Life in General

26 Turning 9

It feels weird to write a post about your birthday, a bit self-centered, but I’ll live with it. I don’t want to pressure you into wishing me a happy birthday and sending me cake, although the cake would be appreciated. But it’s that time of the month. No, not that time. The “Let’s Get Personal” time.

So, according to my ID I’m turning 26. According to my mother, I’m turning 6, again and forever. According to me, I’m turning into an even more cynical and bitter version of myself.

I did not always hate my birthday. I had the best of times when I moved into my first apartment and all my family thought it would be so cool to offer me furniture and stuff to make that place my home instead of books or make up. I thank them for that, because the place would have been empty otherwise. I had an awesome night at the pub for my 23rd birthday. I am so glad I don’t recall everything that happened that night. I had a crazy birthday night in Japan, trying to remember everyone’s name and taking the subway a little drunk at midnight (Am I the only one who can get drunk with only 4 cans of something containing a ludicrous 3% of alcohol in it?! I miss those cans.)

But generally speaking, I’m not a fan of my birthday. Blame it on family members and bad luck. More recently, blame it on a crazy mental health and bad luck. But most of all, blame it on that stupid comparison to others and what they have achieved at the same age, or worse, younger. I know I should not because it’ll give me wrinkles before my time.

So there will be disappointment, and maybe even a few tears. Yes, I’m emotional so let’s take bets: happy tears or sad tears?
But I was inspired by Jenny @ Jenny In Wonderland, whose birthday was earlier this month (Happy birthday again!). Like her, I ponder about all the things I haven’t done yet and I am not the shiniest person to be with on my special day. But that does not mean I can’t celebrate my victories, big or small. I can keep comparing, or I can remember all the things I survived, like my first white hair and too many dentist appointments.

So while I am stuffing my face with lemon cake (special thanks to Claire for the recipe) and having a Suits marathon, you can discover 26 things I have achieved, been, seen or experienced.

#1 Lived on my own

#2 Went skying

#3 Raised my baby dog to be the sweetest and most adorable cutie ever


#4 Traveled to Spain and Portugal

#5 Went on many yoga workouts (No, I won’t post pictures, they’re embarrassing)

#6 Overcome my dentist phobia

#7 Learned to drive


(Because there’s no birthday without DT)

#8 Never gave up on my dream

#9 Kicked agoraphobia’s ass once already

#10 Shared a bathroom with no shower cubicle with 30 other girls  (for a prude like me, it’s a miracle I did it)

#11 Went to my teenage years favorite band’s concert


#12 Bought my first car alone

#13 Put together every piece of furniture in the house

#14 Became a pub regular (not an alcoholic!)


#15 Went from a good student to a studying-machine to get into Ritsumeikan University

#16 Forgave

#17 Survived school


#18 Paid for university and provided for myself thanks to student jobs

#19 Rescued and adopted a deaf dog

#20 Found a friend for life

#21 Lived alone in Japan


(Yes it is a terrible picture and I have a thousand others with amazingly mind-blowing landscapes but look, a bookstore!! And because we are in Japan, it’s open from 10 to 25. Yep, 25. Weirdly I never saw that hour when I was there)

#22 Went to the movies and ate way too much pop corn

#23 Became a tutor


#24 Demonstrated for our rights and against laws and projects (Once a French, always a French)

#25 Won a paintball game

#26 Fought like hell for my mother, because it’s always been us against the world

If you made it this far, thank you so much for losing 4 minutes and 37 seconds of your day, here’s a hug.


This is the end of the self-centered and useless post of the day! Next week will be all sun and fun with a tag! I just wanted it to be a reminder that we all compare ourselves to others sometimes, that small things matter, and that every road is different.

Do you like birthdays or do you hide in your room and turn off the phone until it is over?


92 thoughts on “26 Turning 9”

    1. Thank you!!!! Haha, it’s a bit scary when you celebrate the fact you’ve lost a year, isn’t it? Even though we don’t really lose them, sometimes it feels we haven’t done enough with all those days 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Happy Birthday, Donna 🎉🎉 I turned 26 in April and I dreaded it (being closer to 30 than 20 is killing me), but I just like to think that I’ve been 18 for 8 years 😂 I totally understand what you mean about not feeling accomplished. I love this list though! You’ve accomplished a lot and you should be super proud of yourself!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😘 Oh gosh, that big 30 slowly approaching. GO AWAY YOU TERRIBLE NUMBER 😂 That’s a brilliant strategy! Let’s be forever 18! Nah, I’ll choose 23 because it was a great year xD Thank you so much!! 🙂 I needed a reminder than a step is a step, however small, and that it’s okay not to do things the way others do!


  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DONNA ❤ I hope you'll have a wonderful day, and you are one of the greatest person out there, remember it ❤ I love this post, and reading this list, there are so many things you can be proud of. Maybe I'll take this as an inspiration when my birthday comes in a little less than a month, we all need a little cheering up once in a while ahah.And I'm one of these people comparing myself to others as well, so, hm… welcome to the club ahah.
    The best of happy birthdays to you Donna and YOU ARE THE BEST I LOVE YOU SWEETCHIE ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH MY SWEECHIE ❤ You never fail to cheer me up and make me smile! ❤ I'll try my best to have a great day, but know you've already helped making it great ❤ It's so natural yet harmful to compare ourselves to others, I wish there was a button to switch off, we'd be so much better without it!! Let's have a support club, if you start getting depressed because of comparison, ring me and I'll be here!! I struggled a bit before writing this, because I did not want to make a big deal of my birthday, but I did not want to just forget it either because it would have depressed me even more, so the list was handy, and did its job. I felt better remembering I had done all of this! 🙂 I can't wait to see what your birthday post will be like if you have one! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT ❤ means the world to me!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww I’m so happy to hear it! And totally unrelated, but I reminded my sister that we have to go to Bordeaux someday and she’s totally up for it, yay 😀
        You’re SO right, ugh I’m looking for that switch-off button constantly, but I can’t find it. Thank you so much, I hope I won’t bother you too much ahah ❤ You did well to write this post, it's so good to write down and feel GOOD about everything you have accomplished ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy birthday and congrats for writing this brave post 🙂 See, you already have done a lot of things, I don’t even know how to drive xDD And only this year I moved from home! I’d be too scared to live in Japan by myself I think… you seem to have done plenty of stuff! And we’re still young 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 🙂 Haha, you should have seen me during my first lessons, and the first time I drove my new car home, it was so scary!!! Living in Japan was awesome but terrifying. The time difference, the language, the living with strangers, the food, the big city, the classes. I learned a lot about myself and I proved myself I could do it 🙂 It ended badly but I don’t regret it. Let’s be forever young 😉😀😂


      1. I can’t see myself driving, you know that pressure when they’re waiting for you to park the car? I couldn’t handle that 😦 XD I only have 3 more months until I turn 26… we’re approaching 30 but WE’RE STILL YOUNG XD

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy birthday Donna! I hate it when people ask my age on my birthday so hiding it is ;-). You have accomplished at least 10 things more than me so you shouldn’t be feeling as if you should have already kids by now or something. You’re not even 30 yet so these are still the good years!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Birthday!! Hope you have an amazing day, it was my birthday on the 16th and I turned 22 and I can relate to your post so much. I don’t enjoy birthdays so much and always compare myself to others especially even people I don’t know, strangers on the internet who have big amazing lives or have achieved great things. I love your post to show what you have achieved and you have achieved so much! You are an amazing human being and living alone in Japan sounds amazing and an amazing accomplishment, your final words to remember that every road is different are ones that will definitely stick with me. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, happy belated birthday! Thank you so much, that’s very sweet of you to say. I wanted to explain a little more about myself and I was a bit tired of hearing I am not supposed to not like my birthday, so I put it all in this post. I feel with social media and the importance put on how we mustn’t waste our lives, it was nice to remind myself that my road is complicated but I’m going there, wherever “there” is 🙂 Living in Japan was such a strong and eventful experience, almost surreal!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you 🙂 I watch some youtubers who visited Japan not too long ago and was blown away by the beauty and the area shown in their vlogs so I can imagine it was definitely an eventful and surreal experience 🙂


  6. Joyeux anniversaire ! C’est un super article, j’aime beaucoup l’idée. Perso j’ai passé mon anniversaire de 18 ans à la cantine de ma prépa et c’était déprimant. Pour mes 20 ans, je n’avais pas l’énergie de faire quoi que ce soit. Maintenant ça va mieux, mais je comprends l’idée de ne pas être fan de ton anniversaire. En attendant, je te souhaite plein de bonheur et de moments merveilleux, et j’espère que cette année sera pour toi encore meilleure que la précédente !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merci beaucoup! J’avais envie de marquer le coup et tout est venu après un coup de gueule sur le fait que personne n’est obligé d’apprécier son anniversaire ou d’avoir la chance d’avoir ce jour beau et parfait qu’on colle à ce jour particulier, sachant qu’en général, c’est surtout un jour comme un autre 🙂 Merci beaucoup, je préfère me concentrer sur l’année entière et en faire une année pleines de petits bons moments!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy birthday! I agree with you, I always feel on my birthday like I should be doing more and compare myself to other people. But the most important thing is to just do what you want to do and make sure you’re happy, cheesy as it sounds 😁. Great list as well, seems to me that you’ve accomplished a lot!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 Birthdays bring a lot of pressure and expectations, for sure! I am keeping it simple today and I already feel it is not as bad as I had thought it would be. Cheesy is just what we need to bring a smile on our face 😀 Thanks so much! It felt good to look back and make a little recap.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Birthday .. you have achieved so much to be proud of including your blog 🙂 I just love that bookstore pic. My son was in Japan recently & failed to get one like that haha. I’m a lot older than you so my advice can only be enjoy every day .. have a good one xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I admit I am quite proud to have reached 9 months of blogging, I never knew I could do it 🙂 I spent a lot of times in Japanese bookstores, even more than usual because every title was a battle to understand or translate 😂 But I loved that at least the bookstores were the same as in my country. I felt at home surrounded by books 🙂 But I never understood their 25 hour, haha! I will do my best to remember your advice, it is a great one, but we tend to forget it! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy Birthday! That is a brilliant list of achievements 🙂 I’m particularly impressed with the sharing the shower thing because the idea of communal showers makes me shudder!!
    And I’m very glad my lemon cake is featuring because it’s one of my favourites too and there’s not way it’ll leave you with a “cake hangover” like chocolate cake can, leaving you free to scoff as much as you like!
    Have a lovely day! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Claire 🙂 The common showers were difficult at first, and then I don’t know how it happened, I just forgot I was naked with 6 other girls around, haha. So weird because I never let anyone use the bathroom when I’m in, even removing my make up.
      Your cake was a treat. I did not even have time to take a picture, it got eaten too fast. It is so yummy and easy to do that I will bake it often, that is for sure. Thank you! 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy birthday! 💐🌸🐞🌸💐
    I think you have a great list of achievements!
    It’s never a great idea to compare our lives to that of others. We’re all on a unique journey, and one person’s Mary is another person’s Jane! 😊
    Always stay true to yourself, even if it’s a cynical bitter version because the people who love you for who you are don’t mind one bit! 😀 Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I’m slowly learning to appreciate what I am and what I have, but it’s human to go check on the other side of the fence once in a while. Still, I feel better having written down my own achievements 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh absolutely… I comprae my life with other’s as well, but then mentally kick my ass for doing so 😀
        It’s always nice to see someone achieving and taking great steps in their lives… It’s motivating as well! 🙂


  11. Since my face was the first thing you saw this morning, it must’ve been one hell of a better birthday huh? 😉 *shudders*.

    Whenever I feel really poopy about myself, I make similar lists such as these as well, and it’s always astounding how the person who is the most amazed of what you can do, is yourself, in the end :). Mixing agoraphobia with living alone in Japan…I mean, that’s just bold! 😀 The anxiety probably wasn’t as strong yet back then, but still! *applauds!!* I’m already hyperventilating while just thinking about living so far away from home all by myself. You can definitely be proud of everything you have accomplished! And hey, 26, you’re still a baby right ;).

    #17 -> *high fives that gif* it’s amazing XD.

    #11 Care to tell us which band it was? 😉

    Cheers! *taking a sleeping pill in celebration of the (almost) end of your birthday!*


    1. Hahahaha, it was a better birthday that I had hoped for, and I admit I owe it to you and everyone that has made me feel a little special today 🙂
      I had kicked agoraphobia’s ass two years before I went to Japan. I was back to being “normal”, with the same stress levels as most people. I would not have gone otherwise. Too bad being sick in Japan brought it all back. Still, I have no regrets because I met the most amazing people and discovered I could live all alone in a country where everything is a battle because even though you’ve studied the language, you can’t read half of what’s written everywhere!! I think I want to stay a baby forever, at least in my head 😀 In twenty years I’ll be a baby with wrinkles!
      Haha, 17 was tough, but I made it! The band was Kyo, a French group that I have loved since I was 11. It was about time to finally see them live!
      I hope that sleeping pill worked! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ❤ Yaaay! I think this crap is a chronic disease, so it will always come back in some form after a stressful period. But that's always better than people who haven't been able to leave their house in like, 15 years or so! Sweet jaysus, I think you and me both are doing everything to prevent THAT from ever happening :). Hahaha, a baby with wrinkles! Like a kobold? 😉 Haha! I actually vaguely know them :). And that's awesome! Nah, wide awake at 4:30am again, but pfflrt, it's the thought that counts! Or something :D.


  12. I already said happy birthday on twitter but I’ll say it again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY 😃
    I totally have to agree with you on the whole loathing in self pity because of other people’s accomplishment at your own age because I do it all the time! It sucks and we really shouldn’t lol. I love your 26 accomplishments though, they are great and defiantly focus on more of those this year than all the rest ☺️☺️🎉


    1. Thank you!!! 😀 Comparing ourselves to others does suck! But I promised myself to focus on me, me and me this year and to try and have a nice year. I don’t need impressive and crazy experiences to make it a good one! 🙂 (except crazy food experiment because I love them, haha)


  13. Happy birthday Donna! I hope you do have a great day, I turned 26 earlier this year in June and it is quite scary, slowly getting older and realising birthdays are never going to be as fun as when you’re younger and you still get party bags when it’s all over!
    But I love your list of achievements, you’ve managed to accomplish so much and you should definitely be really really proud of all that. There’s some things on your list I definitely want to say I’ve done, skydiving for one!
    Happy birthday again! Hopefully you accomplish a lot more in your 26th year as well! 😀


    1. Thank you! and very very very belated happy birthday, haha! It’s funny we’re a few turning 26 this year 🙂 Exactly! Now we’re just celebrating getting wrinkles, haha. Thanks so much, it did cheer me up to make that list. All I’m hoping for this year is to be just fine! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh thanks Donna! Yeah I noticed a few other peopke turning 26 in the comments of your post, there’s a few of us out there! 😀
        I don’t know if I’ll ever celebrate gettign wrinkles but I know what oi mean.
        It’s a good thing to hope for. I hope it’s a good year for you as well! 😀


  14. Happy birthday! I’m also not a fan of my birthday. It just doesn’t feel special, and I feel pressured to ‘have fun’ or whatever, and other people understand having fun differently than me. I recent years because of my struggles and mental health issues, I started to dislike my birthday because of my group of friends that celebrate their bdays with a lot if drinking and partying, and I’m not that person right now, and they didn’t caught up with that. And they thrown me a surprise party this year and it was horrible…. oh well, I’m making it about myself now. Happy birthday, I love your post. Putting together list of all of your achievements is a great idea and shows you how much you did! Do not compare to others list. This one is yours and is amazing!


    1. Thank you!! Yeah, that pressure kills the fun. It is especially difficult when those around you have a different definition of fun… No, you can totally talk about yourself for as long as you want! Look at my post, it’s me and me and me all the way, haha. I love hearing from others much more than I like to talk about myself! I hate surprise parties! I hate surprise in general so. I need to know what’s planned and I can relax and enjoy better if it’s on my terms. You must have felt stuck!
      Thanks so much, this post was another big step in growing up and taking things a bit differently 🙂


    1. Hahahahahahahaha. Ritsumeikan, ca s’écrit comme ca se prononce 😀 Yep, alone in Japan! I never felt so alone that when I arrived in Osaka after a 18 hour trip and everything was Japanese (of course, in Japan… xD) Also, I never felt prouder to be French, haha! Pubs… You can never spend too much time there. The band is Kyo 😀 Sing with me!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Happy belated birthday Donna. Did you have a good day? I hope you did despite the fact that you aren’t a fan of birthdays:-)

    You have done so many cool things in your life. I am so envious of all the travel and living alone in Japan? I like the fact that you and your mum are that tight also. Great post. If I could send cake from Kenya to France then I would do it 🙂

    Cheers to many more great years and milestones.You deserve all the best that life has to offer!


    1. Thank you! 🙂 I had a very nice day, for a change!
      I admit I’m quite proud to have taken the chance to live in Japan, it was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot. My mom is my best friend, I have no idea what I’d do without her so I figured she had to be mentioned here 🙂 Cake!! I ate way too much, waffles and cake were on the table all day! Thank you so much!


  16. Don’t listen to your mind on this one, Donna, you’ve achieved incredible things! You’ve beaten two phobias, fought for your mother, and lived in Japan! That’s more than most people ever manage in their entire lives, never-mind in a tiny twenty-six years of their time! That’s amazing! You’re amazing! Who cares what other people have done? I bet some of them wish they’d done half as much as you have!
    And I don’t care if you don’t want to hear it, I’ll wish you a (late) happy birthday anyway 🙂 I hope the lemon cake was as awesome as it sounds! ^-^


    1. Thank you so much! You just put a smile on my face and it’ll stay there all day! 🙂 My mind lost this battle, thanks to you and all the lovely messages I received. Thank you 😘 The cake was so good I had to bake a second one the next day, haha!


  17. Happy birthday!🙌

    I used to love celebrating my birthday but I started dreading the day it will be my birthday again because I’m approaching 30 and haven’t achieved my so-called “life plans”..😿

    But I love this post, reminded me to always count my blessings. Life’s too short to ponder on what if’s and if only’s.

    I realized this post was 6 days ago and I’m just commenting now, lol. Hope you enjoyed your birthday.👍


    1. Thank you!!
      I find the big 30 to be extremely scary and full of pressure! It’s like we must achieve a certain number of things by then or it will look as if we have wasted our youth. I think we would all be happier if those ideas of what we need to do at a certain age just disappeared.
      I’m happy you liked this post, I wanted it not to be too depressing and to reflect what my life has been so far 🙂
      I had a wonderful day, thank you so much for commennting!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 🙂 Writing the list made me realize I had not entirely wasted my time, and it is exactly what I needed. A reminded that small and big things make a good life! That is so nice! I avoid phone calls during my birthday, haha!


  18. This is the most uplifting thing I’ve read in a long time. It’s so hard not to wallow in the “holy crap I’m this old and haven’t accomplished much” anxieties; the next time I get attacked by them, I’ll be rereading this post and coming up with my own list. Thank you for sharing your accomplishments (which range from awesome to *awesome*; living alone in Japan? That sounds terrifying and AMAZING), and showing me how to deal with my own wallowing.

    Belated happy birthday, and congrats on having done so much in your life already! May you accomplish many more amazing things in the next twenty-six years. =)


    1. Your words went straight to my heart 🙂 Thank you for reading this post. I hope it helps you a little too. Writing the list made wonders on my mood and I did not fear my birthday the same way after preparing the post. The feeling we *need* to achieve many things deemed fantastic by others/society each year in order to believe we haven’t wasted our days puts so much pressure on us. Living in Japan is the craziest and most awesome thing I have achieved, it was a true milestone! Getting tipsy on your birthday and discovering you read Japanese better with alcohol makes for a great memory!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here’s hoping your birthday’s just another day from now on–or, better yet, a day specifically to reflect on your awesomeness. I’d support that.

        How long were you in Japan? I’m guessing you were in Kyoto?

        Oh man, maybe I need to resort to alcohol when I start picking French back up. That’ll make for fun experimenting. Thanks for the tip! 😉


        1. I was there for four months. I got sick and saw my visa terminated, preventing me from going back when I felt better. I was in Kyoto indeed 🙂 It’s one of the most beautiful cities, so traditional despite its touristic side. Haha, you’re very welcome. I would never have learned French if I hadn’t been raised here! It’s a terribly complicated language!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh man, that must’ve been devastating. I’m glad you had those four months, though.

            Yeah, some of those verb conjugations are tricky, and I’m ten years out of practice. Wish I could’ve grown up with it like you did! =)


  19. Happy Belated Birthday. Enjoyed your countdown of fabulous things you have done. You should celebrate your birthdays writing fantastic blog posts, like this one. Once I started reading, I was actually a little sad when it was done. Your way of


    1. Thank you! I think I will make a habit of writing positive posts for my birthday because I realized that, more than the relief it had brought me to face the day, it was the response it sparked from so many awesome people sharing their stories too, that had made this day more special than any other.
      I never saw my writing as something good, so your words went straight to my heart, thank you for your enthusiasm 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi, I just came across your blog and this specific post. First of all, happy super-belated birthday! You have a very impressive list of accomplishments! And to answer your question, no, I do not like birthdays because it reminds me that I’m a year older and have achieved nothing lol. I don’t know how a boring person like me even has a blog…!


    1. Hi! Thank you 🙂 Haha, don’t worry, you probably don’t count all the little things that should appear on your list. I still feel like I haven’t done much, and it probably always will. Boring people don’t have blogs 😀 so you’re not boring!


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