Yes, 22 years isn't a long time. To some people, I'm still a baby. However, I feel I've learnt a lot over the last few years (and some things through my whole life) and wanted to share my young words of wisdom. Here are 22 random things I've learnt so far in my 22 years on this earth.
- Do what makes you happy.
If running makes you miserable, find a new exercise that makes you happier. If you want to spend your Saturday curled up with Netflix and a takeaway - do it. In my opinion, not enough people take the time out to just do things that make them feel happy. When I've spent time doing things that make me happy, I feel more productive and satisfied with my life. Not to mention, well, happy!
- Not everybody in your life will be a positive influence.
This is something I've only learned over the last year. Sometimes, people will just bring you down. Whether they mean to or not, some people are just toxic - their lives, their outlook and their actions will make you feel less than yourself and it isn't okay. This year I learned that when people aren't helping you or improving your life in some way, it is okay to cut them off. Just cut off contact and move on - with better people who will let you be yourself and influence you in a good way.
- Be organised.
No matter what stage of your life you're in, you need to be organised. Thankfully, I've always been a planner and I've always been pretty organised, but it definitely gets better with age and as I get older, I understand the importance of keeping every aspect of your life organised.
- Speaking your mind is good; being offensive is not.
I'm the type of person that says what she thinks if a situation isn't going the way I think it should or if somebody isn't behaving the way I think is acceptable. In my younger years, I didn't see a problem with this but as I've gotten older, I realise that there are certain ways of communicating things without hurting somebodies feelings. I'm still up front about things, but I have found better ways to say it.
- You only have yourself.
Whilst it's nice to have a support system and perhaps it is essential for our mental health to have people around us, the bottom line is that you can only rely on yourself. I learned this repeatedly throughout my 22 years and whilst it is a hard lesson to learn, it will make things a lot easier, in the long run. In one way or another, people will always let you down. This is the hard bit to accept and maybe this has only happened to me but you are the only person you can rely on and the sooner you realise that the better. Similarly, nobody can make your dreams happen but you. Sure, people may help you along the way but essentially, nobody can attend that terrifying interview for you, nobody can go running in the morning for you. You're on your own. Family and friends can be a trampoline for you to help you get back up from whatever or whoever made you fall, but essentially, you are the only person to change how you feel and how you act.
- It's okay to not like clubbing.
When I hit the legal drinking age at 18, everyone around me was going out 2-3 times a week. At the time, I felt it was a great idea and spent many of my nights throwing up, falling over and generally making myself look classless and generally awful. A year or so ago I realised that I didn't actually like going out. I hated the culture of it in the UK. I hated the fact I'd spend the night making a fool of myself, spending far too much money and then spend the next day useless and unable to do anything but sleep. I realised it's okay to not like doing that anymore, despite everyone around me doing it every weekend. I feel that most people go out to fit in, whether they enjoy it or not. I'd much rather focus on the things that make me happy and working on my career and that's okay.
- Most men can't be trusted.
Yes, there are good ones out there, but they are rare. I learned this from not only my own experiences, but from watching those around me and it makes me sad but it is a truth I've now come to terms with. In today's culture, a lot of men think it's acceptable to lie and cheat and not respect the girl they're with - be careful who you give your heart to. The good ones are there, but they're hard to find. The wasted guy talking to every girl in the bar? Probably not going to be the person you want to give your heart to.
- It looks better in your bank than in your closet.
I'm a huge spender. On anything. Not necessarily a shopaholic, but I did used to waste my money on just about anything without really caring where it went or keeping track of it. I've slowly realised that maintaining a healthy bank balance and knowing you have a safety net is a lot better than having the latest pair of shoes or a new lipstick to add to your vast collection.
- Just because other women are bitchy, doesn't mean you have to be.
I've experienced a lot of bitchiness from women, but I've made a conscious effort not to behave that way towards others. We aren't in competition with each other - encourage the women around you to be themselves and encourage others, not put them down. If a girl gives you a dirty look because you walked confidently into a room? Smile at her and maybe even introduce yourself if you're feeling brave enough.
- If you see a boy being shady, keep it to yourself.
Many times, I've been outraged by boys being shady and doing inappropriate things and I've told their girlfriends because I hated seeing girls being treated that way and reasoned that if it was myself, I'd want somebody to tell me. I can count on one hand the amount of times this has happened, but every single time, the girl has ended up hating me because of it. Unless it's my closest friend, I won't be telling that girl I barely know that her boyfriend was trying to get me to go on a date with him - it backfires and chances are, she will stay with the guy and her & her friends will end up hating me, making any future encounters very awkward.
- Apologising is not a sign of weakness.
One of my pet peeves is people who apologise for everything they do wrong, even when they don't mean it - especially when they don't mean it. I only say sorry when I really genuinely mean it, otherwise it loses it's meaning. However, saying sorry doesn't mean you're weak. A big sign of strength and maturity is knowing when to give somebody an authentic apology.
- Send thank-you notes.
For everything. Somebody gives you a gift? Send a thank-you note. You attend an interview with somebody you admire? Send a thank-you note for their time. You're invited for dinner at a friends house? Send a thank-you note. Everybody appreciates a hand-written note. Invest in some nice note paper, possibly personalised if you find a design you like, and use it at every opportunity.
- Don't compare yourself to other people.
Especially people you see on social media. You're never going to have the same life, shoe collection or job as somebody else so stop lusting after their lives and work towards achieving the things you want. People present the best aspects of their life to the world on social media so don't think somebodies life is perfect just because you follow their instagram - chances are they have shitty days and insecurities just like everybody else.
- Failing isn't a bad thing.
I'm the kind of person who always learns from her mistakes. Okay, I admit, sometimes it may take me a few times making the same mistake before I actually learn anything but there is a lesson in every mistake, you just have to find it.
- The world doesn't care about you.
As harsh as it sounds, you're not nearly as important as you think you are. Stop worrying about what people think of you, because most likely they don't think anything at all. We won't be here forever. Work towards making yourself happy during this short time we have on earth. Most of us won't accomplish amazing things that will be remembered long after we die, but we can make the most of our time here by contributing to others where we can and focus on doing what makes you happy.
- Getting enough sleep makes a huge difference.
I get so much more done when I've had enough sleep and went to bed at a reasonable time. I feel refreshed in the morning and more likely to focus on the day ahead of me.
- Politics are important.
Vote. Every election. But know who you're voting for. Do your research and become interested in politics. It affects your life much more than you realise. Similarly, watch the news, read a news website - make sure you're aware of current events. It will help you in so many ways.
- Traveling is the best money you can ever spend.
I haven't been to anywhere near as many places as I'd like to. I'm lucky in that I come from a family who love to travel. I have my grandmother and mother's stories to keep my traveling bug alive until I'm able to go to all of the places I'd like to. Traveling enriches your life in ways you can't even imagine and the experience is much better than spending that money on a new pair of shoes.
- Not everyone needs to know your life on social media.
Thankfully, I've never been one of those people who post every aspect of their life on social media but in my life, I've seen plenty of people who do. Share the special moments of your life with those who you're close to, not people you went to school with 10 years ago. I use Facebook to speak to people through private message and to see what everyone else is up to, it's very rare I'll post something on my own profile.
- Putting your phone down every once in a while is okay.
I'm from a generation who are permanently glued to their phones. Sometimes its okay to leave your phone in the car and experience life around you without feeling the need to document every aspect of your day online. I wouldn't recommend leaving it at home if you're going out somewhere, however. It's no fun breaking down in the middle of nowhere with no phone to call for help.
- Forgive but don't forget.
Another cliche, but it's so true. Life is too short to hold grudges and lose people from your life because they once spilled red wine on your white carpet. Forgive people, but don't forget what they did (and maybe don't give them a beverage that stains next time they come around!) No but seriously, even the big things in life can be forgiven. Don't mistake this for being a doormat however - if somebody hurts you in a big way, it's okay to remove them from your life - but let go of the pain and forgive them. Holding on to hate will only make you feel worse. I was once watching a documentary on a young teenager who killed his best friend, for no apparent reason whatsoever. The father of the deceased saw the murderer years later, looked him in the eyes and told him he forgave him. It was one of my most memorable moments of TV and I'll never forget the courage and strength of that father.
- Exes are exes for a reason.
Once you've broken up with somebody, typically, they should stay in the past. Sure, there are times when people break up for reasons that can be fixed and they get back together years later and everything is fine and dandy. But generally, if it didn't work the first time, it probably won't work the second, or third, or forth time either.