Last month I turned 23...
The 15th of February to be precise. I was thinking about what sort of post I'd like to do to mark my 23 years in this world and suddenly started thinking about all the things I have done in my life so far. I've laughed, I've cried but most importantly I've learned. So what better way to celebrate my 23rd birthday on my blog than sharing my top 23 lessons I've learnt by the age of 23.
1. You're never too old to dream.
This is probably the most important lesson I've learnt throughout my life. I've always been a dreamer - not necessarily someone who always makes their dreams come true, just someone who always spend their time dreaming up a storm. For those of you who know me well, you know I love to dance. It's something I loved as a child however growing into an adult, I thought it was something I'd have to give up and forget about. However recently I came across the amazing Kate Flowers, who has inspired me to keep dancing. I may not do it as my profession but attending adult dance classes and continuing to dance has always been one of my dreams.
2. You're stronger than you think.
I have been blessed with a pretty stable life - thankfully my health is relatively okay and so is the health of all of my close family and friends. However, that doesn't mean that my life is easy all the time. Sometimes, people have to make difficult decisions, or are put in situations when they don't really have any good options. When you're caught up in these situations, sometimes you think you're not going to get through or you're not a strong enough person to make such decisions. However when you're forced into these situations you'll probably surprise yourself with how strong you actually are.
3. Failing is okay.
This is something I have come to terms with more recently. I have always been a perfectionist and failing has never been an option for me. I always thought that if I failed at anything it would mean that I am useless, stupid or unworthy of something. But this is certainly not true. Just because you've failed it doesn't mean you are anything less than anyone else. If anything you're stronger because you failed once, but that isn't going to deter you, you try again and that takes a lot more than just succeeding the first time.
4. Crying does not make you weak.
This lesson is pretty simple - it's okay to cry. In fact sometimes it can even feel pretty good to cry. Bottling up your feelings will only make you feel worst. So cry, shout or even scream. Just make sure you get it all out. You'll feel better, I promise.
5. It's about the little things.
It's not about having the perfect career, looks or life. I always used to think "I'll be happy when..." but I realise now that's no way to live. You can't postpone happiness. I've found that things that really make me happy are the little things - cozy winter nights in watching movies; the way the sun pokes through the sky after a long, grey day; the smell of freshly cut grass in the summer; and a tub of ben and jerry's cookie dough ice cream.
6. Don't take it personally.
I'm the first person to take any sort of criticism personally. Even if it's not about me as a person. I don't know why, I just automatically take it to heart (definitely not my best quality). Even though nine times out of ten it is about me as a person at all. I'm just thinking about it way too much. Just stop dwelling on criticism and taking it in a negative light. Instead, use it to improve and learn.
7. You don't need a set "style".
I've always thought I needed a set style, like I either had to be wearing floaty floral dresses and dolly shoes or a leather jacket and a band tee - I shouldn't ever do both. But now I know better. Now I know that mixing and matching styles and fashion is better than any set style.
8. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else.
As cliche as this sounds comparing yourself to anyone else is such a waste of time. I admittedly still do this, however it's a lot of a rarer occasion than it used to be. Looking at yourself in this way is extremely unhealthy and can really damage your confidence and self-esteem.
9. You're never "too young".
This is something that used to cause me some problems - and I'm sure it will in the future. When I've explained to people - my dreams and what I want to do many times I have been met with the very unwelcoming "but you're so young". To be honest last time I checked, young was never a problem. So if you too are "young" don't let anyone tell you that you can't accomplish what you want because of your age.
10. You don't have to be a stereotypical "twenty-something".
I am nor ever have been a stereotypical twenty-something. I don't really enjoy going out all night partying, I don't drink irrational amounts of wine and I don't care too much about spending a whole lot of money when I don't have to. I'm not saying all twenty-somethings are like this, but I think a whole load more are than not. I would just rather go out and spend my money on doing something that's more of an experience like going hiking, saving up for an amazing trip, eat takeaway pizza and watch a whole series on Netflix.
11. Having hobbies is important.
Hobbies bring me so much joy and bring so much more value to my life. I only recently learnt this when I started working full-time. I spent so many hours at work and had very few hours left during the week to do what I wanted with. That's why I decided to embrace my hobbies again. In fact I spend more time on my own hobbies than I ever did before and I couldn't be happier.
12. Skincare is pretty important.
I never really used to care too much about looking after my skin - I wouldn't moisturiser or put on suncream or even use a daily cleanser. Yes, I was that bad. However after going to a lot of beauty blogger events I have actually learnt a lot about my skin. My skin may be fine now, but it's not always going to be this way especially if I don't look after it. Our skin needs to be looked after carefully with no harsh chemicals and no pulling and tugging (this can cause premature wrinkles!).
13. You can't just eat whatever you want anymore.
I wish this one wasn't true but it is. I can't just stuff my face with Mcdonalds and doughnuts anymore. I actually have to take care of my body and eat a whole lot of fruit and veggies (it's not actually bad as I thought it'd be). Fuelling your body with the right stuff can actually make a massive difference in feeling bleurgh and brilliant.
14. Not everyone is a dreamer.
For quite a long time I never really understood people who weren't dreamers, like me. Dreaming big is something I've always done and it's been something that has brought me tremendous happiness and motivation. However I've started to learn that not everyone does this or enjoys this. It's not because they're sad or miserable - they're idea of goals and dreams is just different from mine.
15. Bottling up your feelings is never okay.
It's far better to let out whatever you're feeling than just sit there and sulk about it in self-loathing way. It's only going to make you feel worst. Get things off your chest by talking to people and letting them know how you feel.
16. Talking to people is important.
Similar to the above point. Talking to people is important - not just to let them know how you're feeling but also just to have some human interaction. Even if you consider yourself to be more of an introvert, talking to people often is good for the soul.
17. Don't take your loved ones for granted.
This is a pretty obvious one but I didn't actually realise how much I needed everyone in my life until I had passed that awful "teen-angst" stage that everyone seems to go through. You may think that you can make it on your own, you probably can, but it's far easier and far more fun if you have people you love by your side.
18. Stop putting yourself down.
I cannot stress this enough. Putting yourself down is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. It can cause massive self-esteem issues and even affect your relationships. I understand, especially for people who struggle with this often, it's difficult to stop beating yourself up. I must admit, I still do it sometimes but not as much as I used to. By consistently and consciously checking your relationship with yourself, you'll realise that you aren't so bad and running around in this self-hating circle isn't doing you or anyone you love any good.
19. The sooner you accept your body type the better.
Again, this is something I still struggle with, however it is getting a lot better. I have finally come to realise that I am never going to be a size eight and that's okay. It's not because I am out of shape and a pig. It's because I am a 5 ft 9 woman who has rather muscular legs, wide hips and a big bust. That's just how I am structured. Of course I can lose weight, but due to my bone structure and the way my body works I know I am never going to be petite and that's okay.
20. You will have bad days.
Not everyday is going to be amazing. It's okay to have bad days - everyone has them even if they don't admit it. Just don't let it get you down. Work through it and know that tomorrow is a new day, you never know what is waiting around the corner. So take your bad day in stride and make sure you stay positive. As I said, everyone has bad days.
21. You're never "too old" for things.
This is pretty similar to the point I made about being too young. Age is such an irrelevant thing. Just because you're over twenty, it doesn't mean you can't dress a certain way, do certain things or go to certain places. If I want to wear my minnie mouse inspired dress, eat popcorn out of a dumbo shaped tub and go to disney world I am going to. I'm not going to let my age stop me.
22. You don't have to be in your friends' pockets.
This is a pretty important fact of life I've learnt growing up. Just because you cannot spend every single spare moment you have with your friends it doesn't mean you're not friends. You're just all adults who know that you've both got different stuff going on right now so it's okay if you don't live in each other's pockets. In fact the best friendships I have are the ones where I don't see them for quite a while but then when I do it's like we never even spent that much time apart.
23. Live for yourself.
My most valuable and final lesson of this post. Always live for yourself. Do things for yourself - learn a new skill, undertake a new business venture, travel to a new place. Just do whatever it is that you think is going to make you happy. Don't live your life the way others want you to live it.