A Reflection Before My 26th Birthday

Hello & happy Monday! I wanted to share this post which is full of my thoughts on the highs and lows of this year before my 26th birthday tomorrow. 

This past year started on a weird note for me. If you remember, my Dad became extremely unwell in the run up to Christmas last year and it was definitely the most terrifying time of my life. (I’m doing Vlogmas this year and will be dedicating a video to this topic to raise awareness for what happened to him.) He was as close to losing his life as humanly possible but went on to make a full recovery, thankfully. So my mind was naturally in a very weird place at the beginning of the year. His recovery was long so it was a draining and extremely stressful time, and to be honest, that’s when I really began pining to move home from New York. I had such high hopes for 2017 but it felt as though everything was pulled from under me around that time. 

That being said, the year definitely didn’t stay that way…Thank God! Moving home was always on my mind and that idea grew legs when I came home for a weekend last March and actually moved 3 suitcases home with me then. I obviously didn’t tell anyone, but I knew that my mind was made up. It made me really make the most of every weekend and every opportunity to enjoy myself. I knew my last few months in the city would be the best because I said yes to literally every single thing. I wouldn’t change that, even though it made it a tiny bit harder to say goodbye in the end. 

One of the best things I realised this year was to go with your gut no matter what the situation might be. Whether it makes absolutely zero sense on paper, or if everyone is telling you you’re stone mad…just dive in head first and hope for the best. I have to say that moving home was one of the best things I have ever done. I wanted to reflect on this and some other highlights of the year. When you write things like this down, you really appreciate everything so so so much more.

The Highs

My Dad making a full recovery – Like I mentioned above, I’m going to be making a full video on exactly what happened to him. I didn’t go into too much detail at the time while everything was happening because it was very private and not my story to tell. But I think now a year on it’s important to use this platform that I’ve built for myself to raise awareness about things that are close to my heart and this is most definitely one of them.

rewardStyle Conference – This was a trip I was sent on with work and I honestly can’t express how much I learnt over this weekend. I met so many lovely people and was so motivated by everyone there. If anyone ever gets the opportunity to go then DO IT!

Travel – This year brought some really amazing holidays. Conor and I went down to Miami for his birthday weekend in January and the winter sun was just gorgeous. We also did a California Roadtrip from San Francisco down to LA in September as a way of finishing off our time in the US and I can’t express how good that one was!

Leaving my job – I never expected to have as much support from work as I did when I told them I was leaving to move back to Ireland. I worked as a Social Media Manager so it was one of those jobs where you constantly have to be switched on. I had my head in my phone 24/7 so leaving this role was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Friends & family visit NYC – Right after I quit my job, my Mum & sister visited in New York for a weekend. It was actually so much fun and it was nice for my Mum to come back to New York to make some good memories since the last time she was there with my Dad in hospital. We did lot of sightseeing and ate our way through the city so it was just the dream. The following week, six of my closest friends visited from home and I have never laughed so hard in one week, ever. I was over the moon that they visited me before I left. I loved showing them around and playing tour guide.

First family holiday in forever to the most stunning location: Mauritius – This was a recent trip as you will know but it was the first time my Mum’s side of the family have ever travelled together. We’re all so much older now with different lives in so many different countries so it was great to have a wedding to bring us all together again.

Moving home – I mean, this just goes without saying. But it’s definitely my number one highlight of the year. You know you’ve made the right decision when people are constantly telling you that you’ve never looked happier. To be honest, I’ve never felt happier either. I loved New York and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world, but sometimes you need to go with your gut. I walked away from a very well paid job, and the ‘American Dream’, but I know after this year what’s important to me now: my family, friends and going through life with them to share experiences and memories together. No amount of money or opportunities in New York would make me change my mind on this one. This is one of those cases where people > places.

All of the new people I met this year – Meeting new people is one of my favourite things. I have a big group of friends at home, the same girls that I’ve been friends with the whole way up and I love it. I love meeting new characters and knowing lots of different personalities and connections. This was definitely a year that was filled with new people and was such a highlight every time. 

The Lows

There has been quite a few, but in comparison to what some of the people around me have gone through this past year, I know that I literally have nothing to complain about. I think that as long as your family and friends have their health, a roof over their heads and food in their bellies then we’re all SO lucky.

Today is actually an insanely exciting day for me. I’ve started something that I never really thought that I would. I will obviously fill you in on everything in due course, but for now I’m going to be working away on this new little chapter of mine quietly in the background. I’m bursting to talk about it but it just wouldn’t make sense at the moment because it’s such early days. The only reason I’m bringing it up at all is so that people don’t start to wonder if all I do is sit at home on the couch with my dogs all day. 😂 Trust me, I would if I could! Hopefully I can spill the beans sooner rather than later, but I know that you will be as excited about this as I am…EEEEEK!

While I have you…make sure to enter my giveaway on Instagram! I wanted to put a little prize together to say thank you so much to everyone for supporting me so far on this little blogging journey of mine. ❤️

Thank you so much for reading my rambling birthday reflection,

Niamh xx

Photos by the wonderful Bríd O’Donovan

Jumper dress: H&M // Bag: Louise et Cie  // Over-the-knee boots: Mint Velvet

Instagram @niamh_osullivan // Youtube Niamh O’Sullivan // Snapchat @niamhos21 // Facebook Cinnamon Soul // Twitter @niamh_osullivan

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