Exactly 1 – year ago I packed my bags and moved across the pond, changing the life of ashley madeline as I knew it – to be only slightly dramatic.
The past year has been full of amazing memories, unique experiences and lessons that I will always treasure. To say I have grown up and become more London Fresh in the past year is an understatement. With this growing up, has come a few words of wisdom from yours truly.
1. Always follow your dreams. Everyone has dreams, but not everyone has the courage to follow them. London was my dream and I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of achieving this. One of my favourite quotes is ” I would rather life a life of ‘oh wells’ than a life of ‘what ifs'”. There is something to be said for never letting your dream be the ‘what if’ in life – trust me, it is always much better for it.
2. Friendships are not about quantity, but quality. When friendships are no longer a matter of convenience, you realize which friendships are true. They say after high school you see this, but trust me when you move half way across the ocean – it is an even bigger test. Fortunately, I am happy to say that my nearest and dearest have stuck by my side and although we don’t talk everyday, nothing has changed. We’re still part of each others lives and my favourite part is that – even if it has been 6 months, it is exactly like it was when we had sleepovers every day of the week. Those are the true friends that cannot be replaced. The same can be said for people you meet in a new city. There will be plenty and it will be lonely at times, but you must remind yourself that 1 or 2 quality friendships are better than a dozen in-genuine ones.
3. Life is short. This should not be confused with YOLO mentality. No, that is just silly. However, it is always good to have a gentle reminder that we aren’t going to be here forever, and you won’t always be 22 with all the freedom in the world. This year I have learned to take advantage of every moment and live it to the fullest. You really do only get one life and if this year is any example, it goes by VERY quickly. So cherish every experience and be happy through it all. Because the bad times don’t last and good times don’t either. You just have to decide what you want more of.
4. Do what you love. Some people are lucky and they find what they love at an early age in life. Others need to walk a few different paths to find it. Through a series of events, I was lucky enough to find what I loved at an early age and work towards this. I couldn’t be happier in my career and find it the perfect creative outlet for me. It is important to have a passion for what you wake up and do every day. If it gets to the point where that doesn’t bring you happiness, change it. This year I realized the potential for success you have when you love what you do. And trust me, it is much higher when you enjoy it vs. force yourself to love it.
5. We are the masters of our own destinies. Every decision and choice made impacts your destiny – some more than others. I feel like people raise their hands and wait for things to happen if they’re ‘meant to be’. This is a perfectly fine (and often used) strategy, however, people often underestimate what they actually have control over in their lives. If you want something bad enough and you work hard enough, you can make it happen.
6. Never get too comfortable. When you are comfortable, you don’t grow. Unless it is being comfortable on the couch – then maybe you grow a belly. Anyways, a good friend of mine always said you can never stop paddling in life. If you think of life as an ocean and you are swimming against the current, every time you stop paddling you move backwards. This year has taught me that no matter how comfortable you get in a place, or even how uncomfortable you are in a place, you must always keep paddling and moving forward. The things that are waiting for you could be amazing.
7. Your health is your wealth. Wise words from my parents. Of course, when you are completely run down, sick and still have to keep going you remember them. It is so important to eat healthy, exercise, take breaks and try your best not to be stressed. There comes a time where you can’t do it all and usually your health is the first warning sign to let you know this. A healthy lifestyle is so important, you do after all, only get one body. Take care of it.
8. Everyone needs someone to lean on. Most people assume that the type of person to move to a new city is independent and has a strong outer shell. It may appear that way, but everyone cracks. During those days when things aren’t going your way, everyone needs someone to lean on. If you’re special enough to have someone like that, make sure you let them know how much you appreciate their listening to you while you catch your breath between the tears.
9. You have to put yourself out there. Moving to a new city
can be is hard. You come there with nothing and have to build a new life for yourself. A whole new group of friends, a new home, a new comfort zone and pretty much a new foundation all together. The only way to do this is to put yourself out there. You may be an introverted person and uncomfortable in certain situations but if you want to build all of these things, the only way to do it is to get out there and find them.
10. Don’t doubt things. Ask anyone, my biggest problem is doubting things. It can be the most insignificant to the most important thing in life, and I will always find a way to doubt it. This year, i have learned to not doubt things. Life is full of experiences and things do happen but you have to believe in some things, whether it be the future, love, friendships until you are given a reason not to – it will take away hours spent on worrying.
Happy anniversary London! Cheers to many more years together.