Well it’s been another decade. Until the last few hours I’ve felt very blasé about this. I don’t remember the switch from the 2000’s to the 2010’s seeming like such a big deal, but then I had just started university and nothing was real straight after that new found freedom. Plus I was most likely very drunk. Going all the way back to the millennium, I was strutting my stuff on stage as part of an ABBA tribute in the school play. Who doesn’t love a bit of Dancing Queen?

While struggling to concentrate at work today, it dawned on me how much in my life has changed over the past 10 years. The fact I’m old enough to fully remember that amount of time is scary enough.

10 years ago I was getting ready to start my new life as a student in Sheffield. Who would have guessed on that first drive over Snakes Pass I’d be still be here a decade later. In my very own house. I’m not quite sure where I thought I would be, but I can’t complain at this situation at all.

If you could have told shy little 19 year old me she would have (briefly) lived in two different countries and her confidence would have grown to the point she (pretty much) doesn’t care what other people think any more, I don’t think she would have believed you for a second. The Catholic guilt in me doesn’t like to brag, but I am damn proud of myself.

I’ve made some great friends along the way and am lucky enough to be leaving this era with some of the best friends a girl could ask for. I’m incredibly grateful for all these tremendous women and all the adventures I’m sure the next decade (and all the ones to follow) will hold. Not all friendships are meant to last, but that’s okay, it doesn’t make them any less important in that time of your life.

It’s funny how certain snippets of conversation stay with you. 10 years ago on a camping trip with friends, we were placing the usual late teenage bets on who would get married first (small town mentality, pre-feminism, who knew there were other options?). One of the girls had the audacity to say she thought in 5 years I would be a lesbian. How dare she. If I wasn’t so quietly pig headed and always determined to prove people wrong, I might have allowed myself to accept myself a lot sooner and not waited until my late 20s to have a coming out party – more accurately coming out bar crawl.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some absolutely awful times in the middle there, to the point I didn’t think anything would ever be okay again. As cheesy as it sounds things really do get better with time, healthy coping mechanisms and good friends.

I think the most important thing about reflecting on the past is seeing how far we have come and grown. These changes don’t happen over night and if kept completely unchecked can become extremely detrimental changes that alter your path for the worst. But, seeing how far you have come from (for example) a shy girl who couldn’t accept she was gay to a mostly confident woman who now feels in a very good place in her life, I don’t think there’s anything wrong in giving yourself a pat on the back to spur yourself into the changes and challenges ahead.

So here’s to the next 10 and the start of my 30s!

Stay tuned!

Much love!

Hannah

xxx

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