A few weeks ago I celebrated my 22nd birthday. Queue T Swift on repeat and me wondering where all this time has gone!
That also means it’s about a year since I had one too many glasses of prosecco and proceeded to spend the rest of the night knelt over my toilet. (Is there any other way to spend your 21st though?)
A lot has happened since that point. I’ve graduated from university. Started my first proper job. Moved to a new place. Ticked several cities off of my bucket list.
There’s been a lot of ups but I’ve also had my fair share of downs.
I still feel like I’m only pretending to be an adult. But I’ve also learnt a lot of important life lessons recently…*
*Small disclaimer before we start*
None of this is new. At all. But they’re all things I’ve lived this year. And they’re all things you can never ever hear enough.
Real friends will always be there.
I’ve always been a bit rubbish at keeping in touch with people. I really don’t mean to be I’m just very forgetful. But the great thing about growing up and finding real friends – they’ll always pick up the phone if you need them.
I know I don’t need to talk to my friends everyday. I don’t even need to see them on a regular basis. They’ve shown me that when I do need them they’ll be there. And when we do finally get round to seeing each other, there’s nothing to cheer you up like a good gossip.
You don’t need to follow anyone else’s timeline.
Being in your 20’s is a weird time. Some of my friends are settled down with kids. Others have flown to the other side of the world to escape all adult responsibilities. What I’ve learnt this past year is that both of those are perfectly ok options. Do what is right for you at that moment in time.
A few months ago I started resenting my friends who are already close to finishing their teacher training. I’ve always dreamt of being a teacher and seeing them get there sooner is a little frustrating. But I also know I’m not ready to stand in front of a class of 30 teenagers just yet. I’m happy I’ve chosen not to rush into a career because all my friends have. I’ll get there when I am ready and right now I’m enjoying life without those pressures.
Make the most of being young.
At 22 I am probably about a quarter of the way through my life. But I am still so young. It wasn’t until I entered the world of work that I realised how much time I still have ahead of me. I plan to make the absolute most of being young.
I have no commitments, no children to look after, no career to tie me to one place, there won’t be a better time to go out and explore the world.
I’ve always be one of these people who struggle to say no. But I’m slowly discovering how important that little word can be to your well-being.
Be selfish. Do only the things that bring you happiness. I was so worried about finally committing to my travel plans because it meant leaving my job, spending time away from home and I didn’t know how everyone else was going to take it. But in the end not doing it would have been the biggest mistake. You can’t miss out on opportunities for other people.
But equally don’t do anything if it isn’t what you really want.
Only use social media to benefit yourself.
I have a really love/hate relationship with social media. For a long time social media had quite a negative impact on my life. It would make me jealous, upset and feel pretty worthless. But I’m slowly learning how to use social media to enhance my life not detract from it.
Social media has become my go to for inspiration. Whether that’s travel goals, exciting new recipes or ideas for home workouts. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there. As well as an army of people ready to boost you up.
I’ve stopped my stalking (mostly). Cut out people who made me feel rubbish. And I’m focusing on creating and consuming content that makes me happy.
Exercise to feel good not just to look good.
I put on a fair amount of weight when I went to university. I hated the way I looked. Taking photos stood next to my slimmer friends was horrible and I was really worried about what other people thought.
I started running to try to lose some weight. But my motivation would go when I didn’t see immediate results. I just couldn’t stick to it.
I needed to change my mindset. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do but focusing on what my body was capable of and not what it looked like was key. Now I workout because I love how powerful it makes me feel. Anything else is just a bonus.
Perfect photos really don’t exist.
I used to be soooo obsessed with taking the perfect photo for the gram. I had to have photographic evidence of every slightly interesting thing I did. Trying to get that perfect photo ended up ruining moments that should have been really special. Now I obsess a little less and enjoy a whole lot more.
Sure I still take lots of photos – who doesn’t! But it’s about getting the balance right. Snap away for a few minutes then put the camera away and simply enjoy the view.
It’s also about not caring as much what the photo ends up like. I always hated how photos of myself turned out. But I’ve soon realised not every photo needs to be social media ready – they can just be a way to capture a memory. Most of the photos I have of my graduation aren’t the best. But I know 20 years down the line I’ll be glad to have something to remind me of that day.
Don’t take family for granted.
Family is everything to me. But for some reason it’s only when you move away you realise just how important they are.
Your family is there through everything. From the big things to the seemingly small things. My mum’s always willing to go for a walk when I’m bored at home. I’ll send my sister a picture for an honest review before I buy an outfit. They’re the only people who truly know everything you’ve been through and they’ll still love you no matter what. And remember family doesn’t always have to be blood relations either.
Here’s to the next 22 years! All my love,