Today has been a weird kind of day. I dragged myself out of bed, after pressing snooze a few times, went downstairs and ate what I usually eat for breakfast, swallowed my iron supplement tablet with a mug of green tea and got dressed. I found some clean jeans and chose the rest of my outfit from the mess of clothes, make up, books and magazines on the floor of my (not-usually-quite-this) messy bedroom. Messed around with my hair, put some make up on my face, plugged my headphones in, grabbed my bag and left the house. So far, so normal.
This is where it changes. I walked into school - early for once in my life - and waited around for my appointment. My appointment to send off my UCAS form. My university application, personal statement, results, predicted grades and reference are currently being sent off to the five places I have applied to. It's all done, it's all finally finished and I can have my life back. It may sound a bit dramatic and it probably is, but I have always been someone who doesn't deal very well with even the idea of change. And this change is a big one. This time next year (hopefully/fingers crossed) I will be finally moved out and living at one of my five choices.... and no, I'm not going to tell you what they are! It's safe to say I would be extremely happy getting into any one of them but for various reasons my application had to be sent off early so, along with everyone else from my sixth form in this position, October 15th has been a big deadline hanging over my head. And now, with under 12 hours to go, it's all done and I can stop worrying. I can go back to spending too much time watching the Gilmore Girls, never quite enough doing notes and essays and coursework and dance around my bedroom or go for a run without feeling guilty that I'm not redrafting my application for the millionth time.
It's amazing to think about how much has changed in the last couple of years. Everything from my favourite books and music, to the people I'm closest with (except for an amazing few who have stayed the same) and the things that interest me most are completely different. It's really hard not to feel like a different person when so little about my life actually feels recognizable to me. When I was fourteen - aside from the fact I was still convinced I could become a ballet dancer, don't laugh too much - I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. When I was fifteen I thought having a full fringe and short hair was a good idea and when I was sixteen getting my nose pierced was the scariest thing I had ever done. Luckily that one did turn out to be a good decision, and I hope as I finish up being seventeen the good decisions are starting to outweigh the bad ones.
My friendships have changed beyond recognition, I no longer spend hours of my life perfecting barre exercises or learning solos and fixing new ribbons onto ballet shoes. I talk far more than I used to, and while my family are unsurprised as they complain that I never shut up at home, teachers in sixth form and people I had never bothered trying to get to know are surprised that I have "come out of my shell." I think change is a good thing now. I get bored if I haven't moved my furniture around in a while, constantly need new posters for my walls and feel that live isn't really worth living if I haven't got something new to look forward to just around the corner.
There are so many plans I have, so many things I want to do before this year ends. I need a new job for starters, I need to save up some money and finish learning to drive. I really really need a new phone. I need to go to Washington DC in February for my Year 13 Politics trip. I need to see Taylor Swift when the Red Tour comes to London (thank you God, for amazing people who buy me tickets for things!) I need to have a lovely Christmas with my family, the last proper one before there are only two people living in our house all the time. I need to make sure I don't worry about them too much but at the same time, set up Skype on my laptop and come home to visit every now and then. I need to go travelling next summer, I NEED to go to Reading Festival again, I need to find my wristband from this year and put it on my pin board, I need to get a new camera and take so many pictures of all the things and people I want to remember. I need my hair to grow some more, I need a lovely prom and a happy ending to being "in school." I don't particularly want to be eighteen and have to start being an "adult," but it's going to happen anyway and I might as well try and love it.
I used to say I hated where I had grown up, that it was boring, that I wished I had lived somewhere else but I think I actually might be starting to realise how much I'll miss it. I think my resistance to any kind of change comes from the insecurity I have from being moved around the world so much when I was little and being afraid to put down roots and have to leave again. I don't remember it, of course, I was one and two when we moved from England to Hong Kong and back again and three when we moved to where we live now. But I remember the anxiety I had throughout my childhood of people disappearing, of moving away and never coming back. One of my close friends in primary school moved to Italy, another to the other end of the country. Others I have lost touch with since then, Year Nine friendships break up and people move on, things change and there is nothing I can do about it. I remember waving goodbye to my dad so many times from windows and airports and trains - jobs with constant travel are really good for building abandonment issues into your children. I remember how much easier that made it to say goodbye to him permanently and how much I hated it, and tried to miss him more, on purpose. I remember all of these things and how they have made me into myself.
I hate looking through my old pictures because I hate how I used to look. I hate hate hate myself with short hair and I have still not quite gotten over it yet. I'm working on it, they were not happy years for me and maybe that was reflected too poignantly in those photos. But there are one lot I found: pictures from my trip to Italy this last summer. I spent nearly three weeks with my mum and little sister and the in photos from this holiday we look the happiest I've ever seen us. I don't know why this is, a combination of sunshine and exploring in a beautiful place? The amazing food, the friendly people, the feeling of being so far away from anything about home? Whatever it is, I intend to capture that feeling and spend as much as possible of the rest of my life being exactly that happy.