Carpe Diem – Seize the Day!

When I look back, when I replay the years, I wonder to myself what are the things that have meant something special. I have been lucky enough to experience so many amazing things, see so many awe inspiring sights. These are the moments that I will take with me throughout my life, that I will look back at with a sparkle in my eyes and a warmth in my heart.

But what is interesting to me is that from all the moments I have relished, which have made my breath catch in my throat, it was a seemingly inconsequential one that held captive my attention last night. Actually, it wasn’t so much of a specific moment, rather some fond memories of a hobby that I began at four years old and I finally stopped just before I went to university, at eighteen.

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Me in my Character skirt before my Grade 4 ballet exam.

Ballet began, for me, as something I very much enjoyed but ended up loving. Initially, my attendance was most likely motivated by my mums’s wishes for me to take it up, however I would say that by the time I was merely five this passion was all my own. I remember my first proper trip into London, motivated by the amazing opportunity I had to dance at the Royal Albert Hall at nine years old. I can still taste the warm, ever-so-slightly crunchy glaze on my first ever Krispy Kreme and feel the wonder and awe as I took in the bright, delicious scenes of the bustling Harrods food hall. I recall the excitement and feeling of importance as I took my first ever journey in a black cab, seeing the people and lights rush backwards away from me in a rainy blur. But, although this day meant so much to me, it was not this one, nor any of the non-ballet related moments, that flashed back to me so intensely yesterday. No; it was a memory of one of our hour long fun but seemingly relatively inconsequential Friday night pointe classes, of which I have such fond memories.

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Me so overcome with excitement that I am smashing the Eiffel Tower.

What I remembered was the feeling of freedom and expression that non syllabus ballet brought; it was the bubbling laughter as we tried to squeeze ourselves into the English National Ballet tutus that were too small even for my sixteen year old body. It was the lightness of the sequence, that seemingly unimportant chasse pas de bourre, glissade, pas de chats that so unwittingly shaped me into who I am today.

This moment was so unimportant at the time; I did not stop and think about how lucky I was to be there, nor how I would always remember this moment in time, as I have done at plenty of significant moments in my life.

I remember as I stood on the Trocadero and took in my first ever view of the Eiffel Tower. It was something I had always wanted to see and the way the clouds were poised in the sky, the vast open space spanning below the giant metal structure – there was something about it that was so unbelievably perfect to me; it just took my breath away. When I close my eyes I can still see La Sagrada Familia as I saw it for the first time on a senior school trip to Barcelona. I can see every little detail, every minute crevice, every line and curve of the tiny statues within the massive stone towers. I can still hear the crash of the waves as I stood wide eyed looking out over the sea at Tulum in Mexico. I can feel the rough wood as I tightly gripped the banister of the steeply winding wooden steps down the cliff to the idyllic beach. I can taste the crack of hard chocolate and the creamy cold of ice cream as I watched, with eyes full of wonder, the spectacular firework displays in Disney, Florida. I can feel my bewilderment and explosive happiness as my brother and I walked in on my parents packing our horrendously coloured fuchsia suitcases (my parents insisted on them so that they would stand out) to take us on a surprise trip to Euro Disney and the shiny paper of the magazine, in which I coloured in the Lady and the Tramp as we rode the Eurostar. These moments mean so much to me, and even then at the time I knew how important they were; that these were moments I could revisit and experience no matter where I was in the world or what I was doing.
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The Semikins ride Splash Mountain

But from all these, it was that faint sound of laughter from that ballet lesson that took me back. And this has taught me something invaluable: Every moment is a treasure. I am the one that makes my own memories and that is what I need to do. Each moment is for the taking, it is up to me what I do with them. As much as I love to sit on the sofa and watch telly, there is so much outside that living room that I have yet to see. In such a small section of my life I have experienced so much, but there is so much more to experience. I want to live, and by that I really mean live. It sounds cheesy but I have so many hopes and dreams; there are sights I want to see, sounds I want to hear, smells I want to smell. I don’t want to find myself regretting the things I never did; the things I never did because of factors within my own control, like my laziness and aversion to movement.

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The Semikin clan repping Surrey at Magic Kingdom.

So amongst other things that I will be sharing over the coming weeks, this is one of my New Year’s resolutions. I will make an effort to seize the day, to live my life to the fullest, to go out into the world and do all things I have always wanted to do. I am young and I have little to no responsibilities; there is nothing holding me back – well, apart from a big-ass student loan. So farewell 2015, you ginormous asswipe of a year! You may have taken so much from me but 2016, you are mine for the taking and I am promising to get shit done! I hope to have many happy years ahead of me, for me to live, love and laugh, past the confines of the next 365 days; hundreds more chances to experience the awe-inspiring expanse of the Grand Canyon, the dulcet tones of whale song, the feel of warm sand between my toes, the tang of South American street food, the misty grandeur of the Taj Mahal, the cold white crispness of the Arctic, the orange gold hope of a Hawaiian sunset. But as much as my many years of life should be mine for the taking, who knows what could happen; I could get hit down tomorrow, my chances to go out into the world and experience living snuffed out in an instant. So with that in mind I will do my very best to live my life to the fullest, as though there is no tomorrow. I will not put off what I want to make of my life because if I do, well, I have no one to blame but myself.

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You are mine for the taking 2016, as evidenced by my New Year’s Day fortune cookie: “good news is coming your way.” Which is a much better outcome than my previous fortune cookie, which had a big fat nothing inside. And if I don’t get any good news in the next 7 days, I will be suing P F Chang’s.

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5 Comments

allison semikin

I love this piece Beth. 2015 was a pariticularly shi**y year but you rose to the challenge and kicked it’s fatass. A lot of those memories are mine too and are so special. It’s these memories and the desire to make more that get us through the darkest of days. For me it’s those walks we take on our holidays, along the beaches of Anna Maria Island, helping rescue turtles, spotting manatees and watching dolphins swim freely in the sea. Keep strong Beth, second phase almost complete!! Those new memories are waiting to be made!

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Naomi

You are an inspiration Beth. We should all look at life in this way and not be hamstrung by the pressures we call ‘life’. There is so much to experience if only we took the moments as they present themselves or in fact create them. Not because we are faced what you are facing but because life is too precious not to! For all of us. I’m right behind you in your new year resolutions and want to do the same…..because we all can! You go girl! You’re always welcome in Australia if that’s where you’re wishes take you!!! 😜 Big hugs from this side of the globe! Naomi XXXX

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Anne Jeps

May everyone feel your passion for life, Beth. Sending you love and blessings, thanks for sharing your inspiring thoughts, wishing you all good things for 2016 xx

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Marilyn Fletcher

Thank you, Beth. This is an inspirational and lovely piece. A real reminder that we should all seize opportunities. Keep us updated and take care xx
PS. The QQ I due back soon and I have done very little sewing. It won’t take long to catch up!

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Tracey McKinnon

We hope 2016 will be amazing for you Beth and much better than 2015! We know you have a few more challenges ahead but your blogs just prove – you can do anything and overcome these challenges. Well done for a well ,written piece again, it reminds us all we should make the most of every day we have!
Tracey, Joan, Josh & Jade

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