowledge your achievements and say well done to yourself, it’s worth doing as those positive affirmations are a vital part of our mental health. 

It can be useful to remind ourselves of what we’ve achieved by writing it down, as it’s all too easy to get swept away with life. Before I sat and wrote down everything I’d achieved since September, I didn’t realise, yet seeing it in front of me gave me a sense of pride and belief that I am stronger that I think.

I’ve not had chance to celebrate passing my first year yet, but I intend to! 

I’m very nervous at the idea of starting my placement, yet I’m also incredibly excited to be closer to achieving my dream of being a counsellor.