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.

Trying to work out my career route

As someone who throughout school and education, didn’t have a clue what to do in life as their career, I feel and relate to those who don’t know what is right for them. Do we ever know what is right for us? Whether we are 16 at college or 40 years old and worked in 7 different jobs. Finding the career route that suits you, is a really difficult thing to do.

I’m almost 22 and I started the route into my career 3 years ago. I started as an apprentice, which is a route I would recommend over and over again. An apprenticeship route taught me the ways of working life, made me grow up and be mature, gave me skills I will use forever in life; it was the right route for me. 3 years down the line, I sit back and I think ‘is this what you want to do’. I know some of you will read this and probably think about how young I am still and that I have my whole life ahead of me to figure out what career I want in life. However, I am an ambitious person and even though I may only be in my early 20’s, I still feel this pressure and uncertainty on what I want to do.

It’s okay to feel this way. If you feel overwhelmed with options or confusion of what job route you want to take, then that is okay and it’s totally normal and understandable. The world offers SO many different opportunities out there, that its sometimes too much to cope with.

I think something for me that stands out is the amount of effort I put for the amount I get paid. Money isn’t everything, I get that, I understand that you have to be in a job that makes you happy and you enjoy. However, for me personally, money is a big factor to consider because of the life I want to have and to offer to my kids in the future. Some people only do a job because of the money, but I want to find the balance. I want to work in a career that I wake up every morning excited to do, but also have the money in the bank to go Disney World whenever I wanted. This life is probably want most people want to have.

But, how does one even find this life. I feel so motivated and determined to get into a career that is perfect, but my type of perfect. I love the job I do now but I feel like I need more from it. I want to offer more and have more challenges and weirdly I want to feel more stressed and that I’m this really important business women that you watch on TV series absolutely smashing life. I suppose that’s something that has brainwashed me. This vision that TV series and films give off about careers. But, even though it’s unrealistic, I crave that. I crave the hard work, I crave seeing my work making a change, I want to be paid an amount of money which I think I deserve.

When I sit back and think what I want from life, I know that I’m not currently living that life. I know I need to step out my comfort zone and fight for this life I dream of. I need to put myself out there and show people what I can do. And, if you’re feeling the same as me, then you need to do it too. We need to be able to live our life being happy at work, enjoying what we do. I’m not saying everyday at work has to be the best day of my life, but I want to be appreciated more. I want the credit and I want to know I’m doing a good job.

I need to take the next step into finding what my career route is. Trying new things whether I’m 21 or 55. I want to keep learning and understanding new departments of sectors. I want people who feel the same to do this with me. Step out what you feel comfortable with and go for it. The past year has made me realise that life is too short to be debating changing your career or moving to another company, just go for it!

Do we ever know that we are in the right career, in the right stage of our life, working for the right company? Are most of us just winging it and hoping to get through life without being fired? Are some of us holding back our full potential because we are scared? Are we scared of being ourself in the workplace? Can we be earning more money? Can we be living such a happier working life? Maybe so. Finding the right career for me is something I want to make my mission throughout life. I don’t know how to do this, but I’m determined.

I don’t know what life is going to throw at me – none of us do. I don’t even know specifically what job sector I want to be in. My mind changes ideas constantly. All I know is that I want to be in a career that makes a difference. That helps people. Figuring out a career route isn’t easy. It’s one of the hardest things we all have to go through. But we can get there. We can become the career person we want to. With the right attitude, we can do it.

This blog post is more of a jumble of my thoughts right now. But I had to get them off my chest. This may not help anyone, but it’s helped me. Talking about things and realising things and writing them down, it’s helped. Please, if you’re reading this and you need a chat about your career or whatever, comment below. We can talk together, rant together, motivate each other.

The book that changed me

I am late to the party with this book, however I recently read ‘Women don’t owe you pretty’ and in all honestly, I don’t think a book has ever hit me like this one did. I couldn’t put the book down and found it so inspiring and informative.

I’m sure many of you have read this book by now, but if you haven’t then I massively recommend giving it a try. The book touches on a variety of topics and even though I don’t necessarily relate to all of them, I still was engrossed in those chapters; that’s when you know it’s a good book! I bought the book of Amazon but I’m sure its probably on many different book websites etc etc – but please do grab this book if you can and give it a read!

I feel like for me, I started reading this book at a time when I needed some sort of pick me up. Not only is the text interesting to read, but the book also has many different images that are really great to look at and almost makes you want the image in a poster format to hang up in you room to constantly be reminded of the message.

I think with lockdown, everyone has had their struggles increased even more due to the loneliness, not being able to live our ‘normal’ life’s, and the reality of that we may not be loving ourselves as much as usual with some potential weight gain or not being dressed up (obviously there is nothing wrong with weight gain or staying in your joggers for a week). This lockdown (lockdown 3.0 for the UK) has been the toughest for me, especially before I read this book. I didn’t realise it was possible to cry as much as I did within the space of a few weeks…my eyes were puffy the majority of the time. I was going through some shit with not seeing my boyfriend along with other bits. My mindset wasn’t okay. My friends recommended this book to me and were speaking about it on facetime and I thought you know what I think it’s time I finally see what this book is all about, and I am so glad I did!

It was such an easy read. Some parts were so relatable or eye opening that I found myself sitting there nodding along while I was reading. I feel like, I knew there were issues in the way women are portrayed or for example, touching on the topic of women trying to figure out their safest way home, but I’ve never thought about it in much depth before. It’s so true what is said in this book and some parts made me feel shocked that I just considered this as ‘normal’, when in fact it isn’t normal the way I think or live my life; again, relating back to the getting home at night situation.

Even though I am in a healthy relationship and have been for almost 6 years, this book still spoke truths to me. The section about taking accountability and the way we may respond in arguments or when people tell you how you’ve hurt their feelings…it’s made me think about the way I talk and I’m starting to try to think more before I speak (which is something probably a lot of us need to do more often). If there is a case where I may have said something and the second it’s left my mouth, I regret it, I pull myself up on it and apologise and say you know what that wasn’t funny or a good ‘joke’ to make, it was just uncalled for and not needed. I want to change the way I respond to people and make sure I’m taking accountability for my actions instead of just ignoring that I may have upset someone.

I know it may sound dramatic when I call this book ‘the book that changed my life’ because I only finished reading it about 2 weeks ago, but I really do believe it’s going to continue to have an impact on my life and mind. I’ve always been someone who wants to become a better person and I want to learn how to handle situations better, or how to be there for people who may need different reassurance than what I do when I’m upset. Sometimes, I believe we go through our life so quickly that we don’t think about the words and actions we are making, and it may take a book you read or a TV series you watch to make you sit back and think about what you’re doing.

Before I read this book, I thought it would make me think about self-love in terms of my appearance and my body. But instead, it made me think more about my mindset and actions which isn’t something ‘self-love’ books normally do. Other books normally touch more on the look of your body. Even though I believe it helped me understand that I need to love myself more and ways I could do so, there’s been better benefits from this book.

A section that was really interesting in terms of self-love was the ‘refuse to find comfort in other women’s flaws’. It makes me almost feel ashamed to say it, but I 100% have done this throughout life. And, no offence, but I’m sure some of you have too. I’m not proud of it and now I’ve read about it, it hit me hard that this is actually something I have done in the past and something I need to stop doing. Even within the 2 weeks after reading this book, I’ve clocked onto other people who have messaged me things where I now think…you’re insecure about that, and so that is why you’re bitching about this person (I hope this makes some sort of sense, it’s hard to explain without literally writing down the chapter of the book). It’s sad the way our mindset works and that we feel like the only way sometimes to feel better about ourselves, is to make other feels bad. It’s a messed up way but with practise you can change this and overall just be kinder to yourself but also others around you.

I’ve touched on a few points that are spoken about in the book and for how passionate I feel about ‘women don’t owe you pretty’ I could probably go on for ages writing about it. Long story short, if you haven’t read this book then I encourage you so much to do so. Or, if you have but it was a while ago or feel like you need some inspiration, then read it again. I know that this book will stick with me for years and I’ll most likely read it a good few times in life.

How to become body positive

Becoming body positive isn’t something that happens over night. It’s something that takes time and effort to find it within yourself to be positive towards your body. Everyone responds differently to their body and how it makes them feel but I wanted to touch on a few tips that have helped me in my journey of loving my body for what it is. But trust me, it wasn’t easy for me to be body positive and I still have days where I dislike how I look, but that’s okay. It’s a journey and it’s about growing from the down days and loving your body even if the day before you cried over it.

Firstly, I want to say that your body isn’t just about what it looks like. Remember the real importance of your body and how incredible it is. Your body is there to get you through every single day, it experiences everything in your life with you and its there to allow you to live. Whether you’re a size 4 or a size 20, our bodies all have the same reason and meaning behind it. It carries and creates babies, it changes every single year, it grows as you grow. So, remember that your body, everyone’s body has such a bigger meaning in life than just how it looks.

Let’s go through some tips that have helped me on my body positive journey:

Tip 1: Understanding that every body is different

I think the first thing you want to understand is that our bodies aren’t meant to be the same. I know so many people have probably told you this before or you’ve heard similar things but how boring would it be if we all looked the same? Understand that your body is the way it is because that’s how you was created. You was brought into this world to be the shape you are. That doesn’t mean I’m saying to never exercise to make your body the way you want (girl if you want that but to be bigger, then do those squats). But what more of us need to understand is that all bodies are different and that’s okay. It’s okay to have a different body from your bestie or the person you once saw in a nightclub (do we even remember what a nightclub is…this pandemic has been long…). We are different and that’s what makes this world so beautiful and interesting.

Tip 2: Don’t look in the mirror

You may be sitting there reading this thinking ‘how can I be body positive if I don’t look in the mirror???’ Hear me out. A time in my life, I was looking at my body in every mirror and reflection possible.. Did this make me feel body positive? No. In fact, it was probably the lowest I felt about my body. It was constantly on my mind to ‘check’ what my body was looking like, asif it would change within an hour. I’d go to have a bath but spend 20 minutes staring at myself, picking my body apart. It wasn’t healthy. Therefore, if you’re finding that you are always looking at your body to try and find something wrong with it then please, I know it’s easier said than done, but try and take a break from doing this. Whether you decide to remove a mirror from your room, or you get dressed in the corner of your room so you don’t see your reflection; make a change to look at yourself less. You may be surprised the impact it has on yourself and your mind by taking some time away from a mirror.

Tip 3: Don’t buy clothes just because they’re on sale

I’m very guilty of buying clothes just because it’s a bargain. I’d buy a top for £3 because it was reduced. But did I actually like this top? No, not really. I know we all love to grab a bargain when we can and sometimes these bargains pay off SO well for us, but changing your shopping attitudes can really help you become more positive about your body. Take time in deciding what you buy. Try the clothes on. If you order them, try them on twice before deciding whether to keep it. Find clothes that fit you the way you feel most confident. If it’s the case that you love an item but it’s a bit pricey, instead of spending money on other ‘basic’ clothing just for the sake of it, save up and buy that 1 item that could become such an essential in feeling positive in how you look.

Tip 4: Write down what you love about yourself

Granted, I think most of you will read this tip and think ‘there’s no way I’m writing a list complimenting myself’. I get it. A while ago I would be thinking the same. However, don’t write a list of what you love about yourself when you’re in a down mood because it will most likely only make it worse and your mind will make you believe that there isn’t anything you can write down. Maybe instead, wake up one day and before you do anything else, you note down 3 things like you love. It could be that you love how long your eyelashes are, or the size of your thighs. Writing down positives about ourself will be a huge step into your body positive journey. Feel proud about the body you have and hunny, if you have 17 things you love about yourself or even 90 things, then write them down!! Express your love for your body.

Tip 5: If you think exercise will help, then do it

Exercise is an activity that massively helps with mental health and the way you feel about yourself. This isn’t me saying you have to exercise to be body positive because you don’t have to change your body at all to do so. However, some people may find that working up a sweat and buying new gym clothes or going for a 3K run, does wonders for their confidence. When you know you’ve done something that impacts your mental health but also your physical health, it gives you that boost, those few minutes or whole week of happiness because you put in the effort to motivate yourself to sweat it out. Exercise is something that grows my confidence more than I thought it would. But again, exercise isn’t for everyone but if you are debating doing it, even if it’s once a week, try it!

Tip 6: Unfollow them

I’ll leave this as my last tip, and probably for some of you this will be the most important and affective tip. If you are following people who don’t bring you happiness on social media, then get rid. Whether you unfollow them or mute them, if you’re constantly comparing yourself or feeling down when that person uploads a selfie, then do something about it. Stop yourself from feeling down because ‘you don’t look like them’ and unfollow!!! The impact this has is insane. Trust me, if you asked anyone who has gone through their following list and unfollowed the people who don’t bring positivity to their life, they will most likely say it was one of the best things they have done to help their mindset and views on themselves. Follow people who’s posts bring you joy, who make you feel good and inspire you. Stop scrolling through a feed that makes you unhappy. You’re better than that.

I hope these tips make sense and that you find at least one of them useful. I know these tips may be quite ‘common’ but they’re still just as important as the last person who may of mentioned them. These tips are here to help you find your way through your journey of becoming body positive. When you put the time, effort and trust in yourself, you will see a difference.

If anyone else has any other tips or ways that helped you become body positive, please comment them – I would love to hear!