HELLO 31! ANOTHER YEAR OLDER
It's that first night after a particularly hectic few weeks where I've finally had time to kick back in solitude and what pops up to say 'Hello' but that all too familiar feeling of anxiety. Perhaps it's the result of a super busy schedule or maybe just simple exhaustion but I'm trying to work with it and not overindulge or over analyse it. Feelings need to be felt, not brushed away or dismissed, and although far from wallowing in my anxious state, I'm definitely acknowledging it and questioning it, all the while trying to manage how much it consumes me. A difficult task? Oh, you bet! But it's the best way.
It's funny, I found the same thing happened on my summer holidays. When you're used to being a busy person, sometimes sitting back and doing nothing at all can be a real challenge. But I know it's just not me, it's everyone. And that it's a genuine side effect of the plugged-in world we live in, where we're always on and constantly connected, our brains bombarded with information from the second we rise to kiss the day good morning.
Truth be told, I've been trying to get better at doing nothing (!). The Italians are masters of it, sure they even have a saying dedicated to the beauty of 'Il dolce far niente.' I got quite good at it for a while too - doing nothing proactively by exercising, taking long walks, going hiking, focusing on fuelling my body in a balanced way - and it helped! I felt fantastic. But with daylight hours shortening, temperatures plummeting and the sudden urge to hibernate, I've fallen off the bandwagon a little bit!
Despite the busy-ness, I've had a brilliant time along the way juggling work with personal commitments, side projects and some other bits and bobs in-between.
International Day of the Girl was a particular highlight when I hosted a panel discussion in House, Dublin with an impressive panel of inspiring, feisty and intelligent women where we discussed Gender Stereotypes in Film and the Media. It was such an interesting discussion focused on women in leadership roles and the barriers in our way - everything from societal stereotypes to lack of confidence compared to men and even access to things like childcare.
Broadcaster Louise McSharry, Irish-Syrian journalist Razan Ibraheem and Plan International Ireland's Youth Advisory Panel member Kate Smith joined me for the chat and honestly, we could have spoken for hours. The biggest eye-opening talking point for me? Only 6% of the top 500 CEO's in the world are women - a (measly) 2% rise from previous years! This needs to change - and it's by having challenging conversations like our panel chat that this can happen. We're slowly making progress but we still have a long way to go.
Another incredible campaign I threw myself into this October was Walk in My Shoes WIMS FM. A pop-up radio week broadcasting live from St. Patrick's Mental Health Services dedicated to getting rid of stigma surrounding mental health and starting a national conversation. I've been involved the past three years hosting a two hour show in what is always a really impressive, jam-packed week-long programme.
Year One I hosted by myself and honestly don't know how I got through it - I was so incredibly nervous. Last year I returned for a schools mental health special alongside my co-hosts Dr. Colman Noctor and Paddy Courtney and this year it was co-presenting duties alongside my boyfriend Steve. We were nervous for sure, but we had the support of a brilliant team and fantastic guests and the two hours flew by.
The highlight? Our phoner with U2's Adam Clayton and hearing Steve - this years Walk in My Shoes Ambassador - having a natter with Adam who is the first ever Walk In My Shoes ambassador. He called in all the way from the States so we were very grateful for his time and commitment!
There were the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards too where I spent the entire night in awe and wonder. The ceremony took place the day after my 31st birthday and there was no better way to kick off my New Year!
I'm terrible at celebrating my own birthday but I made an exception this year and had a small gathering with some friends and it was really, really special. We're all so busy these days it can be hard to find time where everyone is free but we somehow managed to do it... just about. It's given me a taste for my 32nd!