Today's post is a little bit more of a personal one. You may or may not have noticed that over the past week or so I've been on a blogging hiatus. It wasn't an intentional thing at all, it's just that my 20th birthday fell on a Wednesday - Wednesday the 24th to be precise -  and I seemingly took just about the longest long weekend you can possibly take off. Having so much time to myself has led to me do quite a bit of reflecting on the past 20 years of my life. Whilst my journey to two decades may not have been a graceful one, I made it! 

The past 20 years have been filled with love and laughter. I've fallen in love, had my heartbroken, fallen out of love, made life long friends, done some appallingly stupid things, made some hard decisions and finally begun to understand who I am and what I want from life. "Isn't that what all teens do" I hear you shout, yes, yes it is! But in the hope of adding a little more of my own personality into my blog, I thought I would share with you 20 life lessons I've learned in 20 years - be warned I have pulled these pictures from the archive!

  1. The only opinion of you that matters is yours. No one else has had to face precisely the same experiences in the same way that you have therefore no one is in a position to judge you for your actions. It can be extremely difficult to learn to brush off the negativity and jealousy of others, but once you've learned how to do that, I promise you'll be a much happier and less stressed human bean. However that's not to say it's okay to go and punch someone because they've annoyed you, nope. I just mean to say that you shouldn't let other peoples opinions of you rule the way in which you live your life. As long as you're able to sleep with yourself at night, carry on. You do you! 
  1. Constructive criticism isn't a bad thing. If it's coming from people that care about you and genuinely wish well on you, then try listening to what they have to say. Take some advice on board and see where it gets you. 
  1. It's always going to take more than one box of bleach to colour your hair. Don't try and be optimistic. You're only lying to yourself and will end you looking like a nob with stripey half white half brown hair. Which brings me to my next point...
  1. Don't bleach your hair after the shops have shut. God forbid that you do only buy one box of bleach - that only just about covered your roots - You will have to walk into town in the morning with white roots and brown hair. Or if you're lucky and have one to hand, you could send a wonderful friend on a two-hour drive to the nearest Tesco extra (Thank you Poppy).

  2. Don't wear your heart on your sleeve. That's how you get it broken. It's okay not to give yourself over to someone completely. Hold some cards close to your chest and reserve some of yourself solely for you. The longer you're with someone, the more of yourself you might give... but just not all at once... that's like playing your best hand in the first round.

  3. Take some time for yourself. This is something I've struggled with my whole life. I have always put other peoples feelings before my own and work myself into a stupor before admitting that I need some me time. But running yourself into the ground isn't smart. Having some time to work on yourself isn't admitting defeat nor is it a sign of weakness. It's merely a sign that you are in tune with your own needs - it's healthy! I think I'm going to do a post pretty soon on ways FI calm myself down when I'm feeling anxious so let me know in the comments if you would like to see that. 

  1. Happiness is a choice. This was a lesson I learned a couple of summers back now. Having just come out of a break up I was feeling very sorry for myself and had been from November to mid-July. A good friend of mine came round to my house near enough every day to cheer me up and I eventually came to realise that I was choosing to mope about and wallow in self-pity. Many late night drives and a couple of walks in the field later, we went on to have one of the best and most memorable summers I've ever had. The moral of the story is, if you wake up and tell yourself that today is going to be a good day, you often have the power within yourself to make the statement a truthful one. Thanks Matt for teaching me one of the most valuable lessons I've learned so far.
  1.  But it is okay to be sad sometimes... Just don't wallow! If you've had a bad breakup, or loose your job, or get bad news take a day or a week for yourself. Cry, a lot. Eat or don't. Watch sad films, go on walks and sleep. Talk about everything you need to, just get it out. And then let go. There's only so many times you can replay sad things over and over in your mind before it starts to become damaging and effect your mental health. Surround yourself with friends and do your best to carry on with normality. It helps, I promise.

  2. Get enough sleep. I'm just a nasty person without 8 hours.

  3. It's okay to put yourself before other people sometimes. I think we have all been guilty of people pleasing at some point throughout our lives. But if you're happiness if suffering because you're putting so much effort into making everyone else happy, then stop right there. Time to revert some of that happiness back into you.

  4. Always keep promises. I don't ever want to be the person to let someone down, so I'll always do everything in my power to keep a promise, even if it means calling in a few favors. Equally, it is okay to say no to people if they're asking too much of you. There's only so much one person can do!

  5.  Trust your instincts. They're usually right.

  6. It's totally fine to love yourself and be proud of your achievements. We live in a society today that very much teaches us that we don't achieve enough, that we are not enough, and you know what? That's bullshit. We are all good at something and should be proud of our talents! However, there is a line between being proud and being arrogant. Arrogance is not an admirable trait but pride in your work is!

  7. Say yes when you can. Spontaneous plans are often the best ones and the most memorable! Rally the troops whenever you can, stay up late, drink wine, go out and have fun. You're young, remember that.

  8. Don't be taken for a mug. In life, you very often get those people that ask you for a favour or to - not a problem at all. But every now and then you get people who expect you to move the earth for them with no thanks at all. I suppose what I'm really trying to say here is don't let people walk all over you. You're worth far more than that. It can take real courage to stand up for yourself and say "no" or "stop treating me like an idiot" in these situations, but I've found that you'll gain respect from others, and for yourself by doing so.

  9. Always be nice. Always. Even in the face of bigotry and insult if you can (of course if you want to give it back as good as you get I wouldn't blame you...but I do have an incredibly short temper - I'm working on it). I think there is a turn of phrase that says something along the lines of "the way you treat the waitress says more about you than the way you treat your date". And it's true, be nice to everyone because it's just good manners and you could be making someone's day (coming from a waitress here!)

  10. Learn to laugh at yourself. If you stop taking yourself so seriously every now and then you might find yourself having a better time. I've recently learned this. Thank you, Tom, for teaching me approach life a little more light heartedly and always making me laugh when I'm angry.

  11. Surround yourself with good friends. Good friends make your world a better place. At 17, I suddenly found myself fresh out of a break-up with no friends. Throughout the relationship, I'd done the most stupid thing I could have done and alienated myself from just about everyone in my life - Including my parents. 3 years on I have surrounded myself with the most supportive, kind, caring and loving people I could have ever hoped for. My friends are the reason I so often wake up with a smile on my face and end the day the same way. I could write a whole blog post on the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people and perhaps one day I will. But for now, I'd just like to say a huge thank you to all of the wonderful people in my life. You know who you are. Not only have you improved my quality of life, but you've made me a better person and I can never thank you all enough for that.

  12. Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything or anyone that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy. The only mantra I really live by. 

  13. Take photos. I always thought I'd never grow up and then, BAM, suddenly I'm 20 with hardly any photos to show for it. My friends and I might take a couple of selfies whenever we go out, but I wish I had more photos of day to day life. I wish I'd really documented my teenage years to the best of my ability because when I look back, they were pretty great.

    So there are just a couple of the lessons I've learnt over the past 20 years. I can't believe how many photos I have left over that I just couldn't fit on! So I apologise to any friends of mine that I may not have been able to squeeze on! I think I've overdone it on the photos already. Special thanks to Paige, Chloe and Tom for helping me write this post. Like I said, I really would be lost without all of my wonderful friends surrounding me. I love them all more than they could possibly realise.

    I hope you've enjoyed this slightly more personal post, I'm hoping to inject a lot more personality into my blog from now on. If I can build up my confidence, I might even upload a youtube video this month!

    I hope you're all doing well
    Love always,


1 comment

  1. Love this post! All so true, especially surrounding yourself with good friends :) xx


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