Friday, June 9, 2017

LIFE | Turning Eighteen


My birthday falls on the third day of June. Without even realising it, a week has already passed of me being eighteen. 

I always write a post regarding every birthday of mine (I'd written one for my 16th and 17th birthdays each). It still feels so silly yet heartwarming to look back on those two posts I did back then. Everything from how I presented my pictures to how I wrote; it's crazy how much can change within a person in the length of a year. And it feels daunting to be reading those posts and thinking, Man, I had no idea what was coming. In my seventeenth year that had ended, by God's grace, I've encountered some good achievements. Like graduating high school, and getting accepted into uni. Some achievements are more subtle, like learning self-acceptance.

But anyway, this year's birthday turned out to be quite... different. I didn't get to celebrate my birthday in any way. No dinner, no party. I didn't get to spend it with "loved ones", not even my family, I didn't get to spend it at home. All in all, it wasn't necessarily the best birthday I could ask for. But I guess I can still take what I can get. 

When the day arrived, I was still on my trip in Bali with a bunch of my friends, as part of our "farewell" week, I guess you can call it. It was a pretty cool trip and I'll be writing about it on my next few posts (stay tuned!), but if I'm being completely honest, I didn't fully enjoy the fact that my birthday was right in the middle of it. And no, I'm not whining because of the "loss of attention". But for someone who's leaving to study abroad next year, the ultimate thing I wanted for my birthday this year was to be in the comfort of my own hometown, and the family with whom I will soon part ways. But as it turned out, last week, I had neither of that.

There weren't any surprises waiting at the stroke of midnight. In fact, that midnight, most of the friends I was with were tipsy and red-faced drunk in a hotel room (ha-ha). As the sober introvert in the room, having my drunk friends slurring words of "happy birthday" to me at 1 AM wasn't exactly ideal. But I don't blame them, of course, and we still had fun. I won't talk about most of the things I'd seen that night, but long story short, I went to bed around 2:30 AM, and managed to wake up early in the morning. Being earlier than everyone else, I went down and swam in the hotel pool. Alone. And I didn't mind it. In fact, it was exactly what I needed. Enjoying several extra minutes all to myself helped me erase any disappointment and unwanted negativity away from my head. So for a start of the day (my birthday) which I spent far from home, and away from my family, a chance to breathe certainly helped calm me down.

Nobody knew how I felt about all this, but the rest of my birthday was pretty uneventful. My mom (who happened to be in Bali as well) stopped by my hotel, and I needed to hug her more than anything. My friends surprised me for a bit with some decorations and a hilariously ugly hotel cake before we checked out, and it was a mood booster of sorts, and the day went on as it should've. There wasn't a special dedicated Instagram post, and I didn't get that many birthday wishes compared to the years before. Regardless, I was still partly thankful that I made it this far.


Eighteen is an important age. At this age, I'll spend the first half of it living at home, still sitting quietly in my comfort zone, only bouncing between my internship and my side hustle as a photographer, and the next half I'll spend living in a city thousands of miles away far in Australia, starting off as a university student. I couldn't say much about my "goals" in this new age, because I'm still unsure of them, but I could try mentioning a few things I've learned of to this point.
  • I have learned to let go of toxic friendships and relationships. A bold and scary move, but I know that I'll thank myself one day. Don't force yourself to be inside something that no longer nurtures you, and something that no longer makes you feel comfortable in your own being. We live in a big world and letting go will only give yourself room to receive more of what the future can offer.
  • I have learned that no matter how hard we try, we never have 100% full control over our lives. And we need to make peace with the things that are out of our hands. There's an indescribable power in the sentence: "I can't control this, and this is out of my hands. And that is okay. I accept it, and I will learn to live and try my best, despite the outcome. My life is in good hands, and I still have faith in my own future."
  • I have learned to drive my car. Even though I crashed it at one point, which led to an emotional breakdown one afternoon. But still, I drive now. With a license. And I can only get better from here on out.
  • I have learned to acknowledge my struggles. Healing only begins once you admit to yourself that you are hurting. Struggling with anxiety and other disorders has become increasingly hard for me, especially this year. But I try my best to remain positive, regardless of the many times I fail to. I continue to take small steps on the road to recovery, and it's a complex process, but I know it'll be worth it.
  • I have learned to take better pictures and write better stories. I'm not bragging, but I needed to pat myself on the back for improving in something, even for a little bit.
  • I have learned that while many things in my life may crumble and fall apart, the one thing that I must always try to maintain is a strong and good character. In a life where you may lose friends, or certain aspects of your life, the one thing you should never lose is yourself. At the end of the day, your trust should not be in the branches you're standing on, but in your own wings that will help you soar.
I hope you liked reading this, somehow. And I may have a different tone now compared to my 16th and 17th birthday posts, but that's because I have changed dramatically. Not as much outside, but very much inside. And I am not sorry.

Thanks for sticking by.





39 comments :

  1. Very insightful! The good news is you will continue to grow with each passing birthday.
    Tasha Juli
    stylesplendorbliss.com

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  2. Happy birthday! Thank you for sharing these wonderful lessons. xx

    Nicole | www.nicochulin.com

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  3. Ooh Happy Belated Birthday! You seem to have grown up so much and Good Luck for your next chapter, studying in Australia sounds like a dream to me and I'm so excited to hear about your trip to Bali!! I hope you still enjoyed your birthday despite being away from home!

    JosieVictoriaa // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

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    1. Thank you so much! You're very kind <3

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  4. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!

    I think it's incredibly special to be able to look back and see the changes as you complete another cycle of your life.

    Within my 18th year I've also learnt to drive- and got my license to prove it. I'm not the most confident driver, yet, but it's a step in the right direction.

    You have so much to be proud of! You've obviously grown leaps and bounds in one year!

    Steph
    www.socialspying.com

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    1. Thank you Steph! It is special, and yeah I'm not "fluent" in my driving yet either haha. Progress is what matters, right? Thanks for your comment xx

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  5. Happy Birthday! :)

    www.gloryofthesnow.com

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  6. Ohhhh I am so glad I stumbled on your blog today, oh my goodness, this is just what I needed today. I'm turning 19 tomorrow and it'll be my first birthday halfway around the world (I'm ending a year in India) and without all my family etc. I have no special plans or anything either, so it was good to read this and know I'm not the only one feeling this way. I also started writing birthday blogposts when I was 16, and I love looking back and reading those too. It's amazing how much a year can change you. I hope you have an amazing time in Australia for Uni & Happy Belated Birthday!

    Love,
    Anne // www.aportraitofyouth.co.uk

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    1. Anne, it seems like there's a lot in common! Haha thank you for stopping by, and I hope you had a spectacular birthday as well. <3

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  7. Happy birthday and congratz on turning 18, hope it will be your best year ever!
    www. mihabalan.com

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  8. Happy Belated Birthday, dear Joanne! I hope your life will be filled with happy moments and much happier future birthday celebrations than this one! :) I love nothing more than looking back at my previous birthdays and see how much I've grown since then as a person too. Best of luck with everything that will come your way! xo
    PS. I followed you on Bloglovin :)

    Sabina | I've Got Sunshine

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    1. Thank you, that means a lot! I agree, reflecting on how much you've changed can be really eye-opening. And I followed you back :) Thanks again x

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  9. Happy Birthday Joanne and I completely agree that you things clearly with age and its just not an adage, but a reality! Sometimes in a length of a year , sometimes few days, but we need to let ourselves grow by constantly learning and exploring!! Love your writing and thoughts!

    xo, Dhwani
    http://www.quirksofme.com

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    1. Aw thank you for such a lovely comment, Dhwani :) I agree! x

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  10. Happy birthday! Hope you had an amazing birthday party!

    http://violettedaily.com

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  11. Great lessons to have learnt <3 And many more to learn! Happy 18th!

    Hannah | Stories Of A Telescope

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    1. Thank you <3 and thanks so much for stopping by! x

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  12. Happy birthday! I love your insights for such a young age - plus your dress looks amazing!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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    1. Jess, I always get so excited every time you leave a comment on my post! Haha thanks for stopping by, and thank you for your kind words <3

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  13. Though you didn't have the ideal birthday, it's still amazing you got to spend it in Bali! I hope you still enjoyed your birthday and you have a lot of wisdom for your age. You should be proud of that!

    http://www.thebeautybeau.com

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  14. Happy B-Day! Sorry you didn't have the best time. I'm sure your next birthday will be amazing.
    I just followed your lovely blog (#20). Please follow back and let's stay in touch.

    www.fashionradi.com

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  15. Happy Birthday!! I hope you're year of eighteen is eventful and you continue to grow <3
    I love the wonderful lessons as well
    https://sputniksweetheartn.blogspot.com.au

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  16. your post very good and very nice. See Every Dress on the Red Carpet and you want more fashion styles ideas check this Blog lifestylebean.com

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  17. Happy belated birthday! The best part of having a blog is ability to look back and see how much you've grown! I regularly look back at posts to see how much fashion has evolved or reminisce travel!

    www.talesoftwoblog.blogspot.com

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  18. Happy birthday! I know eighteen might sound like such a milestone but believe me there so much more important dates ahead of you. Don't feel bad at the end of the day it's just like any other day. It's the memories that you collect during the year at what matter most.

    XoXo,

    Tamara - LoveofMode.com

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    1. Tamara, thank you for such a lovely comment. I definitely needed to remind myself of what you said :) Thanks for reading xx

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  19. Wish you a Happy Birthday and lots of happiness :D
    kisses
    xx

    https://thathappymess.com/

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  20. Happy Birthday! I loved turning 18! It was a very fun year and I hope for the same for you! Always aim to try new things! :)

    Kim
    Simply Lovebirds

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  21. Such a cute dress ♡

    www.laneyslooks.com

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  22. 18 is a big milestone but I'm sure you've got tons of amazing things ahead of you! Keep on smiling and enjoy it!

    xx, mel
    http://melinspired.com

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  23. Happy Birthday sweetie, I love the comments you made about changing and growing from the inside. We are in control of how we live our lives and the people we spend time with. xx

    Hanh | hanhabelle

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