So, I am writing this on my birthday eve. Technically, it is 00:14 and very much my birthday but I am yet to go to sleep so not counting it. I find birthdays really funny. It is going to sound really knobby of me to say but I love other peoples. I live for bringing them cake or taking them out for lunch. Birthday nights out are my favourite because I feel like people take it as an excuse to let loose and have the most fun. Yet I am not so hot on my own. I find them a bit embarrassing and aside from the presents and nice food I always end up feeling really reflective. Apparently that is a sign of getting old but we are going to skip over that.
I had so many ideas of what 24 would be. I thought I would be a real adult by 24. Today I ate a cheese sandwich on partially frozen bread because I still don’t know how to use the defrost function on our microwave… I thought I would have moved out by 24. Whilst I did move out I boomeranged straight back again. Perhaps most farfetched, about a decade ago I thought I would be married by 24…lol. So, as this isn’t the most original idea in the world, but I did enjoy looking back in the post I wrote last year and it is my birthday so you can just allow it, here are the 24 things I have learnt at 24.
I don’t know why but this year I seemed to have been better at being impulsive. I am a thinker and a worrier. I contemplate holidays months in advance, plan my weekends out meticulously, it takes me about an hour to work out what I want for lunch. Typical Libra and I know, I sound like a hoot. This year I have been so much better at just booking trips away, staying out just because, and doing what I want to do without worrying too much. I got a new tattoo and didn’t spend two months fretting about what other people would think, I chilled out about holidays which meant I got to see three new, incredible cities (Paris, Budapest, and Barcelona) and didn’t have a stress induced migraine in the process. Being more impulsive has definitely served me well this year.
It is funny when you leave uni. You go from being in this environment where you are surrounded by people constantly to the big, wide world where you are working all hours of the day and sleep becomes a luxury. Your friendship circle seriously depletes. However, the friends that you do have are the best. They are the ones that you don’t see for months at a time but when you do it is like no time has passed and you immediately revert back to being ridiculous. It is the best.
- ‘Be careful what you wish for’ is shit
Just because you have wished for something, worked insanely hard for it, and wanted it for the longest time doesn’t mean that when you get it you have to be 100% joyful 24/7. I am so incredibly thankful that I get to use my degree in what I do and that someone is willing to pay me to write. But am I happy all of the time? No. For so long I thought I was being ungrateful for moaning about the jobs that I thought I was supposed to want when in reality no job is perfect and you are allowed to have a little bit of a bitch.
I say work wives but they can be guys too. Having people around you that understand what you do and who you work with so when you do have those times where you are ripping your hair out a bit they totally get it. It is the nicest feeling to celebrate someone else’s success when you know how hard they work and how much they deserve it. Plus, what is a work day if you can’t find a quiet spot to have a procrastination coffee?
Before I started working I didn’t consider the importance of having someone who has gone before me to chat things through to. I think so often we feel like we are going at things alone and no one understands the struggling of breaking into a career. Having someone there to get a little bit of guidance from makes things 100000 times easier. Plus, it is always nice to get a bit of inspo from someone who genuinely cares if you’ll do well.
- Friend are your best source of advice and comfort
I don’t know about yours but my friends are really fucking wise. In all seriousness, if I have done a silly thing and am having an emotional breakdown (which happens about twice a month, usually just before and after pay day) they just know what to say. They may be far away or know no better than you but there is nothing a soothing, ‘it’s okay I have done that too’ can’t solve.
I thought I knew what a hangover was. I was wrong. In uni I would get a headache and maybe heart burn and I would mope about on the sofa like someone had given me a death sentence. Now it is just better for everyone if I don’t move my body at all the morning after I have had any more than four glasses of wine.
- Don’t question it, buy it
This is the sole reason why using my card can be a bit like using a gift card, you never quite know how much is on there. I am not talking about letting mad 1 am ASOS binges become the norm but if you have seen something and pined after it, it is probably just better to get it. What if you finally talk yourself round to buying it and then it’s gone? No one wins. Plus a little treat coffee here and there is good for you.
This is an extension of the point prior but this year I have got so much better at talking about money. After months of putting it off I finally sat down with my dad and opened a proper savings account. I spoke more about money with friends than I ever have before which can be painfully eye opening. I also stopped being embarrassed and weird about how much I earn and what I chose to spend my money on. Because I stopped feeling shy and secretive about money I started to spend it more wisely (about 90% of the time).
- Money comes and goes but experiences don’t
When I was younger I used to be really fearful of spending large amounts of money on things like flights, train tickets, rooms. The boring purchases. This year I have realised that if I just don’t buy that Pret every morning that in reality is making me fat and poor, I can afford to go away more. Once I stopped stressing about the money I was spending I got to enjoy doing and seeing amazing things. I haven’t thought about the £300 it cost for me to go to Budapest but I think about the fun we had all the time!
- Sometimes you just need to stop
This sounds really profound but I mean it in the most literal sense of the saying. I went away to Barca at the end of summer. It was a jam packed city break with 4 other girls. Needless to say it was very eventful. On the last day we were mooching around the city before our flight and we went to lie by the Arc De Triumph (there is one in Barca I am not just an idiot). I lay with my best friend of 20 years (eek) and we people watched, laughing at what people were wearing and berating the cringe couples trying to achieve the perfect angle with their selfie sticks. It was great.
- Stop being a brat to mum and dad
I found the transition moving home last October really hard. I was bratty to my parents who were so kindly housing, feeding, and putting up with me again after I had spent 4 years at university begging for beer money every two weeks. As much as I hate to say it, they are nearly always right and always want the best for me so reverting back to a misunderstood 15 year old needs to stop.
- Life is one big battle to be healthy
I try to be healthy, I really do but I feel like life is one constant battle of wanting to eat well and eating and drinking everything in sight. I think instead of fighting the urge to eat the bagel I now need to work on just accepting it and not feeling guilty.
- You are going to feel old sometimes
As much as I moan 24 isn’t old, gone are the days that you can go for a uni reunion night out at the Students Union and not live in fear that ‘Joe’ (insert any common uni boy name) has lied about his age, is actually 18, and you are going to be put on some sort of register before the night is over. I may start employing an ID system, you can never be too safe.
- Beyonce has the same hours in the day is also shit
I love Queen B, believe me. However, if I read one more Instagram quote that says Beyonce has the same amount of hours in the day as me I swear to all that is good in this world… Yes, she does. She also has about 100000 people helping her, is a real adult, and probably doesn’t have to deal with doing her own washing/ cleaning/ cooking on top of the other things that are required when you are queen.
I apologise for everything and frankly, it is embarrassing. Someone will walk into me, I’ll apologise. Someone will be sat in my seat on the train, I’ll apologise. Someone will make a mistake at work, I will apologise. STOP IT!
This year has been all change and in that I have been open to being hurt a lot. That is fine but I think at times I stopped sticking up for myself, and backing myself just to make other people more comfortable. It sounds really lame but I have let people hurt me over and over so not to be an inconvenience. For my own sake, I can’t do that anymore.
- It is okay to be vulnerable
At the same time, vulnerability isn’t weakness. If I have any hope in getting close to anyone I can’t hold them at arm’s length. If, once I let them in, they decide to fuck it up then that is fine. That’s on them, it isn’t a reflection of me.
Just because you choose to stay in on a Saturday night, face mask and leopard print pj’s on with a good book doesn’t make you boring. After weeks of mad trips, work and having fun over summer I burnt out. Spending a weekend to myself to just do nothing, not think about work, and not see anyone made me better when I resumed plans the week after.
- Bed time is not phone time
My dad used to tell me not to use my phone in bed and it used to really irritate me. I don’t sleep well and the fact that he would put that down to my precious social media accounts seemed ridiculous, only it wasn’t. He was right (as per) and now I have done the very adult thing of leaving my phone on the other side of the room and reading before bed I usually drop off before 2 am. I am a changed woman.
- You can’t always prevent bad things from happening to you
Searching for and stressing over every little thing that can go wrong isn’t going to stop bad things happening to me. This sounds so silly but I would obsess over being on time, not sharing with new people in case they thought I was too much, or going over and over work in case I offended someone. It turns out trains run late, people are going to dislike me regardless, and someone somewhere is always going to be offended if you share your opinions online so it is better to just try and enjoy yourself.
- Twitter is not the place for love
I love having twitter crushes. Someone who is so hilarious, and informed, and witty in 240 characters and they are cute in their picture too. This September I learned it is okay to have these crushes, it is not okay to have a bottle of wine and then tweet them your proclamation of love. Especially if they work in the same field as you. Jill I am sorry, it was the Sauv Blanc.
- You’re getting old, moisturise
As much as I hate that this is completely patriarchal pressure but I would quite like to not have wrinkles and the amount I worry would suggest I will look 50 by the time I am 30. I have got the hair sitch under control, you won’t be seeing any greys through this black hair dye. However, I am not too sure I can commit to the Botox life just yet. Gone are the days where I would sleep in last night’s makeup and let my skin dry out to a crisp. Girls not getting wrinkles.
Lastly, this year I have realised that if my mental health is in a shitty place everything suffers but it isn’t my fault. Whilst, in the past, I have used going out and masking my problems with a hangover as a way of pushing any issues to the bottom of the pile this year I feel like I have found some ways of legit dealing with things. Writing stuff down, talking it out and if I need it, taking myself away for a little bit.
Wow, so that was long. Maybe as I get older I can just share my top five bits of sage wisdom. Because obviously within the next year I am going to stop being a dick on social media after a glass of wine, will have the perfect job, and maybe even a partner and child (lol eww no thanks). Here is to another completely ridiculous, hopefully even more eventful year.