To celebrate my 25th birthday this month, I wanted to look back on the lessons I’ve learnt over the years. I’ve seen this blog topic done so much since I started my blogging adventure, so I wanted to write my own.
Some lessons are entertaining, some are sober, while others might just be a ‘me’ thing. I know it might not be as insightful as similar blog posts, but it is fun to look back and see what lessons I’ve learnt.
I would love to know if you can relate to any of the lessons I’ve learnt or if you have any to add! Let me know in the comments, as I’ve love to hear them.
Let the countdown begin!
25 – What was once scary will become second nature
Once upon a time, I was TERRIFIED of getting the bus by myself, even though public transport was my families go-to travel option. I’d know the route and know the bus numbers that get me home, but I was so scared of getting one by myself.
Now, I get on the bus without thinking; it is second nature. The lesson I’m trying to articulate here is that the scary things you face now will become easy; you just have to take that first step. Everything you do so easily now was once something new and scary.
24 – Respect is a given; disrespect is earned
Have you heard the saying, ‘respect your elders, no matter what?’ – I thought this for so long, I didn’t question those older than me – teachers, parents, ‘friends’, etc.
Until my dad said to me, that shouldn’t be your outlook. Respect is a given; you should respect everyone you meet unless they give you a reason not to respect them.
23 – Setting my boundaries does not make me awful
I don’t like when strangers or friends of friends go in for a full hug and sometimes a cheek kiss. I felt like I was such a b*tch for respectfully saying, ‘I’d prefer a handshake; I’m not much of a hugger’.
People have tutted at me, called me stuck-up and assumed I don’t like them. There is nothing wrong with the boundaries I set, as long as I do it respectfully. The way others react to that is a representation of their character and not mine.
22 – Not just for kids
There is no magic wand that transforms you into an ‘adult’, it is a slow progression, and there is no defining feature that makes you a ‘proper adult’. This will make sense in a minute.
You don’t have to dispose of anything the world deems childish just to fit into the adult mould. I own several stuffed bears, and having them on a shelf in my room does not make me any less of an adult. Nor does having a giant seal on my couch. It makes me strange, but not less of an adult.
21 – Not everyone has the same timeframe
High school is challenging for everyone for many different reasons, but in some ways, we are all in the same boat. No timeframe, no comparisons concerning work, income, kids, marriage etc.
Collage is when timeframe comparisons start for many, and it continues from there. Now, I’ve realised that everyone has a different timeframe, goals, and we all don’t want a set life depicted in the movies. We all want something different, even slightly, and that’s okay. We should respect the decisions made by others and be proud of their accomplishments as well as our own.
20 – Hydrate
I hate how this is so true, as everyone said it. ‘Make sure to hydrate’, ‘water helps with everything’ It is so true. A night on the town? Drink water throughout to prevent a hangover. Hungover? Drink water. Ill? Drink water.
You get the picture. Plus, those Tweets that say ‘remember to hydrate’ are genuinely beneficial for me, that and my giant water bottle.
19 – My sister was right
Shh, NO-ONE TELL HER. My sister is five years older than me, so most things she went through concerning growth spurts, weight gain at university and so forth – I went through.
I shrugged it off and went, ‘well, that’s you, it won’t be me’. Lesson learnt. Sometimes older siblings do know best. Sometimes.
18 – Friendships do take work
Friendships are a two-way street. There is this false idea that ‘if they care, they’ll reach out’, but both sides should put effort into the friendship.
In your twenties, everyone is at different stages in their life. Some have houses; some are getting married, some rent, and some even have kids. The major difference is that many friendships are further afield. As you do not see them five times a week at school/college, many friends move if you went to school with them.
Friendships take a bit more effort. You might have to travel more or enjoy a catch-up over sandwiches instead of drinks. But, one thing is for sure. Those precious friendships are where you can meet up after weeks or months apart and talk like it was yesterday.
You don’t need constant communication or daily meetups. You just have to know the other is there for you when you need them.
17 – Take photos
I shy away from photos, and I would be embarrassed to take them in public when I was younger. I didn’t want people to stare at me. But, I think photos are so important, to reminisce about special moments you experienced. To look back in years to come and have those pictures spark memories you didn’t know you forget.
I know you should live in the moment, and some moments don’t require photos, but I like taking at least one with a memory like mine.
16 – Complexity of your parents
Your parents can do no wrong when you are younger, but you learn more about them as you grow. Well, I did, at least. For me, they are still my everything, but they are not as I once saw them. That’s what makes it better, though.
I know them as people. They’ve made mistakes, encountered issues and have humorous pre-kids stories. I love discovering more about them and sitting down and asking them more about who they are.
It is a privilege to have them as parents and as friends.
15 – Challenge yourself
I pushed back starting a blog for so long, as Imposter Syndrome was a real pain, still is, if I’m honest. But, looking back, I’ve challenged myself so many times and stepped out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but I learnt so much from those experiences.
In the end, I’m glad I challenged myself because I know I’d be kicking myself today if I didn’t.
14 – The world is scary at times
Unfortunately, this is one of the serious lessons. At times, the world can be scary for more than one reason, and those reasons differ for each and every one of us. We can relate to what others experience, but we will never 100% understand. So, when times are scary and seem bleak, offer kindness. Kindness, a bit of understanding and the willingness to listen to someone else’s perspective can make the world seem safer, even for a moment.
13 – You are always learning
Learning does not stop when you leave High School, College, University, Internship or other; it goes on for the rest of your life. Never stop learning.
12- Happiness in the little things
The small moments are just as important as the big moments.
- Reading a book while the rain trickles outside
- A hug with my mum or dad
- Making my brother laugh
- Playing games with my sister
- Seeing the first flower in Spring
- Crying from laughter with friends
- Sharing a memory about a loved one with family
- Fresh bedding
11 – Everyone has a different perspective
Everyone has a different perspective, and what you experience in life and your journey will never match someone else’s. You will never completely understand what others are going through, but the important thing is listening, learning, and respecting their perspective.
10 – Embarrassing moments
You can’t avoid some embarrassing moments. They will happen. Just remember that for every embarrassing moment you have, everyone else will have an equally embarrassing story.
9 – Ask questions
Ask questions. Ask silly questions. Ask random questions. Ask questions about how your parents met. Ask questions about why something the way it is.
I was so scared of asking questions in primary school, as I didn’t want people to think I was stupid. I’d go home and look up anything I didn’t understand in the giant books my Uncle gave us. Yes, it was partly because I was shy, but partly because I cared about others’ thoughts.
I wish I asked more questions then. I ask questions now. My knowledge might have gaps, silly gaps, that others can fill. You cannot control what you did not know you did not know; you can only learn and grow through questioning.
8 – Some things just don’t work out…
and they are not meant to work.
7 – You’ll make mistakes
Hands up if you lay in bed at 3 am and that one awkward thing you did ten years ago pops into your mind. Yep. Whether it is a cringy moment or tagging the wrong company in a branded Tweets, mistakes happen.
If you ever meet someone who swears they have never made a mistake, they are either lying or haven’t lived.
6 – Get up and move
Even if it is just 30 minutes a day, a quick walk around the local park or a workout video on YouTube, staying active goes a long way.
5 – Being grateful
It can sometimes feel like you are completely drowning in thoughts about what you could have, that you forget what you do have. Remember the little things you are grateful for, and they can pick you up and motivate you.
I am grateful to have my parents still, supportive friends, close siblings, a loving partner, a roof over my head, food in my fridge and a giant seal on my sofa. (It’s cuddly okay)
4 – Focus on what’s real
I overthink; it’s who I am, which is why it is important to focus on what’s real, not the scenarios that might occur. Focus on the here and now. Focus on what is real.
3 – Laugh
This is a silly one, but true. ‘Laugh’ – it encompasses everything to do with enjoying the moment. Sometimes, it’s not about thinking about tomorrow, or if you did the dishes or if the laundry is done. It’s about laughing until you can’t speak; it’s about enjoying the moment with friends.
It’s about quietly laughing with your brother at 2 am about something embarrassing dad did that day, while you try not to wake your parent’s in the other room. It’s about laughing with your sister as you crash for the 10th time on Mario Kart as you try to complete the rainbow road.
It’s about enjoying the moment and laughing with your friends, unable to continue the joke or even talk.
2 – Growing with your partner is key
Growth is key to life, but being with someone you can grow with is an amazing feeling. They push you to be a better person, and you move forward in life together. You don’t feel restricted; you feel like the future is yours together, and you plan it out and change it as you grow.
Make time for each other, make time apart, communicate, laugh, and grow together.
1 – Self-love is an ongoing journey
Self-love, for me, is an ongoing journey, and I am still learning to love myself in my twenties. I don’t think that process will ever stop, as you have to take a moment to appreciate yourself. It sounds vain, but self-love is needed. You can’t go through life avoiding mirrors, or putting yourself down, which is what I did for so long. I’m still working on it now, but I’ve learnt that self-love is important and ongoing.
At points, I felt like this blog post was a letter to myself to say, ‘hey, remember this’.
I know this list of 25 lessons in 25 years wasn’t as insightful as some, but I am proud of it. I am proud of this blog post as well. It made me so happy writing it, as I can feel down when it comes to my birthday. My thoughts as usually filled with questions such as, have you accomplished enough? Was it better than last year? Did everyone else achieve more?
But, writing this blog post made me realise it isn’t a competition; it is an overall experience that will continue for years to come. Writing this, I look back now, and I am so thankful and happy about where I am today. As I mentioned, we all have different timeframes and goals, and right now, I am exactly where I am the happiest. I know more is to come, and I am happy to see where the next year will lead.
I usually end with a question, but today, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for reading, even if you only read a bit, as I know it is very long. Blogging has been one of the best parts of the last year, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you. 💜