21 Things I've Learned on my 21st Birthday
I turned 21 this week, wahey! As this is a rather big birthday, I thought I'd do a quick roundup post of the 21 things I've learned as I've reached this day that I want to take forward as my life goes on. I hope this post is helpful for other confused, anxious and stressed twenty-somethings out there!
Grades and qualifications don't really matter Literally, any opportunity I've come across has never been about what I got on my last marketing exam, or how many GCSEs I have. As long as you have serious drive, employability, experience and you have something unique to offer, you can get nearly any job you set your sights on!
It's cool to be a quitter Quit jobs, quit university courses, quit relationships, quit anything that doesn't feel right. I don't mean just give up on everything and crawl back into bed (as appealing as that sounds sometimes), I mean that if something isn't benefitting you in the short-term or long-term, and is, in fact, detrimental to your life, it's not worth your time, and you'll find something new and sooooooo much better.
Mums usually know best 99.9% of the time, my mum is right. Too bad I usually only realise this with hindsight. Listen to your mother guys, sometimes she talks sense, especially when it comes to the really important stuff.
Don't write things off before you try them As teens, I think we are often so obsessed with fitting in and being 'cool' that we don't get to discover what we truly enjoy. For example, I used to think only mega-nerds went to poetry nights, and they do; but now those mega-nerds are some of my most wonderful friends!
It's not them, it's you I'm all for giving yourself slack, but it gets to the point sometimes when you need to stop passing on the blame to others and face the (wo)man in the mirror.
FOMO is bullshit Social media makes us think that we're missing out on the coolest things, and feel guilty for working or relaxing, especially living in a city where there's something happening every night of the week. But if you analyse it, half the events, social or otherwise, you go to are pretty disappointing and you wish you were back in bed or getting on with your to-do list.
Never stop learning Lately, I've been really enjoying getting outside the bubble of fashion that I and many other often float within. Listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, going to talks, reading articles- consume as widely as you can, from politics to biology.
Question everything, especially those in power Whether it's your lecturer or your prime minister, your therapist or your royal family, don't take everything as it comes especially from authoritative figures. It's good to be argumentative sometimes.
Check your privilege Growing up as a middle class (ish) white straight person, its easy to forget how much of an advantage you hold in life, and it is so important to think carefully before you speak and act on on that. This way of thinking also helps you 'check the priveledges' of others, and notice when, for example, men are are being outrageously sexist- something I take great pleasure in pointing out regularly.
Mental health is just as important as physical health Mental health days are totally acceptable and often completely necessary, just as much as taking time off with the flu.
Don't be afraid to argue for what you believe in You'll always regret it when you don't. If people think you're an asshole for being an outspoken young woman, so be it.
Be a better friend True friendships are the one thing in life that can really stand the distance throughout the different stages of your life, and its so important to keep working on them because they often fade so quickly. You want people to be there for you when you're in need, so you need to be there for them, even when you're in a good patch. My new year's resolution this year is definitely to be a better friend, simple but effective.
Get outside of your comfort zone as often as possible Enough said.