So, I am 22 today (June 7th) and this little fact is freaking me out a little. Age is a funny thing. It is so strange that when you're little you think being an adult must be the best thing in the world and then when you finally are an adult you feel like you have been cheated. This is not what I signed up for. I am not one for birthdays, I don't like fuss and parties and things like that, hence why I am on a train to Belgium as we speak. It is still nice to do something and I prefer to be away, travelling and doing things I love, like exploring a new country. This is an uncharacteristic post for me, but I thought in honour of my birthday we could discuss some of the things I have learnt after 22 years on this planet.
1. Sometimes you have to do things you just don't want to do. It sucks but you just have to get on with it, for me this is usually some form of paperwork or socialising. So many forms, phone calls, emails and everything else that I hate. But the same goes for exams, meetings, appointments and the like. I am sure everyone can relate to this.
2. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. You never know if you will get that chance again and life is not only short, but it can be hard. It is better to have no regrets. Plus, we can take a lot of things for granted so just appreciating the good stuff when it comes our way is a small reminder of how lucky some of us are.
3. No matter how bad you feel it can always be worse. Thinking this and reminding myself of this usually helps me a lot when I am going through a bad time. Everyone has problems and everyone is going through something, not just you so make like a boss and put a smile on your face if you can.
4. Any text or form of communication that takes half an hour to craft, and an extra half an hour of deliberation before pressing enter, isn't worth sending. I like to be straight with people and have very little tolerance for bullshit, in conversations, friendships and relationships, so having to think so hard before I communicate is a deal breaker for me. You should be able to say what you feel and be honest with everyone important to you in your life, in an ideal world at least.
5. Trust is earned. I find it very hard to trust people, and that is just the way I am. It takes a lot for me to trust someone, and this is a matter of protection. I would hate to share something with somebody and for them to then abuse that trust would destroy me. Consequently, I act in a way that it would be almost impossible to break my trust as I trust so few people in the first place. This is definitely a lesson I learnt the hard way, just petty high school stuff that meant nothing at the time but taught me something very important about life in general.
6. When you look good, you will feel good. Similarly, when you look terrible you will feel terrible. I put little effort into my appearance currently, but at university to get myself excited about the day I would style potential outfits and spend a good ten minutes inches away from the bathroom mirror trying to perfect a winged eyeliner. I would feel much better about myself and the day ahead when I took these extra steps. In addition, showers are miraculous. The spray of hot water is so therapeutic.
7. Being effected by the words and actions of other people is a choice. Another lesson I learnt the hard way, as a result of spending a fair amount of time with people that just spew vemon out of their mouths is that words can't hurt you. It took a long time for my skin to get thicker and for the unpleasant words to just slide right off me. What they say can't hurt you, you have to give power to their words and actions to allow them to hurt you. It is all in your control. One thing I like to remember is Jinx from RuPaul's Drag Race, when the judges would critique her she would repeat "Water off a duck's back", to remind herself that their words did not have the power to hurt her.
8. People change; you can never really know someone. It is silly to think that everyone stays the same, and that includes yourself. I know I feel no different to how I was when I was 17, but you go through so much in just a year that it is inevitable that we all change in some way as time passes. As a result, sometimes we lose touch with close friends or find we don't have anything in common anymore and that is okay. This point also relates to the difference between a person's reality and what they decide to show you. You never see the full picture so don't assume and try not to compare your reality with someone else's highlight reel. Trust me, it's messy everywhere not just in your mind.
9. Everyone is different, they have different ideas and different morals and values. I am not saying the way that other people behave or feel is wrong, it is just that I learnt that people differ insignificant ways too late. People do not act the way you would act in the same situation and this can reveal itself in the most surprising ways so you feel like you have been slapped in the face. It is a tough lesson but you just have to move forward and silently note that revelation for future reference.
10. Be careful what you say to people. Words are easily misconstrued and can be twisted and manipulated to paint you in a bad light and cause a tornado of ridiculous drama. If in doubt, don't say anything. Channel your inner Mariah and just say "No comment".
11. Stay true to yourself. I know what it is like to want to fit in, and to feel pressure that you're not normal for your age, or group or whatever. But if you convince yourself to do something or go somewhere, or even wear something, that you don't want to you'll just feel shit throughout the entire ordeal. Stick to your guns and listen to your gut. Don't feel guilty or embarrassed and if that fails compile a list of excuses to get you out of sticky situations if you don't feel comfortable saying "That's not my thing."
12. A relationship only exists if two people are invested in it. This goes for friendships just as much as relationships. Both require two people to care and put in effort, otherwise it is not worth it. Save your time and energy on people who are just as invested in you as you are in them. Never ever settle for less, and think you deserve it. You don't, and if all else fails get a dog. Dogs are 1000% better than people and they will teach you how awesome you are.
13. Music is the best distraction and the best healer. A good song can turn my whole day around, if I have a lot playing on my mind I just go out, put my earphones in and wander about aimlessly. It is bliss and is the only thing I have discovered that frees my mind from my problems. Books can work too, but they are harder work. Music and a good goofy dance session is heaven.
14. Travel every chance you get. Nothing beats the excitement that runs through my veins before I embark on a new adventure. I never feel more awake than the second I am seated on an airplane about to take off. Granted, a lot of that is due to the very real concern that I am about to die but mostly it is just excitement. I love travelling, I don't know specifically what it is that makes me love it so much. Probably just the sheer size of the world and there is nothing better for me than staring at the bottomless, shimmering depths of the glorious ocean. It feels so liberating. Every place I go I feel like I learn more about myself, in a way that I don't even notice. Also, you make fantastic memories.
15. A lot of the time the things that bother you now will have no meaning in the next month. Trying to look at things from a long-term perspective cuts the amount of time I waste worrying about meaningless, silly things. I worry so much and for what? A lot of it doesn't matter or are things I have no control over, why create things to worry about that will make no difference to your life?
16. Time enjoyed wasting is not wasted. One of my favourites, I enjoy "wasting time", some of my best memories are from "wasting time". So I have come to the conclusion, that it wasn't wasted. At the end of it all, it is your life, so absolutely do what you want to do. Binge watching Orange Is The New Black and Sex in the City were two of the best decisions I've ever made. Sunbathing, wandering, spending ages choosing a tumblr theme, are all brilliant ways to spend time in my opinion.
17. We all have to live at our own pace. This goes back to comparison and how I think we all feel like we are behind our peers. Trust that you are in the right place right now and that you are doing what you should be doing. It's okay to not be married or in your own house or without a car etc. live your life for you and not for other people.
18. A good friend is hard to come by. So rare, I have never been a person with a million friends. I am usually well liked by most people (as far as I know) as I don't tend to get involved, but a good friend, i.e. someone you can trust and someone you would share your deepest, darkest secrets with, is a rare commodity. Mostly because these kind of friendships take a lot of something unnameable to get you to that point. There about three friends that I would consider true, good friends. People that I would drop everything for to make sure that they are okay, friends that when they're sad it makes me sad. So cherish those friendships, and make sure you're just as present for the good as you are the bad.
19. Don't be hesitant to put yourself first or in other words Treat Yo'self. Listen to what your body needs and try not to focus on doing what you think you should be doing so much. Your health and well-being is paramount, this doesn't make you selfish just smart. Don't be so hard on yourself and give yourself a break.
20. Thinking positively can change your entire outlook. Focusing on the positive and not dwelling on the negative has made such a huge difference to my day to day life. I just feel so much lighter now. I can't believe how much attention I used to give negative thoughts and events. Now, I just bury them and focus on something positive. If you can't change it there is no use in thinking about it.
21. Never lose sight of what is important to you. It's easy to get comfortable but if you have a particular dream or goal don't forget about it. Don't give up and keep taking steps to get to where you want to be. Remember why they were important to you in the first place, but it's okay if your goals and dreams change. As long as you are happy with where you are and where you are going.
22. Shake things up once in a while. On the same note as not getting too comfortable, it is easy to get lost in our daily routines and we forget that life isn't supposed to be a drag. Do something spontaneous, book a trip somewhere, look up deals on Wowcher, join a salsa class. Just do something.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post, I would love to know if you can relate to any of these, or the lessons that you have learnt so far in your lives. Please share them in the comments, I am away at the moment, but I promise to read and reply to them all this Friday when I am back. Happy Birthday to me, hope you're all having a lovely day so far. Take care.
What are some of the lessons you have learnt?