I’ve been kicking around a few drafts for posts since I wrote about the #noexcuses mentality of the fitness industry. I’m not going to lie, they are all on the ranty side. “This makes me angry”, “that is not okay” and so on. The thing is, I’m not feeling it this week. I’ve had a good week and what I really want to do is write something positive.

Good weeks come in many forms. It might be your birthday, it might that weird all-round, can’t put your finger on it sense that things are going your way, or maybe you were extra efficient this week and for once feel on top of things. The past week or two, for me, have been extra special. My PhD has been accepted by the university, has been deposited in the research repository in the library and has been printed and bound in hard cover. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. My dreams that is. In a few short weeks the letters PhD will be an official tag-line after my name, and in a few months I get to wear a stupid hat and a long robe while my kids watch me receive my “merit” certificate. (Are school assemblies really just about preparing kids for their big day?)

Getting my PhD was not a straightforward process. I’m sure those that know me got to the point of being too afraid to ask about it.

That’s because it took ten years, part-time but still, an entire quarter of my life. No one can fault me for determination. A few did though, because of course, while I was studying, raising two children, teaching taekwon-do, doing three black-belt gradings and generally living, my PhD took longer than I thought it would, longer than some thought it should, and certainly didn’t earn me any money.

What do I have to show for it? A shiny hard copy thesis that will never be read again (possibly my most beloved possession, Stockholm Syndrome anyone?), a new certificate for the wall but most importantly, triumph.

Nothing from here on in could be as exhausting, daunting or relentless as the past ten years.

That sounded a bit ranty right? Sorry.

Today, instead of downgrading or dismissing what has been a decade of work, I am openly expressing my joy, relief and I’m not afraid to admit it, pride, at what I have achieved. More than that, I want to acknowledge that I’m not the only one. Apart from the other postgrads I have met along the way—all of whom are also juggling work, family, study, finances, health and all the things that can derail us—there are many women who are out there achieving, succeeding or generally killing it without realising how amazing they are.

Here’s a few examples from the people in my close circle:

1: Awesome physio helping women, raising a family and undertaking her SECOND masters degree.

2: Amazing friend high up in industry, advocating for women in the workplace, raising money for women and infant research, oh and casually caring for kids and running marathons.

3: A group of mums from taekwon-do who recently graded to black belt. This is a HUGE achievement that takes years of work, dedication and study on top of family and work.

I could go on.

Women so often underestimate and under-appreciate the things we do and things we have achieved. Yes, men do lots of things too (sigh), but they are constantly told how awesome they are (by others, and often by themselves).

So while I know it’s a bit of a social faux pas to pat yourself on the back. I’m going for it today and have a few spare pats for the other amazing women in my life.