Thoughts on Turning Thirty-Three

With another birthday on the horizon, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on the things that I learnt this year, which have hopefully made me a little wiser as well as older. As I love topic-themed lists there are thirty-three lessons for turning 33. Mostly I feel like I’m making progress towards my favourite Buddhist philosophy:

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.”




  • Moving across the world has been the best decision I ever made in terms of personal growth and abandoning my comfort zone.
  • It takes around year to establish and re-create a life in a new place.
  • It’s ok to change your mind– about where you live, what you do for a career, who you spend your time with… what you want for dinner.
  • Listening more closely to my body has allowed me to feel fitter, healthier and happier than ever before. I now eat only when I’m hungry, regularly practice yoga and rest when I need to.
  • I am passionate and interested in so many things, but I feel less stressed and more fulfilled when I allow myself to focus my energy on one thing at a time.
  • I’m incredibly judgmental and impatient and am working to improve both of these.
  • I will never tire of traveling the world.


  • But Tasmania is still the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen on this Earth.
  • And there’s nothing quite like friends from Australia. While I love meeting people from a range of countries and especially from Finland, nothing quite compares to the comfort I feel at hearing an Aussie accent or the implicit understanding of things from back home.
  • I’ve never experienced truly cold temperatures before moving to a place that consistently gets below -20.
  • And I’ve never really experienced changing seasons properly. Helsinki has defined and stunning seasons, from snowy winters to midnight sun in summer and beautiful reds, oranges and yellows in autumn, the changing of the seasons is truly spectacular. Having said that, seasonal defective disorder is something to be wary of!
  • Finland’s forests are beautiful, right on the Helsinki’s doorstep an full of delicious mushrooms and berries– which you can pick all over the country thanks to everyman’s right.
  • Walking on the frozen sea is an incredible experience. Ice-skating on it is even better. Cross-country skiing over frozen lakes is the best.


  • Spending a night in a castle made of ice can only be topped by drinking blueberry vodka from ice shot glasses.


  • I previously did not do enough for the planet and took the pristine environment I grew up for granted far too often.
  • Working towards producing less waste can be rewarding yet challenging and I shouldn’t feel guilty for not being perfect.
  • Working in the garden and making things with my hands makes me happier than most other activities.

me garden

  • I’ve been spoilt for space my whole life, large houses, big backyards and beaches at my front door. But living in a small apartment has taught me I don’t need much space to be happy. My 52sq meter apartment now feels huge.
  • I’d love to build and live in a tiny house for some part of my life.
  • Letting go of stuff becomes extremely easy with practice.
  • In fact, I’ve come to finally realise that ‘stuff’ doesn’t matter at all to me– only people and experiences do.
  • Shampoo is over-rated.
  • Python is more elegant than R, and I want to master it.
  • Living in a land on introverts, who value personal space and privacy above many other attributes has helped me accept that side of my personality.


  • But traveling through the boisterous land of Italy also makes me feel at home.
  • There are places that are more expensive to eat out than Australia. There’re collectively known as Scandinavia.
  • I’d never had a proper weekend brunch before moving to Kallio.
  • Coffee can be disgustingly made and still ridiculously addictive.
  • Change and letting go can be hard but not as hard as you build it up to be.

  • Fleetwood Mac’s lyrics resonate more strongly with me every year.
  • But Bon Iver’s re: stacks is still my all-time favourite song and I can (and regularly do) play it on repeat without ever tiring of it.
  • If you consistently don’t love what you do everyday then you need to make a change.
  • Sometimes love is not enough. This is the biggest and hardest lesson I learnt this year and I will dedicate an entire post to it soon.