21 YEARS FROM A-Z

by gabimulder

I’m now 21 years old and feel like this is a particularly formative age (as I’m sure everyone feels at every age most likely) haha but nonetheless, I felt like it would be nice to try and capture life right now in some way.
I was recently reading through my friends Sophie and Yazz’s blog (they are two Aussies based in NYC) check it out here, it’s epic. One of the recent posts that Soph put together is entitled ‘The Living Alphabet’. Basically it involves going through each letter of the alphabet and attaching some aspect of your current life to that letter. I loved the idea and thought it might be nice to try it out myself.

I sat down this afternoon and thought about all the different aspects of my life that define me at 21. My habits, quirks, favourite things, the biggest pieces and the littlest ones.

Here is me at 21 years old, condensing my life into the 26 letters that make up the alphabet.

A- Airports

Airports

I’ve always been a bit obsessed with airports. They have this ever moving magic about them and so many stories constantly passing through. One of my favourite feelings is looking up at the departures board at international terminals and seeing where all the different flights are headed. Stopping to wonder who is getting on those flights and why they’re going where they are going.

B – Breathe

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Reminding myself to stop and take three deep breaths more often.

C – Coffee

Coffee

Coffee has certainly become a more constant thing in my life. Not necessarily in a craving/addiction sort of way, but rather the events that happen over coffee. Coffee is the thing that we tell our stories over. When any of my friends or I get home from travelling the first text is always “lets get coffee tomorrow and catch up?”. I remember late nights in New York City, my roommates and I would go down to the Starbucks on 81st and Broadway and order large chai lattes that were 90% sugar. On days when I just want to stay home and edit, get work done or just listen to interviews all day, I’ll make a big cup of coffee, wrap myself in warm blankets and wrap my hands around a warm cup. It’s like a hug from the inside out (similar to tea, but with a bit more pzazz).

D – Dreaming

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I’ve been making a conscious effort to sleep a lot more lately. With sleeping comes dreaming and I love that. I’m definitely one of those people who life is either ‘GO GO GO!’ or ‘I’m just going to sit here, sip on my 9th cup of tea, look out the window and stare at the birds’. So right now I’m in a ‘stop and smell the roses’ kind of state and I’m loving resting, sleeping and dreaming a lot.

E – Everything

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You know that feeling when you just wish everything you wanted or craved could come a whole lot easier? I feel like we all know that feeling. I stumbled across this quote a few years ago and it always runs over and over in my head when I begin to feel a little impatient, “Remember, life is a journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once there’d be no point to living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you’ll see these “set backs” as giant leaps forward, only you couldn’t see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach; all you have to do is show up everyday, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek.”

F – Freedom

Freedom

The most wonderful feeling in the world.

G – Great Adventure

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I remember growing up my mum would always say “life is nothing if not a daring adventure”. So here’s to us all daring more and going on more great adventures.

H – Home

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As I write this, I’m back at my family home where I grew up and it feels so good to be here. Days are filled with long beach walks, fresh passionfruit from the vine, ocean swims, listening to lots of podcasts and watching lots of interviews, reading old book series, spending time with family and long time friends, lots of alone time and thinking time.

I – Inconsistency

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I’ve realised that I thrive off inconsistency. When my environment is changing, my work schedule is changing, where I live changes, that’s when I feel like I’m really living, adapting and growing. I don’t know if all this need for change will catch up on me someday, but for right now it’s keeping me happy and sane.

J – James Vincent McMorrow

James Vincent

The sound of my summer. Particular favourites are If I Had A Boat, Higher Love and We Don’t Eat. I’d recommend lying on the beach or your bed, putting in headphones and closing your eyes. Give yourself 10 minutes to just be still, listen and feel.

K – Kindness 

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The most beautiful trait to hold.

L – Long Walks 

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I’m a total sucker for long walks. Back in NYC, my roommate Stef and I would go for 2-3 hour long walks all through the city at 10pm or 11pm most nights. The first time we went, we ended up having walked 160 blocks across Manhattan. We got back to the apartment at 2am, sat on the kitchen floor and ate cereal. The second time we walked through Central park at 11pm and stumbled across a huge movie being filmed at the fountain. We sat up on the railing and watched as they shot take after take well into the night.

M – Magic

Magic

Every time I come home I’m reminded of how much casual magic there is to be found here. The way the final rays of light hit the ocean waves before the sun sets, watching storm clouds roll in over the sea, the golden early morning light that streams over the fields and rolling hills, the fresh food, the windows always down and everyone waiting for that 15 minutes spare in their day where they can run barefoot down to the ocean.

N – Nowness 

Nowness

Reminding myself to be ‘here’ now. I think this quote puts it pretty perfectly, “If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”
I’m making sure to stop and look around more.

O – Ocean 

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The ocean is no doubt my favourite thing on earth. Nothing makes me feel more grounded and at ease. I strongly believe “we should all have ourselves regularly overwhelmed by nature”, and I feel like the ocean does a pretty perfect job at it.

P – Planes 

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I think some of the best views in the world are those viewed from a plane window. I also really like when they bring around cold juice on long haul flights. And I also REALLY love when pilots crack jokes. Hilarious.

Q – Quotes 

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As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of beautiful quotes. Here are some of my favourites…

“The difference between an ordinary life and an extraordinary one is only a matter of perspective. Pull the blinds, look around you – it is a weird and wonderful world and you don’t require a ten digit bank account to immerse yourself in it. Travel down dusty roads without a destination in mind. Climb a mountain and scream out into the void. Kiss a stranger. Skinny dip in a lake. Get lost and lose yourself (these are two separate things). Explore the wilderness (particularly the one within). Think less of destiny and more of the moment right here. Because when you are nearing the end of your life, surrounded by all of your family and friends, fame won’t matter. Nor will the extent of your wealth – you are the sum of the stories you can tell.” – Beau Taplin

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.” – Unknown

“Nobody was perfect. Not even close. And everyone had wrinkles from smiling and squinting and craning their necks. Everyone has marks on their bodies from years of living – a trail of life left on them. Evidence of all the adventures and sleepless nights and practical jokes and heartbreaks that had made them who they are.” – Katherine Center

R – Re-connect 

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In the past few months I’ve (more than ever) learnt the importance of feeling connected with yourself and your roots. In this chaotic, constantly busy and very competitive world, it can be so easy to lose that connection with your real, authentic self.
I personally found myself getting caught up in a world that really wasn’t me and in doing that you start to question who you are and what you’re doing with your days. I quickly realised I needed to step back from things and re-connect with ‘me’. In doing that, I feel like (especially) for an artist, it allows you to be re-inspired and get back to ‘you’.
As a girl who was brought up with 4 older brothers, on a farm by the beach and a very down-to-earth upbringing (feet always dirty and hair forever a mess), I’m learning the importance of not straying too far from those roots. As much as I love a chaotic city scene, I also love a quiet morning hearing nothing but the birds sing outside your window. I’m making sure to take the time to enjoy both.

S – Seasons changing

Seasons Change

Autumn is without a doubt my favourite time of year. The crisp clean air, the golden light, the yellow and orange leaves dropping from the trees in a whirlwind of confetti.

T – Time

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Is there ever enough?

U – Uncertainty 

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“If it is both terrifying and amazing you should definitely pursue it.”

V – Views

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One of my favourite views is looking up at the sky as planes fly overhead. When I was living in Sydney I would walk down to the beach in the late afternoon, lie down on the sand and watch as the flights came in and out of the city. I would do the same in New York, where I’d head to the Sheeps Meadow in Central Park, find a soft patch of grass, put my headphones in and watch as plane after plane flew overhead. I loved that at almost any point of the day you could look up to the sky and see at least 3 planes flying over.

W – Wide Open Road

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There’s nothing better.

X – XOXO

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I just really think the world could really benefit from more hugs and kisses.

Y – Yellow

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The shade of an Aussie summer.

Z – Zephyr

Zephyr

Zephyr Definition: “Deemed one of the most beautiful words in the English language due to its euphony, rare sighting and letter composition. Zephyr is described as a gentle, mild breeze. It does not disrupt, nor cause chaos, it merely brings a pleasant sensation on a warm summer day.”

☼   ☼   ☼   Photos and words by Gabi Mulder   ☼   ☼   ☼