I’ve taken a break from blogging over the last few months, and during that time, I turned twenty-five years old. Every year when my birthday rolls around, I get a bit pensive, and start thinking about what I’ve achieved over the past year. It’s usually not much, so I usually get a bit bummed out. As it happens, this year was a great one (I found the person I want to spend forever with, I found a job I truly enjoy, I removed myself from unhappy situations and I finally laid some of my demons to rest), so this got me thinking about how, for twenty-five years of life, I’ve actually learnt a lot. I may still be in an entry level job, I may still be living at home with my parents, I may not have a lot of the things I always thought I would have by the age of twenty-five; nonetheless, I’m happy with where I am and what I’ve learnt and who I am becoming, and I felt like imparting some of my wisdom (lol) with you all.
Wash your face, drink water, eat your veggies and moisturise your skin. That healthy glow comes from within, but you’ve got to look after the outer surface too.
Nobody cares if you have no make up on. If you feel that you need to put makeup on to leave the house, just know that you definitely don’t. You don’t need to be pretty all the time. You don’t need to be pretty at all.
You get what you pay for. On one hand: less pay, less pay-out — I love Primark, but I don’t expect my purchases to last more than three years at most — but on the other hand: if you’re daft enough to pay out the ear for a “gourmet” meal of teeny tiny portions laid out all posh because it makes you feel all boujee, you should probably try to learn something from that rumbling tummy on the way home.
Wear what you want. Do what you want. Listen to what you want. Don’t pass up on an opportunity of any kind for fear of embarrassment or ridicule. Which leads me to…
It’s only embarrassing if you’re embarrassed. I’m very difficult to embarrass because I simple don’t let myself feel that embarrassment. I’m weird and silly but I’m just having fun. I’m proud of my hobbies and my music taste because I enjoy them. Why would you be ashamed of something you’re passionate about?
You are the person who is most bothered about your flaws. Your stretch marks? Nobody else notices them. That pimple on your forehead that you can’t stop picking at? Reality check: nobody cares, it’s just a spot! Hormonal and bloated and feeling like a beached whale? You actually don’t look any different.
Read, read, read — and then read some more. I’ve taken so much sheer joy from reading. You will visit amazing places, meet incredible characters, go on crazy adventures and learn a lot along the way, including an extensive vocabulary (and all from the comfort of your own home).
Nobody will care which group you were in at school once you graduate. The Mean Girls-esque hierarchy about who you sit with in the canteen is such a farce. It doesn’t matter if you were one of the weird emo wannabes (that was me!) or one of the cool group who went to parties every weekend, because once you’re out in the real world, everyone is on an even playing field.
Things will not go to plan. No matter how much you plan down to the very last infinitesimal detail, you can guarantee that something will go wrong. That annoying little thing called Life likes to get in the way.
Smooth seas do not a skilled sailor make. I’ve accepted that things won’t ever go exactly how I want them to and I’m a lot less stressed because of it. The difficulties you face in life are opportunities to learn and grow.
Your story is not linear. Some time ago when I was struggling with my depression and anxiety quite a lot, I read in a self-help book that recovery is not a straight incline, but rather a spiral. It’s not a great analogy, but it led me to think that life doesn’t follow a straight road. Mine has squiggled all over the page and thrown some really big bumps my way but, as cringey as it sounds, I’d like to look back on my life when I’m a ripe old age and think, “Shit, that was wild”, rather than, “Well, that was easy.”
You are only the main character in your own story. Nobody else’s. I think because you spend literally every minute of your life in your own head, it can be hard to truly, truly appreciate things from someone else’s point of view. Empathy can be hard.
Nobody has any obligation towards you. Even if you feel like they owe you. Do not give to receive; do not do something nice for someone with the expectation that they will do the same for you, because they don’t have to. It’s a hard pill to swallow.
Your mum is always right. The sooner you accept that, the easier life will be!
We are all only human. Even the most perfect superhuman people you know make mistakes, bad decisions and poor judgement calls. Let them make mistakes, and let yourself make them too.
Mental health is not an excuse. I have had a number of “friends” treat me atrociously in the past and consequently hide behind their mental health conditions. I have a lot of sympathy with how difficult having mental health struggles can make life – I live with these struggles myself, the same as anyone – but it is no excuse to being a shit person. Ever. (I wish I could spill the tea here SO MUCH but even I think that would be too petty!)
Be humble enough to better yourself. You’re not perfect, and if someone calls you out on your shit, do not be so arrogant that you don’t listen. If you think they’re wrong, then carry on doing you, but if they have a point, take that criticism and make it constructive.
Trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is. It can be easier to ignore your instincts rather than face something that will rock the boat, but it will only cause more damage and upset (mostly for you) in the long run.
Be smart enough to walk away. When someone is causing you more grief than happiness, or the trust between you has been broken, do yourself a favour and walk away. You can pretend as much as you want, but once that trust is gone, it won’t be the same, and that constant reminder lurking at the back of your head will only hurt and exhaust you.
Be wise enough to let someone go. If someone doesn’t want to be in your life anymore, that’s it — you can’t make them. And to be honest, why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t really want to be with you? Accept no less than 100% wholehearted enthusiasm.
Don’t beg. Ever. If you have to beg, it’s not worth it. If you have to persuade someone to stay in your life, to stay with you or to keep being your friend, they clearly don’t appreciate you as they should. I’ve done it before — twice — so take it from me: let them go.
Know your worth. You are worth much more than being someone’s second best. When you know it, others will recognise it intrinsically.
When someone values you, you will know it. Whether that’s a friendship or a romance, the people who care about you will make it very obvious through their actions AND their words. If you are doubting if someone cares about you as much as they say they do, they probably don’t.
You are not alone. No matter how much you want to be, no matter how much you think you have no support, no matter how much you distance yourself from others. If you need or want help, you need to find the courage to ask, because it will be given a lot more readily than you think.
You are 100% enough, exactly as you are. That’s not to say you shouldn’t strive to keep developing and growing; you are never a finished piece of work. But you’re probably already pretty great, and already within you is the potential to be anything you want and everything you will be, and anyone that matters to you will already see that. Never feel that you aren’t good enough, because if it’s meant to be, then you most definitely are.
What pearls of wisdom do you have for me?