Turning 22 – What have I learnt in my life so far

Last week it was my 22nd birthday *sings Taylor Swift 22*. Every year when it’s my birthday, I normally get quite emotional or sentimental about the past year and what has changed or where I am in my life at that specific age. I thought to celebrate my birthday in blog style, I’d share 22 things I have learnt so far in my life.

1: Not everyone will like you. Simple as. Instead of trying to please everyone and having hundreds of friends, focus on the people who really matter. There will be people throughout life that you won’t get on with or who won’t like you but that’s okay and that’s normal.

2: Have time to yourself. Having time to myself lets me feel like I can reset my thoughts, think about how I’m feeling or what I want to do in life and my goals. It’s important to have time to sit there and think with yourself about your life.

3: Chocolate is the best food. Ever.

4: Speak up about how you feel. Sometimes being open and honest is a huge challenge for me, however, I need to take that step out my comfort zone and say how I’m really feeling to get my views or message across. Don’t hold in your feelings.

5: Disney films are the best. They make me so happy and whenever I need a pick me up, Disney is the way to go.

6: Walks are truly life changing at times. In a bad mood? Go for a walk. I bet you feel even 1% better afterwards.

7: Every life is different. Stop comparing yourself to every human being you walk past or see online. You are you for a reason and therefore, be the best you, you can be.

8: My boyfriend and friends are my absolute world and I’m beyond grateful to have the people in my life. Right now is the most content I have ever felt in a friendship group.

9: If you feel like you deserve more money in your job, do something about it. This is something I am currently working on and I hope soon, I will be earning what I believe I deserve and should be on.

10: The little things in life really matter. Whether its chocolate, a tv series, a run, a coffee date, the things that feel so simplistic and easy, make such a difference on my mood. We don’t always need to have a huge party or expensive dinner to feel important or happy.

11: Save money. I never saved when I first started working and boyyyyyyy do I regret that now. Save money and your future self will be really appreciative that you did.

12: Change something about your appearance (only if you want to). For years I have debated changing my hair colour. In January I finally dyed it darker and I LOVE IT! Don’t be scared, the risk might be worth it.

13: Have a work, life balance. You need to enjoy your life and not just have a life all about working. Do things that make you happy and take you away from the mindset of business, professionalism, and working.

14: Change your room around. You most likely spend a lot of time in your bedroom, I know I do. Therefore, I’ve found it really beneficial to change my room around whether its a complete change of colour, moving furniture or small things like buying a plant, putting your TV on the wall. It makes me feel refreshed when there is something different about the place I spend a lot of my time. Jazz it up a bit!

15: Think about what you say before you speak. Very important!

16: Treat yourself every so often. Even though I just said to save money, that doesn’t mean to never treat yourself. You work hard, you achieve things, you’re doing well; treat yourself!

17: School years are actually some of the best years of your life. I HATED school when I was there, but now looking back…wow what it a stress free zone. I miss school, treasure it when you’re there.

18: Say yes to more things. I’m a complete anxious mess most of the time and I struggle to do spontaneous things. I’m very much someone who needs to know what I’m doing next weekend about 2 weekends beforehand. I like a plan and it makes me feel better knowing I have a structure to my life. However, what I’ve realised is that sometimes, spontaneous plans are actually really fucking good plans. Say yes to more, try to get out your comfort zone, do different things you wouldn’t normally do.

19: You don’t need to know your whole life plan by the age of 19. Or 22. Or 30. Take life as it comes.

20: Good things will come your way. At times, even right now, I feel like life is constant crap coming my way. There’s always something new to worry about or stress over. But, even if it takes a while to turn around, life will get easier and better. Good things will come to those who are kind, keep going, never give up, who deserve it.

21: Get over the argument or issue as quickly as you can. Don’t drag on something for days on end. Fix the problem, life is too short to be mad and upset.

22: Be kind.

The positives to take out of the pandemic.

As the UK are coming out of lockdown 3.0, I thought it may be relevant to do a blog post about the positives I will be taking out of the pandemic and the year of lockdown restrictions we’ve had.

This pandemic has affected people in many ways, but at the end of the day, we have all been involved and hit by the impact of COVID. A lot of the days in the past year, I have felt such sadness thinking about how life has been and how much I’ve missed out on and just how weird it has been to be inside my house doing nothing…my brain still can’t quite comprehend that this has happened!

Although, one way to try and help myself get through this and not dwell on the year is to think about the positives it’s going to give me in the future, and I’d like to think these positives will also help others.

I think most of us can agree that a positive this pandemic has bought us is appreciating our family and friends more. I know for sure, when I next see my friends whether that’s inside or outdoors, its going to feel so refreshing to see and speak to them properly again. I’m going to be so grateful to still have all the people I had before the pandemic in my life and to be able to create new memories together. It really does make you realise the important things in life. Sometimes when our lives are going at 100mph, we forget what means the most to us and in a weird way, this slowing down of life because of lockdowns has made me sit back and realise what great people I have in my life and how lucky I am. It’s going to be SO positive when I get to reunite with people, and I hope you are all excited for that day to happen too!

Following on from this, another positive is to appreciate the little things more often. Before, I’d just go shopping because I was bored. Whereas now, I CAN’T WAIT TO GO SHOPPING AGAIN. It’s made me so excited to be able to go see clothes in real life instead of my mobile screen. Instead of just going because of the sake of it, I’m going to now go feeling excited to see what’s new in and just be around people. It’s those little things, as simple as going to a shop, that this pandemic has made me realise how much I enjoy doing that. Other little things I’ll appreciate more is the nice weather (being in the UK we are normally quite appreciative of the sun coming out anyway, but now it feels even more special), going for dog walks with my boyfriend, being able to eat in a restaurant, or even grab a Starbucks. The things that were so natural for us to do beforehand, now feel so exciting to be able to do again.

For me personally, I still live at home with my family and even though at times it has been tough being around each other 24/7, it’s given me this time with them that I wouldn’t have had if the pandemic didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t me saying I’m glad the pandemic happened, but in ‘normal’ life, I was at work for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, and then at the weekend I’d be out with my friends. It hit me how little time I was spending at home and it’s actually been nice to have a whole year basically stuck with them haha! Treasure the moments you have with your family.

Another positive, is how much money I’ve been able to save. Obviously, besides online shopping (which I have done my fair share of over the last year), there hasn’t been anything else for my money to be spent on. Not travelling into London for work has especially helped my bank account! Therefore, it’s helped me financially be able to save more for moving out or a holiday in the future.

A positive throughout the pandemic has been online calls. Being able to Zoom or facetime people has probably massively helped some people. We are so lucky to have the technology to be able to virtually see our loved ones, or even to be able to continue working and have meetings. Thank god for the technology we have. It’s kept friendships, relationships and family connections alive and pulled people through the loneliness.

Overall, even though the pandemic has been absolutely devastating and this blog post isn’t here to try and make COVID seem like a good thing. It’s here to try and help you see the positive outcomes. It’s been an awful year, but better times will come. We aren’t exactly sure what 2021 will bring us, but hold onto the little things, keep talking to people, say yes to plans more often, appreciate eating a meal out, support local businesses by going out, and most importantly, just be grateful that you are still here, still breathing, still able to live your life.