So, tomorrow I turn the ripe old age of 23. No more real excuse to listen to Taylor Swift’s 22 on repeat, even if I’m still happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.
It’s been a strange old year. I graduated from university, met some lovely new people, said goodbye to some not-so-lovely people, had an amazing job offer, rejected said job offer when the terms were changed before the contract was signed, picked myself up, dusted myself down and got on with things. Would I do this year again? No, given the choice, I wouldn’t, but I’ve learnt some valuable lessons over the last 52 weeks or so.
So, 22 things I’ve learned at 22, with a couple of gifs from the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race thrown in for good measure.
1. RuPaul knows all.
2. Ultimately the only person you can really rely on and trust is yourself.
3. Never make someone a priority if you are only an option to them.
4. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream is THE BEST.
I have a complex relationship with my tube of 8 Hour Cream Skin Protectant. I will find it and use it all day every day until it becomes lost again somewhere in the beauty product abyss that is my room. I recently rediscovered it and have been using it for everything from a lip balm to an eyebrow conditioner to a moisturiser.
5 Timehop is a great app, but one of the best decisions I made this year was deleting it. I found that being reminded of unhappy times or friendships/relationships which no longer exist wasn’t productive.
6 There are still people around who think that it’s OK for men to swear, but not for women to do so.
7. Negativity is poisonous and infectious. Distancing yourself from it is incredibly liberating.
8. You can only give help to those who are ready to receive it.
9. No one has a right to ridicule your interests. Those who do could probably do with picking up another hobby or two themselves.
10. ‘Nothing will ruin your 20s more than thinking you should have your life together already.’
I saw this on Instagram, and thank goodness a friend of mine posted it. Definitely something to bear in mind, and something I needed to read. Aaaaand breathe.
11. On that note…no one really knows what they’re doing. Everyone is winging it a little bit.
12. Crying is not a sign of weakness. It’s not fair for anyone to tell you not to get upset.
13. There are ways of having a difficult conversation with people without deeply insulting them. Cut out those who do not know how to do this.
14. British TV is fab. From Doctor Foster to The Great British Bakeoff, Gogglebox to The Graham Norton Show…I could go on. I really don’t think anyone does TV as well as the Brits. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good American series, but there’s something special about homegrown talent on our screens.
15. You’ve got to seize every opportunity presented to you. If it’s not for you, at least you tried it out. It’s just as important to know what you want as well as what you don’t. You might even discover a new talent!
16. Give Branston Pickle a chance.
I try not to have regrets, but I may well end up regretting that I missed out on cheese and pickle on toast for so many years because I resisted Branston Pickle for no real reason at all. Typical.
17. You’re not defined by anyone’s perception of you. They’re usually false anyway.
18. State of mind is everything. If you have a positive state of mind, then so much more is possible than you might think. Equally, negative state of mind will get you nowhere.
19. GO TO THE DOCTOR.
If you’ve been living with a problem for a long time, be it physical or otherwise, going to the doctor about it can be terrifying. Talking about it makes it real. But the point is that there is always help, you just need to be ready to receive it.
20. Making time for family is paramount. Family, be it biological or the family you have built for yourself, should come before anything else. I love nothing more than a catch up over a cuppa with my family. It’s such a simple thing, but it means a lot to me.
21. ‘Expectation is the root of all heartache’
Or as Shakespeare wrote in All’s Well That Ends Well, “Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises; and oft it hits where hope is coldest, and despair most fits.”
22. Never apologise for who you are. Unless you’ve done something illegal/immoral, then you should probably apologise.
Want to stay out til 3 drinking? Prefer a cozy night in with a cuppa? Love running? Hate exercise?…Well, who cares? If someone loves something you hate, it doesn’t make either of you superior. Do your own thing. There is no right way to live your life (see the illegal note above), only your own way. No one should make you feel bad for your lifestyle, and if they do, they will only cause you more problems down the line.
Understanding who you are is one of the most liberating things. No one has the right to take that away from you, nor do you have the right to try and take it away from anyone else.