28 years.

(My Dad and I in India on my 1st birthday. The first and only birthday I spent with him, actually, as he passed away 5 months after this was taken)

(My Dad and I in India on my 1st birthday. The first and only birthday I spent with him, actually, as he passed away 5 months after this was taken)

It's unbelievable how fast a year goes by. Already, my 28th birthday is today and it feels like not so long ago, Ty and I were in Cali celebrating my 27th. It's funny how so many things have changed in the last 12 months (like getting engaged, getting married, being so close to moving to another country), yet day to day life has more or less remained the same. I do feel completely different, though.

27 has most definitely been my favourite age. Despite a good number of dreams coming true for me this year, I'm actually loving my late twenties for the simple fact that I know myself better than ever now. I feel like I've come into my own and have much more of the confidence I wish I'd had in my late teens/early twenties. Most older people will tell you about this phenomenon at some point in your twenties and they're not at all wrong. I'd love for 28 to bring much more of it!

(My Bua (aunt) and I, again in India, on my 1st birthday)

(My Bua (aunt) and I, again in India, on my 1st birthday)

My family and friends have been asking me what I want for my birthday and I honestly haven't been able to think of anything at all. In a way, it's nice to know that I must be quite content if there really is nothing material or otherwise that I want (except a visa - if you can magically hurry up that process, I think my stance on gifts might change!). It sounds so boring and pretentious but I'd just like to keep having new and exciting experiences, keep travelling and keep learning new things - all of which are gifts I can give myself. The real gift is that I want for nothing and that I know, without a doubt, that I am loved by the people I love. What a thing.

Such is life that we will (hopefully) learn many lessons, big and small, from the experiences we go through. I've learnt from the good experiences and without a doubt learnt from the bad - some things that I remember on a daily basis and some things that I'm still having to be reminded of. I'm hoping I've got quite a few years left to make them stick but I'm glad to have had the opportunity to take them on board, no matter how painful (or indeed how easy) the process has been. 

I guess a little rundown of some lessons that have stuck would be appropriate now, so here you go...

Sleeping with a silk pillow definitely preserves your edges and ends (for those that don't wrap their hair at night). Even the people that are the nicest to you can, and have been, a bitch to someone else. Wear sunscreen, whether you have melanin or not. Sometimes suffering in heels is worth it, but most of the time it's not. Most people are selfish, including yourself, but it's not necessarily a bad thing.  Wax, don't shave. You can convince yourself of anything if you ruminate for long enough. Don't ruminate for long enough. Always moisturise. Get enough sleep (I was the queen of all nighters once). Worrying is futile (still trying to learn this one). Patience is hard to learn, but so necessary (had too much practice at this one). Save money. Self preservation is goodIf you love someone, tell them, even if it feels awkward. It's nice to be nice. Be punctual (slowly getting there). Optimistic pessimism might just be avoiding the truth, but it's better than wallowing (oxymorons are life). Exercise more. Everything in moderation (especially food). Complainers don't usually want your advice. Be a good listener, it's very rewarding. Never sleep in your makeup, it will end badly for your skin and your sheets. Know how to enjoy your own company. Being humble is underrated. Don't limit yourself. Do your research. Be prepared. And last but not least (because I don't want to bore you with more) - If you're determined enough, you'll always get what you ask the universe for. 

I've learnt a lot more lessons than that in the last 28 years (one would hope, anyway), but those are what came to mind first. What are the most poignant life lessons you've accumulated so far? Let's trade wisdom.

Well, there's only one thing left to say now really... Happy birthday to me! :)

Oh, and here's a photo of me as a little golden baby in my birthday suit, on my birthday. Merry Christmas.