21 Things I’ve learned in 21 Years

Okay, it’s a big wide world out there and full of life lessons to come, but here they are: 21 things I’ve learned so far in 21 years.

  1. Comparison is the thief of joy. With social media especially, it’s easy to look at someone we follow and believe they have it better than us, despite not actually knowing anything about them. Firstly, everyone has stuff to deal with and secondly, you cannot be them anyway. As good old Oscar Wilde said “everyone else is taken”.
  2. Open up and talk to people. Anxiety can make us feel so alone and isolated, but guaranteed there’s someone you know who’s going through something similar. It won’t get rid of it, but it can be really comforting. You’ve heard it before: a problem shared is a problem halved.
  3. Nature is therapeutic. Whether it’s a walk in country or by the sea, it’s a physical reminder of growth and change (this was actually the inspiration behind my most recent tattoo).
  4. Everything is better when you’re tanned 😉 fake tan…UV exposure is dangerous kids.
  5. Write down your thoughts and feelings.  It’s amazing to see how something you’re so worried about one year can be completely different to the next ( I’ve kept a diary for 14 years).
  6. Travelling is a wonderfully eye-opening experience, but it can also be really hard work; navigating round a new place, keeping track of money and sharing a room with 8 strangers certainly teaches you a lot of life skills!
  7. Stay connected; having close friends is so valuable, so make the effort to keep in touch even if your lives take different paths (which they almost certainly will).
  8. Your physical appearance doesn’t define who you are as a person. I used to place so much importance on it as a teenager, but ultimately, we build a relationship based on the way someone is and how they make us feel, not because of what they look like.
  9. Guilt shouldn’t be the reason behind eating well and working out. If it is, you’ll never feel satisfied with your progress.
  10. Never hold back a compliment. Even if it’s to a complete stranger, it could make their day.
  11. You can’t plan and predict everything. I spent 20 years thinking I was an only child, only to find out I have an older brother!
  12. Don’t ditch your best friends for your boyfriend. I think most 16 year olds are guilty of this.
  13. Sometimes painting can express something you can’t put into words. So if you have a creative side, don’t neglect it.
  14. ‘Healthy’ looks different on everybody. Both our minds and bodies all have their own individual ways of working.
  15. Counting calories makes you miserable. Food is meant to be enjoyed and nourish our bodies and brains, not to be typed into a calculator.
  16. Listen to your gut instinct, it’s there for a reason. Our bodies reflect subconscious feelings that our brains may not acknowledge.
  17. You don’t have to have one set career path. Life isn’t an emergency and great things take time (it took four years for Da Vinci to paint the Mona Lisa!).
  18. Be a 3-dimentional person. Build up a variety of hobbies and learn new skills, it opens up so many more opportunities, connects you with new people and makes life far more interesting.
  19. Love makes you vulnerable but it’s important not to close yourself off from it for fear of rejection, heartbreak or losing people close to you. One of my favourite shows is ‘First Dates’; people of all ages and all walks of life, opening up to complete strangers in hope they may find that connection. It’s in our nature to seek love, so embrace it when you find it 🙂
  20. Generally, your parents just want the best for you. You may not agree with them and that is totally fine, but respect their opinions all the same.
  21. You are capable of so much more than you think you are. “I can’t” and “yes but…” can become default beliefs, but sometimes “why the f*ck not?” is far more beneficial.

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