Sprinkles of Ella
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23 Before 23

23 Before 23

This week, I turned 22 years old! That’s right, I was born in the November of the Millenium (2000). I feel and look much younger, though. People always tell me I’ll be thankful for that when I’m older! Anyway, on a couple of my older blogs, I recall that on my birthday, I used to write a post about a set number of goals I wanted to achieve before the following year. The number of goals would always correspond to the age I was going to turn the following year. For instance, on my 17th Birthday, I wrote a post about 18 goals I wanted to achieve before I turned 18. Thus, this year I have 23 goals I want to try and achieve before next year, and here they are:

23 Goals To Achieve Before I Turn 23

1. Visit Disneyland Paris

Ahh yes, surprise! I told everyone on Instagram that I already had/knew what I was going to get before my birthday (and Christmas!), but I wanted to keep it a secret for as long as possible. My birthday has passed now, so it’s only fair that I announce what it is that I wanted.

I haven’t been on holiday since before Covid, and one of my friends had the opportunity to go and work at Disney World in America. I was a little bit jealous of this, not going to lie, so that was part of the reason that I asked my family for money towards going to Disneyland in Paris. And that is something that they have agreed to! I’m going to Disneyland in January when I have a break from university. I will be staying for two nights in the Santa Fe Hotel, and I’ll also be going alone!

You might be thinking, how on earth am I going to be able to cope on my own? I’m nervous, but I think I can do it. I’ve been to Disneyland before, back in 2017 after my GCSEs, and I can manage to go to places I’ve been before reasonably well! I’ve never been abroad alone before, so that is new, but I’m hoping I’ve been abroad enough times to be confident enough to fly alone! So yes, I have a severe anxiety disorder, and yes, I have autism and other disabilities that require me to have care quite a lot of the time – but I think that this is something that, although slightly out of my comfort zone, I can do. Also, I can’t wait to just be able to absorb the atmosphere in my own time, and in my own way (as, of course, I’ll be taking things with me that will help me – such as my headphones and ear defenders, a soft toy or two, some of my favourite tangles and fidget toys, and also medication).

I am slightly nervous about the food there at the moment, especially as I won’t be able to take my normal supplement drinks as they’re over 100ml (I’m only taking cabin baggage). I might take a few powdered ones just in case, but I do know that there is a Starbucks there, and a McDonald’s and a small shop in the train station there where I’ll hopefully be able to buy things that are safe and familiar to me! I’m going to work on a plan with my mum before I go too!

Sorry, that was quite a long first goal as I wanted to provide a bit of background, but I hope you’re as excited as I am (I will try and vlog at least some of it, and possibly write a blog post too). It’s good to have something to look forward to, and motivation to get me through this next half of the first semester. I often struggle to look to the future, but I’ve got a little something to look forward to now!

2. Read 5 Books

I would’ve set myself the goal of reading 23 books as I feel that would be quite fitting, but honestly, I don’t think I would ever hit it (especially around uni!). So, I’ve set myself the little goal of reading just 5 books over this next year. Hopefully, it won’t be too difficult, and I’m secretly hoping that I’ll read more than 5! I think I might set up a GoodReads account to keep track of my reading. Once I do, I’ll let you know the username so that you can follow me on there too! (see HERE)

3. Pass the first year of university

Quite a self-explanatory goal really. I would really like to complete and pass this first year of university especially as I’ll finally be over this Level 3/4 educational barrier I’ve been stuck behind for several years now, stemming all the way back to my first year of A-Level studies (2017) when I was forced to choose between dropping one of my subjects (which was a BTEC) or dropping out of college altogether due to my poor physical health and attendance record. That set me back a year, and then when I eventually did start university in 2020, I had to drop out before my fitness to study was questioned (since I would’ve been forced out had that been instigated) due to poor mental and physical health. Following that, I tried to go back to college in September 2021, but I attended a poor-performing school with very limited support for disabled students, forcing yet another drop out. Now I’m here, at Oxford Brookes, and I hope I can at least last this first year, and start my second year of undergraduate studies as that would mean I finally would’ve gotten further academically than I ever have before!

4. Raise money for charity

I haven’t set an amount because I don’t want to put myself under too much pressure, but when I was younger, I was always doing things for charities. Volunteering, events, general fundraising – you name it! I haven’t done anything much for charity in what feels like forever. So, over this next year, I’ve set myself the goal to at least do something, even if it’s really small!

5. Hit 1500-2000 Instagram Followers

This may seem like a stupid goal to some, but sometimes I’m proud of my little Instagram account and I’m proud of my followers. I’d like to grow it a bit, I think that would be nice. I think I’ve set quite an ambitious goal, but I’ve also got a whole year to grow and hopefully in that time my content will get better and better too. A few years ago, I had an old blog account with just over 1000 followers on it, so it would be really cool to hit and exceed that again! I love having my own little space and community because although scary at times, it’s often friendly, safe and heartwarming!

6. Hit 150-200 YouTube Subscribers

This is similar to the previous goal, but for YouTube! Again, I used to have a channel with over 100 followers, nearing 200, and it would be really great to get there again! I haven’t been the best at posting on YouTube that much, but I’ve got a whole year to work on that, and hopefully, people will appreciate my hard work!

7. Get closer to the bottom of my health issues

I’ve had niggling health issues for a long time now, that just don’t appear to be getting any better. This is probably a bit ambitious, but I would finally like to get to the bottom (or at least a bit further along than I am now) of some of them. It’s going to be difficult, though, because I’ve struggled with a lot of letdowns with various services, and it’s very easy to lose hope. But here I am, hanging onto the tiniest bit!

8. Save a bit of Money

I have a tiny bit of savings at the moment that I’m going to use as spending money when I go to Disneyland, but after that, I would like to have just a little bit of money behind me – even if it’s just to cover any credit I use, or secure accommodation for next year, or just so I have something in case something happens to my phone or my computer etc.

9. Start Yoga

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now, so I thought I’d make it a goal so I definitely get around to it! I am a member of a gym (The Gym Group, you may have heard of it), but they don’t offer any Yoga classes. I’ve decided, though, that even if I don’t go to a class, I will work on doing some at home using video tutorials. I think it will be a positive way of moving my body (rather than a forceful, obsessive way due to my ED), and I think that it will also help my flexibility for gymnastics (and also, I want to work on my flexibility anyway, there was a girl who attended a couple of the trials for gymnastics and she was madly flexible, I was so jealous haha!).

10. Learn French

I took French GCSE, but I was kind of forced to. I went to a school that specialised in Language learning, and one of their ‘criteria’ as such was that you had to carry on at least one of your Key Stage Three (Year 7-9) languages (we did two, so I did Spanish & French, but dropped Spanish at the end of Year 9 to complete my French GCSE). At the time, I was not yet diagnosed with anything that would’ve made me exempt from taking a language (even though I had diagnosed lifelong hearing loss, making it difficult to learn a foreign language) and so I struggled a lot with it and didn’t perform very well. I now feel a bit more ‘ready’ to learn a language, and French is what I’d like to learn too. I’ll do Duolingo I think, but I’ve also currently picked up a French module to complete in the second semester. I am a bit nervous for it, but hopefully, my Academic Advisor will still let me at least try it. She seems to think it might be a bit much, and she might be right, but I don’t know for sure!

11. See Matilda on the West End

I’ve watched the original Matilda film, I’ve read the book by Roald Dahl (and I’m hoping to read it again!), and I’m planning to see the new Matilda film in the cinema the day it comes out – which is all building up to me being able to see it live on stage in London! I already know several of the songs from the musical, and I’ve even been to the theatre and bought myself a t-shirt and a guide so all I’ve got to do really is actually go and see it! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to achieve this in the next year, or at least have some tickets booked!

12. Get back into Bullet Journalling

Another fairly self-explanatory one. I go through phases of bullet journalling all the time, to not doing it for months, and I’d quite like to get back to the former (or at least a bit more than I am right now!). I quite enjoy it, and at times, it’s quite grounding too. I’d recommend it to anyone; I might even write a post/starter guide on it at some point!

13. Get back in gaming

This time last year I was big into my gaming. I’m talking Pokèmon, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, The Sims… but then I kind of just fell out of it a little. I’d like to get back into it as it was enjoyable and provided a nice respite from reality for a little while as well. I have my DS and Nintendo Switch here with me at university, and at home, I have my Wii and my GameCube as well as access to a PlayStation if I want to as well! When I’m here, I can maximise my time on my Switch and DS games, and then find time to play the Wii, GameCube and PlayStation when I’m at home. Oh, and I have The Sims on my laptop, but I’m yet to try playing it on it. I’m slightly nervous that it won’t be able to handle it!

14. Compete in a Gymnastics Competition

In a couple of weekends time, I’m hoping to take part in a mini club gymnastics competition. It’s only against people within my club, and each person competes representing their college or university (it’s majorly an Oxford University club, so the majority of people come from one of the 30 or so Oxford University Colleges, I go to Oxford Brookes University so I’d compete representing them). This is only a small, fun competition, though, so I’m not really counting it. In March, we compete in Varsity against Cambridge University, so I’m aiming to gear myself up to compete in that. I may also have an opportunity to compete in BUCS too, which is a university sporting association competition that a lot of universities in the country participate in, in all kinds of sports – but I’m not sure when this is yet!

15. Visit more museums

Being in Oxford, I’m in a prime location for museum-going, so I’m aiming to make the most of that! There are also a few museums in London I’d like to visit as well, particularly an exhibition on ASMR at the Design Museum, as well as the Tate Britain! I have a Student Art Pass (click for more info!) too which can sometimes give me free or discounted entry to some museums and exhibitions!

16. Explore London more

Earlier this year, I started a photography project on the London Underground, so I’d like to get back into that, but also there are some places in London I just want to visit in general. For instance, some of the museums, as I mentioned in the last goal, as well as the new Battersea Power Station redevelopment! There are so many places I’d like to visit in London, or that I’d happily go back to. I don’t think I could ever get bored of it!

17. Work for a brand I love

This has been my goal really ever since I started blogging/”influencing” years and years ago. I’ve always wanted to do a post or a series of posts on behalf of a brand I genuinely love, and possibly be paid for it as well. I get jealous sometimes, not in a bad way though, of people I know working for brands that they love because… I don’t know, I’d just feel so privileged to be chosen to be a part of something I already love, and I’d be so excited to share it with everyone. I’d probably pour my entire heart and soul into it as well; I just think it would be so fun and cool! I can’t wait for the day that I might open my first piece of PR mail, ahh a dream come true. I’m hoping if I put enough work into my blog and social media, I might get closer to achieving this!

18. Write/publish at least one blog post a month

As I’ve mentioned a few times, this year I’d really like to work on my blog/Instagram, so I’m going to set myself the goal of publishing at least one blog post a month! This might mean that I might have to sit and write a couple in one go so that I have enough content, but I believe that it is something that I can do, and I believe it’ll help keep things ticking here and on Instagram!

19. Watch one film a month

I’m not actually a huge film watcher. I’m not sure if it’s down to my attentiveness (thanks ADHD), my ED (as in I’m still for a ‘long’ period of time), my hearing, or my language processing issues but yeah, I don’t really watch a lot of films. There are, however, a few films that I think I’d like to watch, and some that are quite famous and feel like I need to watch. So, I’m going to set myself a goal of watching at least one film a month. It may seem like a very easy and ridiculous goal to some, but for me, I think it’ll be an achievement. Who knows, maybe I’ll even throw in some pick-‘n-mix sometimes?

20. Get some gymnastics skills that I have lost

Believe it or not, I used to be able to back somersault and flic (back handspring), but I haven’t been able to for around three years now. I don’t know what it is, but I seem to just be in a massive mental block, and I just don’t seem to be able to throw myself backwards like that anymore. Even if I can’t get those skills back, I’d like to get back some simpler skills like my walkovers and splits again!

21. Find out more about myself

Sounds a bit cringe and clichè, I know, but I want to find out more about myself and my diagnoses and identity this year. It’s not a particularly measurable goal, but it’s still one I hope I can explore a little bit!

22. Spend less time on my phone

This year I’d like to spend more time living and experiencing and less time staring mindlessly at my phone. I won’t be able to dramatically decrease my screen time as some of my other goals are focused around social media use, but I’d like to do a little less mindless staring and be a little more productive with how I use my phone.

23. Ask for and accept help when I need it

This applies to all aspects of my life; health, social, university etc. This could be in the form of reaching out to my tutors when I need to and using my extensions/ other protocols I have in place, or it could take form of trying a new therapy or medication if I’m offered it. I also need to learn to use the things that are there to help me, like my wheelchair, instead of suffering and believing I shouldn’t be using things that make my life easier. Ideally, I’d like to upgrade to a more active type of wheelchair as I’ll be able to move around more independently because, at the moment, my wheelchair is able to be self-propelled but typically relies on someone pushing it and pushing it myself can be a bit awkward as it’s not fully designed for that. Unfortunately, active user chairs are quite expensive, so unless I do some kind of fundraising, it’s unlikely I’d be able to afford one in the next year, but it’s something to work towards.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my goals for the next year. I’m hoping to keep you all updated on them on my Instagram/Instagram Stories, so be sure to give me a follow there if you haven’t already!

Here’s to the next year ♡