21: My Year in Review

I started writing a post called ’22 Things I’ve Learned in 22 Years’ to publish in time for my birthday next Monday (the 30th May, send me all ur presents, etc.) but even I was getting bored of it before I got to 22. I made it to my 18th point before I deleted it all, because seriously? Who is going to be reading 22 of my rambles? They weren’t even *that* insightful. So I’ve got a better post for you. 10 Cool Things I Did When I Was 21 – my year in review, if you like.

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1. My Job with Totepool
Okay, funny place to start but I’m trying to be chronological here. I worked Royal Ascot mid-June and then Glorious Goodwood in July. It was a stressful job, sure, and you’d always finish a festival not quite sure your toes were still attached to your feet, but it was really fun and I’ve got some pretty cool stories from working there. Talking to the entertainment editor of the Telegraph in the 100-acre garden of the CEO of Ascot Racecourse’s lodge at his pre-races lunch? Being tipped £60 by a Swedish prince, and another £20 from an American businessman after choosing him the winning horse in a 28-horse race? Being six feet away from the Queen’s carraige and receiving a royal wave in my first day on the job? It was, all in all, a really cool experience.

2. Finishing my degree
With a 2:1 no less! I was so, so pleased. All the boozing and celebrating is a bit of a blur now but it was so much fun. Highlights include a roadtrip to Henley blasting The Weeknd, having a wine mom night with cheese, crackers and pizza and a house party full of party people, a huge sound system and other disco treats.

3. Graduating
My graduation was a great day. It was the perfect end to my uni experience – the last event my family attended as a 4-piece, the sun was shining, I wasn’t bloated so felt fab in my dress and I got to spend the day with my Philosophy department, who really made uni what it was for me.

4. Got a new job!
Not the graduate job I was expecting to walk into straight out of uni, but after two months of unemployment at home I decided to just cut my losses and take what I could find. On September 7th I began working as a barista in my local coffee shop that ISN’T a Costa or a Starbucks (hint, hint). It was p daunting after being a checkout girl for 4 years, but I’ve met some great people through work and it’s been quite rewarding getting stuck into something a bit different.

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5. Went to New York
Yes, my 21st birthday present! Anna and I went to the Big Apple for 5 days, from the 17th-22nd September 2015. It was the best trip I’ve EVER been on and we did so many unforgettable things. We stayed on Times Square and it really is like being on another planet. It’s my favourite city in the world.

6. Attended Hachette’s ‘Insight Into Publishing’ Day
On the 4th November, 2015 I was invited to spend the day at Hachette’s publishing house on the Embankment in London, where I found out about every aspect of the publishing industry, received a lovely tote bag full of books and info and attended a wine reception on their rooftop bar (I KNOW, how swish). From the 6am train I had to catch this end to the meal deal I ate on my connection home from Birmingham, it was a real adventure and I’m still honoured to have been given the opportunity.

7. Planned my Dad’s funeral
Glossing over the horrible time of it we had in his final 6 months, the 5th January 2016 – Dad’s cremation, thanksgiving of life service and wake – was actually a really lovely day for me. We packed out the church my Mum and Dad got married in with friends, family and colleagues, all together to celebrate the life of the best man ever. We listened to his favourite music and shared all our memories of him and it was a day full of love and support. (Plus, heading out to his old watering hole and getting smashed as a family afterwards was a nice way to end proceedings!)

8. Travelled to Berlin
I visited my oldest friend Victoria in January who is teaching in Berlin for her year abroad with uni. Such a spontaneous little visit but I had the best time and absolutely wish I’d gone over sooner! Berlin is such a great place. I fell in love with its character.

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9. Saw The Book Of Mormon in the West End
The Book of Mormon is a musical I’d been desperate to attend since its release, but always kind of wrote off because getting a seat in one of the shows requires selling your firstborn child and not eating for a month. Seriously, we met a bloke in New York in the queue for our Broadway tickets who told us he’d snagged two tickets for the Broadway production for $500. There’s nothing bargainous about that! So I was over the moon when my Mum decided to treat me and her to a day out in London and she agreed to see the musical with me after we found some cheap-ish seats (if you can call £78 each cheap-ish). It’s HILARIOUS and definitely the funniest show I’ve ever seen. Go if you can!

10. To Tenerife!
A spontaneous holiday abroad, you say? Booked 5 days before you leave? Such a fab decision. We were only there for a few days and had a super relaxed, topping-up-the-tans-and-burns getaway – as well as visiting the world-famous waterpark Siam Park.

So, even though I’d chalk this year up as being the lowest of the lows in terms of my mental health and overall wellbeing, I can’t deny that I’ve done some really brilliant things and had a lot of great opportunities. It’s been a year of growing up, entering the ‘real world’ (so to speak) and just generally coping, which I’m proud of myself for doing and continuing to do.

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Until next time,

Emma x

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