Originally published March 26th, 2019
Guess what, blog readers – it was my birthday a few days ago! I turned 24, I ate lots of cake, and I spent my day walking around a massive stately home. It was honestly the dream.
Each time my birthday comes and goes, I get rather pensive about the year that’s just passed. 23 was a pretty good year for me, all things considered! However, the last 12 months were chock-full of life lessons and “interesting” experiences that taught me a lot. I’ve decided to record 23 of these revelations here for your reading pleasure! Full disclosure: I may have borrowed this idea from Taylor Swift’s “30 before 30” article. I have no regrets.
1) My body type has changed, and will continue to evolve – and that’s fine. I’m no longer a stick-thin teenager with an insanely fast metabolism. I’m curvy, and a bit squishy, and I’m learning to accept that’s okay.
2) Batch cooking is a lifesaver. I now spend one or two days a month cooking dozens and dozens of meals. That way, when Antony and I are super tired after work each night, we don’t have to cook from scratch! We’ve eaten fewer takeaways thanks to this new regime.
3) I don’t “owe” anyone a place in my life. If someone treats me like crap, I’m well within my rights to cut them out. Also, it’s okay not to give people second or third or fourth chances. They don’t always deserve them.
4) Being anxious is okay. I used to beat myself up so badly whenever my anxiety struck – and, of course, blame myself for it. However, I’ve learned to accept that anxiety is a natural bodily response. It’s okay to feel it. It’s less okay to let it rule your life.
5) People with different views to you aren’t evil – or even necessarily wrong. You only have to look at the comments section of any BBC News article to see that the world is a pretty divided place at the moment. There’s such an “us against them” mentality! I’m trying not to let myself get caught up in the fever-pitch-emotion of it all, and look at things from other people’s perspectives instead. I still think we should stop Brexit, though. Fuck Brexit.
6) It’s okay to take time to wind down. Especially when you’re self-employed, there’s this expectation that you’ll be working – or, as everybody seems to call it, “hustling” – 24 hours a day. Turns out that’s a super unhealthy way to live. Relaxing is good! Let it happen!
7) Social media is generally awful. I actually deleted my main Facebook account shortly after my 23rd birthday because it was making me feel so shitty and inferior. Sometimes, I honestly wish that social media hadn’t been invented.
8) I’m allergic to Japanese knotweed. Who knew? I certainly didn’t, until I came into contact with some of the stuff and my left eye swelled shut. Not a great look when you’re heading to a friend’s engagement party…
9) Working remotely has its downsides. Turns out that interacting with other humans face-to-face can actually be fun and rewarding. That’s not always possible when you work remotely, and it sucks.
10) Sometimes, you have to make things happen, and not just trust that they’ll happen by themselves. For a while now, I’ve been drifting along in this bubble of “I’m going to write a novel one day! It’ll happen”. However, I’ve recently realised that it won’t just happen by itself – I actually have to, um, write the damn thing.
11) I much prefer TV shows to movies. Films are just such a commitment! I’d rather binge-watch ten episodes of Queer Eye than sit and watch a film from two hours that I may or may not enjoy.
12) Vegetarian cooking is surprisingly tasty – and easy to achieve. I’ve been trying to cut meat out of my diet as much as possible, and it’s going pretty well! I’ll happily replace all red meat with halloumi for the rest of my life.
13) You don’t always have to give 100%. I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself to give 100% even when I feel capable of giving about 2%. I’ve only recently accepted that I don’t have to be on top form all of the time. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible.
14) There comes a time when you have to stop buying new books and read the ones you’ve got. I reached that point when I realised I had over 50 unread books on my shelf. Oops.
15) Office work is a lot more tiring than it looks. Some people assume that because you “just” sit at a desk all day, your work isn’t draining or energy-consuming. Yeah… That’s not how it works. I leave work each day exhausted.
16) Salmonella sucks. Wouldn’t wish that shit on anyone. I mean that in both a literal and metaphorical sense.
17) I’m probably never going to feel like a “proper adult”. When you’re a kid, you have this expectation that as soon as you’re 18, you’ll start feeling “grown-up”. In reality, I’m not sure that ever happens.
18) Never leave your cat alone with a ribbon. She will eat it and then vomit it back onto the carpet in the middle of the night. It’s not a nice “gift” to wake up to.
19) I will never get bored with rewatching the Keira Knightley/Matthew McFayden version of Pride and Prejudice. I bloody love that movie. I know this conflicts with my whole “I hate watching movies” point earlier, but this is the exception, okay?
20) I don’t have the time to look after long hair. It’s sad because I love how “princess hair” looks… But man, is it an effort to maintain! Blow-drying it legitimately takes about an hour. I don’t have time for that shit.
21) Sleep is really, really important to me. I genuinely cannot function without it. I envy people who can survive on just a little bit of rest each night. I need my 8 hours, or I’m a zombie the next day.
22) Box hair dye is the devil. My hairdresser has made me promise never to use it again, and I’m going to stick to it. My hair turned black because of that stuff, even though I’ve never actually dyed it black in my life.
23) Moving across the country is more stressful than every exam I’ve ever taken put together. Especially when you accidentally leave all of your teabags in a cupboard in Durham, and you’re now in the East Midlands. You can’t exactly nip back and retrieve your Assam.
Have any of you guys learned any big (or little) life lessons lately? Share them with me in the comments below!