Tomorrow I turn 24 (eeek!). Most people get reflective over the new year, but for me, I see turning another year older as my very own personal new year. So here are some of the things I’ve learned over the past 24 years.
1- Hard work always pays off. It can often feel like you are putting so much effort and energy into something and not receiving any praise or rewards for doing so. You then see your peers putting in the minimal effort yet they seem to be thriving. BUT, they will be exposed and your hard work will shine. Keep going.
2- Say YES! It can be nerve wracking taking on a new opportunity and it can feel easier to shy away from it. But, if you don’t say yes, you never know what it could lead to! Push yourself outside of your comfort zone as you’ll only look back and regret the things you didn’t do.
3- BUT also learn how to say NO. I am NO quitter. People who know me, know that I will see a commitment through to the bitter end as I hate giving up on anything. But as I’ve got older, I’ve learnt the importance of saying no to things which no longer make me happy. Whether that is job, a relationship or doing something which makes you feel uncomfortable, have the strength to say no.
4- Keep a diary. I haven’t always kept a diary but I think it’s amazing to look back on your life and see how it has changed and developed. You can remember the good times and also see how you got through the bad ones. At the start of this year, I bought a One Line a Day dairy (available from Waterstones, Amazon, Oliver Bonas) which is a five year memory book. You can put a small insert in each day and compare the days over the next five years. Now let’s see what’s going to happen!
5- ALWAYS eat before a night out. “But you’ll get drunk quicker if you don’t eat.” No, no, NO! You will just get too drunk, too quickly and end up being sick (which is the absolute WORST on an empty stomach) and will have the world’s worst hangover the next day. Pre-eat while you pre-drink; you’ll be glad for it the next day.
6- Get to know people who are different from you. Whether this is in their career, their interests or where they are from, variety really is the spice of life! You can become a more well rounded person if you surrounded yourself with people from all different walks of life! And you might even learn something from them!
7- If it’s not going to matter 5 years from now, don’t waste more than 5 minutes being upset about it. This is one of my favourite quotes of all time. It is so easy to get upset or overwhelmed by something. But if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, will this really have an impact on your life? So have a little stress (or cry in my case) and then you can quickly move on.
8- Don’t worry about not being in a relationship. I went to a girls school so I wasn’t surrounded by many males as a teen. However, as you grow up you WILL meet many boys. And they will break your hearts. And then you will wish you didn’t know any boys. And then you’ll love boys again. This is vicious cycle of life…
9- Don’t compare yourself to others. This is something I have been most recently trying to embrace. As a 23 (very nearly 24!) year old, my friends and people I went to school with seem to be doing vastly different things. Some have thriving careers, some have children and some are travelling the world. And I’m not doing any of those things, but I need to focus on following my own path, even if I’m not too sure what that is.
10- Develop a thick skin. This is SO important. Coming from a performing background, I have been told “no” approximately 132040534 times. The thicker your skin is, the less it bothers you. Pick yourself up and keep going.
11- Embrace change. I am a creature of habit and I can often be set in my ways. But change can be exciting and it should be welcomed with open arms as you never know what it could lead to. I’m a big believer of if one door closes, another opens.
12- Give people a second chance and then STOP. Everyone makes mistakes. We are only human after all. I think everyone deserves a second chance. But is repeated behaviour really a mistake? If people keep taking you for granted, be brave enough to stop taking them back. If someone really loves you (whether that is a friend or boyfriend) they shouldn’t be messing you about.
13- Take a jacket with you on a night out.Why did I ever think it was a good idea to risk catching hypothermia wearing a tutu with hot pants and a skimpy top when it was SNOWING outside. No idea what was going through my head. But it is not cool being cold (pardon the pun).
14- Learn to enjoy your own company. Take yourself for a coffee or have a night in with a bubble bath and a glass of wine. If you can learn to enjoy your own company, you won’t need other people in your life. They can just be a positive addition and not something you rely on for your happiness.
15- Love your body. Everyone always wants what they can’t have. “I wish I was taller” “I wish I had a smaller nose” “I wish I had bigger boobs”… everyone has their own hang-ups. But remember, these things make you, YOU! embrace them, because they could be the very thing someone could love most about you.
16- Don’t let other people define you. Other people will always having an opinion on you. And people just LOVE to share it! But don’t let someones opinion be your reality. You know who you really are.
17- Tough times never last. When things get tough, it is hard to believe it will ever end. But when you look back in your life, you have already overcome so many challenges. And those experiences will make you stronger, and will make the good times even more special.
18- It’s never too late to try something new. If there is something new you want to try whether that is a hobby or even a full on career change, don’t be afraid to go for it! You never know what could happen…
19- Don’t wish time away. I am definitely guilty of wishing my shift at work would end more quickly, or wish my holiday would come around sooner. When I was 20 I just wanted to be 21. And before you know it, time as flown by. So try live in the moment as it is gone far too quickly
20- Be a cheerleader for your friends (even if you want what they have). Be excited for your mates when they get their dream job! It sounds obvious, but when their dream job is also yours, it’s easy to feel a little bit (or VERY) jealous. But you love them and you want to see them happy! And when you give them that support you will see what joy it brings to them, you’ll realise that’s what you actually care about. And one day you’ll be thankful when they cheer you on in the same way.
21- Be kind to everyone you meet. Firstly, you should always be polite and kind to anyone (within reason of course!). It costs nothing to be kind after all. But you also never know who someone is or who they may know. Don’t underestimate people as they could be the one to change your life.
22- Don’t take your health for granted. This is the most recent thing I’ve learnt. I have been lucky enough to have good health almost my entire life. More recently I haven’t had to make some temporary adjustments to my lifestyle due to a small dip in my health and I realised just how lucky I’ve had it.
23- Travel as much as you can, as often as you can. There are sooo many places I want to explore and travel to. I’ve made it a priority for the last year and a half, to save my money towards trips away. Spending money on making memories and having incredible experiences is far more enriching than on material possessions.
24- The importance of good eyebrows. Enough said.