On August 13th 2018, I turned 21 years old!
I still can’t believe that I’m actually 21. Part of me still feels like my 13th birthday wasn’t that long ago at all! I honestly had the best day surrounded by my favourite people and felt so spoilt with all of the love and amazing gifts and cards. Turning 18 is the time where you become an ‘official adult’ in legal terms in the UK, however 21 definitely feels like more of a turning point. I feel a lot more content now and closer to proper adulthood than I did at 18. To mark the occasion, I thought it would be a nice idea to sum up 21 things I’ve learnt throughout my 21 years of life.
1) Time flies so much faster as you get older. A year passing when I was 8 years old felt like forever, but now a year starts and finishes in the blink of an eye.
2) My parents becoming my friends as I’ve got older is one of the greatest gifts life can bring. My parents have always been there for me, but as I’ve got older we have definitely become closer and have more in common. You bicker with them (well at least I do) a hell of a lot less and you learn to respect and appreciate everything they do and have ever done for you.
3) Love is a wonderful thing. As a child and young teenager, you always wonder what love really is and what it feels like to be in love. I can safely say that it feels amazing and I’m so lucky to share life with Aaron, who has also become my best friend.
4) Dynamics of friendship groups are bound to change. Throughout school, you definitely suffer bumps in the road friendship wise. Sometimes things aren’t even your fault and people choose to drift away from you. It’s just life. However, it makes you realise who your true friends really are.
5) Laughter is the best medicine. When I’m feeling down, spending time with my favourite people or even just watching some funny YouTube videos always works wonders. Sitting alone in my bedroom is definitely NOT the answer and I’ve learnt that the hard way.
6) Avoid going to sleep on an argument. Whenever Aaron and I do this, it honestly makes me feel awful and the next day I wake up feeling crap. It’s definitely always best to resolve things there and then because you can wake up feeling more positive the next day and leave all of that negativity behind you.
7) Don’t let people control your life choices because they think they ‘know what’s best for you’. A story that really comes to mind here is when it came to applying to university. My school were desperate for me to apply to five universities, but I only really wanted to apply to one (my local hometown’s university). But, to keep them somewhat happy I applied to three. Despite expressing my wishes, they still said that I was limiting myself massively. However, I got my A level grades, I achieved 0.55% off a first in my second year of uni and now I’ve done some amazing work experience. It’s safe to say I proved them very, very wrong and going to my no.1 university was the best thing I could have done in this situation.
8) Appealing to get into grammar school was one of the best decisions I ever made. I was actually half a point off passing the grammar test, which meant my original results destined me to go to a standard state school. I wasn’t originally going to bother appealing as so many of my friends at the time were going to the other school. It was my dad who actually pushed us to appeal and I’m so glad he did. I made the best of friends there and it was definitely the most beneficial thing I could have done at the time for my education.
9) School really doesn’t teach you enough about real life. So I was taught how to calculate the circumference of a circle but I don’t really know anything about taxes and mortgages? At 21, I’m still living at home with my parents, and it might sound embarrassing or stupid, but I don’t really know much about ‘adulting’ yet. I’m sure I will learn over time, however these skills would be so useful and I think I’d feel a lot more prepared for post-uni life if they could incorporate more life skills into school curriculums.
10) Quality over quantity, always. This applies to most things in life, such as your work and your friends. I’ve learnt that making sure everything I’ve done is to the best of my ability, instead of trying to rush doing lots of things for the sake of it and consequently doing a worse job. And, I don’t necessarily have loads of friends, but I have a select few close ones and I would rather have that than a load of fake friends.
11) Childhood is precious. Those care-free days where you escaped into an imaginary world with your My Scene and Bratz dolls, or made and spent the day playing in a den with your brother, pretending to be a teacher to all your soft toys – I could go on. Sometimes I miss how simple life used to be and it’s not until you’re an adult that you realise how amazing being a child is.
12) Being in a long distance relationship was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. Long story short is, never give up on love. Don’t let a coach or train journey come between you and the person you care about the most.
13) My blog is such an asset to who I am and my future career. When I first started blogging, I had no idea how much it could benefit me at job interviews and when doing university work. Everyone is always so impressed by my blog and I can’t believe I used to keep it so quiet. I’ve definitely learnt to shout it from the roof tops at any appropriate opportunity!
14) Not loving drinking alcohol and clubbing all the time doesn’t make me boring. Since turning 18, I’ve been called ‘boring’ or told to ‘let my hair down’ a number of times for not drinking loads of alcohol or being totally up for going out until 3am. Some people seem to think it’s a crime for a young girl to not enjoy going out all the time. But, that’s just who I am and that’s okay and if people can’t accept it then that’s their problem.
15) When possible, try new things and face your fears. This is always so challenging, but when I’ve done this, it’s been so rewarding. I did a post on this here.
16) Social media is a blessing, but also a curse. Being a blogger and with aspirations to work in Marketing and PR, I absolutely love social media and the power it has to capture an audience and connect brands with consumers. However, it does affect how I feel sometimes and sometimes I find myself comparing my content to other people’s, which is really sad.
17) My body is bound to change and my weight is bound to fluctuate, and that’s okay. My size has been up and down throughout the years due to both puberty and anxiety, but also generally going through periods of exercising and not exercising. I have always found it hard to accept that putting on weight is normal. But as a woman, our bodies are going to continue to change. Especially in the future when I think about having children. All in all, it’s so important to remember that our bodies are so powerful and are what keep us here on Earth.
18) Don’t be so hard on myself. I’ve always been a bit of a pessimist about certain things in my personal life, and I always seem to put myself down. However, with the help of others, I have learnt that I need to appreciate my successes in life and that I have actually achieved some amazing things.
19) Anxiety is an awful, awful thing but I am stronger than I think. Anxiety has been deep-rooted into my body my entire life, but it really started to take its toll at around the age of 12. Despite going through some truly dark times with my anxiety, I’ve really given myself a pat on the back for how far I’ve come. Whilst there are some things that still hold me back, I’ve achieved so much and do things now that I never would have done before.
20) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve been described as ‘shy’ a number of times in my life, mainly by teachers in school, as I was always quiet, fairly innocent and didn’t really like asking questions. However, I’ve realised that these people are here for a reaso – to HELP me. I’ve really tried to change this attitude whilst at university because I think it’s so important and a real life skill to be able to ask for support and guidance when you need it. If I need a hand, I won’t hesitate to send a quick email or try to arrange a meeting with a lecturer to make sure I’m on the right track.
21) Stop thinking so much about what people think. I’m quite a self-conscious person and before I do something, I’ll often ask, but what will they think? Even if it’s people that I don’t know. Life is short, I’m young and I’m free (lol) and I should just do whatever the hell I want. Do what makes YOU happy!
What have you learnt or come to terms with as you’ve grown older?