So, I’m just about to turn 27. Tomorrow is the big day! I’m one step closer to being thirty, and I’m just not feeling it. How are you supposed to feel in your late 20’s? I feel like I accidentally picked up someone else’s clothes in the changing room and put them on – just doesn’t feel right! I should be staying back on the other side of 25 forever – but we just don’t get that luxury, huh.
In my current 26 years, I’ve learned a hell of a lot. I feel like I’ve opened my eyes recently to many things, and I sometimes feel older than I am. Other times I feel younger. But I have always followed the motto that any experience in good experience – we learn from all experiences. I wrote a post about the most important lessons I should have learned sooner here. But in reluctant celebration of my birthday, I am going to share 26 life lessons learned to commemorate my years so far:
1. Being related by blood doesn’t make you ‘family’. Family are the people who are there for you, support and love you through everything no matter what.
2. I don’t have to fit in to make people happy; I make the right people happy by being myself.
3. There is no meaning to life. We end up in the same place as the rich and the poor at the end. We are all cogs in a very large and never-ending machine and when we die, it means nothing. But it’s important to then make what short time you have worthwhile with the people who matter. Don’t spend your life chasing fame and fortune – you can’t enjoy being rich when you’re dead, and you soon become forgotten despite the fame.
4. It is not my role to be married or have children. My ability to produce children doesn’t not make me more or less of a woman, and I don’t have to be married or have a family by a certain age. Society does not define when you are ready or even if you want to – you do.
5. The words of bullies do not represent who I am. I am worth much more than negative thoughts and words from people who are so uncomfortable in their own skin, they feel the need to make others feel worthless so that they feel something.
6. I don’t drink tea or coffee – and it’s a good thing because I don’t need to get sucked into the tea rounds (yay!). It also doesn’t make me any less of a yorkshire-woman!
7. Love isn’t about the butterflies and the romance. It’s about the person that sees the good and the bad and still wants to be with you. The person who stills comes home to you every night, despite not knowing what they’re coming home to. It’s about accepting their flaws and they accepting yours, supporting each other no matter what comes your way and creating a beautiful connection that takes time and work – but is worth everything and more as discussed here.
8. Work is not the be-all-and-end-all – but it is a hugely important part of anybody’s life. If my work life isn’t happy, my life isn’t happy.
9. Most importantly though – a wage isn’t worth my mental health. Do not stay in a job if it makes you unhappy. Life is short – find a job that makes you want to go to work.
10. The saying goes that you have to earn respect. I live the opposite way around – I respect you until you disrespect me. There is no need to be rude or ignorant to a total stranger – they’ve done nothing wrong. Try being politer and kinder than the other way around.
11. Just because I’ve known somebody a long time, it doesn’t mean I should accept their crappy excuse for a friendship. If a person isn’t as loyal and caring to me as I am to them, then I deserve more. Surround yourself with people who inspire, support and bring out the best in you.
12. There’s no such thing as being too old for certain things. Yes I will buy that elder wand and no I will not get out of line for the teacups ride!
13. Life is too short to live in my own bubble – strike up conversations with random people, be kind and charitable if you can – see someone who’s not got enough change for that cup of coffee or for their bus ticket? Offer to pay for it if you can. Pay it forward – and they will be inspired to do the same when they can. The world needs more kindness. The kindest thing someone ever did for me was hand me £40 and not even say a word when I couldn’t afford to put my bag on the plane. I remember that and do what I can for someone else.
14. Don’t worry about what others think about you. Their opinion doesn’t matter in the long run.
15. Don’t hold your life back because you’re afraid of what people might say or think. You won’t see those people on the beach you’re insecure about seeing your thighs. Get them thighs out and go into the sea. Equally, if you can’t get past that – book somewhere with a private pool so you can still enjoy yourself. Don’t miss out because of your fears about everybody else! You deserve to enjoy yourself too!
16. I love cooking but I can’t cook fried eggs – I’m great at turning any kind of egg into scrambled eggs – you want eggs? Hey, look at that, you wanted it poached and now it’s scrambled. Congratulations!
17. I won’t let other people dictate how I should live my life – I make choices based on what is right for me at that time and that’s how we live and learn. Just because Barbara at work did it that way, doesn’t mean that way is right for you.
18. It’s never too late to try or start anything – I took my first driving lesson this week at the age of 26. My boyfriend’s Grandma passed her test at 70. Don’t feel pressured by everybody else!
19. Equally – there’s no rush to do what other people are doing. You do what you can with what you have – and the rest will come in it’s own time. See my blog post here for a more in-depth discussion.
20. Don’t aspire to be a certain celebrity or icon – we are surrounded by icons in our lives everyday who do more than sing a good song, make a good film or look pretty. My mum and my sister are my heroes. My idol is my previous manager because of what an amazing person she is. If I could grow up into anything, it would be what she embodies.
21. Don’t rise to internet arguments – trolls are everywhere and they are trying to rile you up. Put more energy into spreading positivity than being sucked into the negative. See my friend Robert’s post over at The Non-Alcoholic Student about this.
22. I try be open and honest with my friends – rather than a ‘good friend’ that tells them what they want to hear. I’d rather be known as the friend who is brutally honest than the friend that agrees with the bad and the good.
23. I have been through bad times – but they aren’t there to regret. They have shaped me and I have learned from them. Don’t live in the past – look to the future. Whether the future is next year, next month or tomorrow – you can survive another day. I promise.
24. Money isn’t everything. In my last job, I was doing a Grade 5 job at a Grade 3 salary – but you know what, I learned so much in that job that it allowed me to go on and apply for a higher graded job. Look at what a job can teach you, not just what it puts in the bank – and you will feel job satisfaction and enjoy working.
25. There is still some good in this world despite the horrible news – I see it every day in the posts of my fellow bloggers, in the stories my niece and nephew tell me, in my friends’ experiences.
26. Life is worth the hard times it gives us. It’s worth living.