Thursday, 26 January 2017

A FEW THINGS I HAVE LEARNT IN MY QUARTER OF A CENTURY

It is exactly two weeks until I turn a quarter of a century old – 25 years to be precise on this planet that I never really anticipated living through this quickly. Am I a mature, grown up and rational individual who has sorted all their shit out when it comes to love, life and being in adult? Hell no! But I am a much calmer, happier and also more grateful person than I have ever been in my life, learning a few valuable lessons along the way that have made becoming this ripe old age a little more bearable:

Always take your make up off before you go to bed. 
Yes, it sounds totally lame and unnecessary but trust me after waking up one too many times with mascara rubbed all over your face and bad skin to follow for weeks after, you realise how important it is to get the stuff off. Program your drunk self to make the extra effort (and if you can use Liz Earle’s cleanser - it may be a little pricey but god damn your skin will thank you forever).

Know your spirits
Again this is one comes down to experience. Learn what you can drink and what makes you an absolute psycho (for me that is vodka and too much Prosecco)- no one wants to be that annoying and obnoxious girl on a night out that blacks out. If you want to waste your money do it on something you at least remember.

Be passionate about something.
It sounds silly but get a hobby that isn’t getting wasted, a boy or being at work. For me that is films and there is nothing I love more than watching a fantastic movie which inspires me and lets me view the world in a new way. It doesn’t matter what it is but find your niche, celebrate and cultivate it.

Exercise.
I never thought I’d say it but heck I enjoy exercising! As someone that over-thinks and over-analyses just about everything, regular exercise has become a healthy form of release. It doesn’t matter what you do (for me it is a weekly high intensity Body Attack class at Virgin), no it is about pushing your body and focusing your mind on something that isn’t work or related to all the other annoying little things connected to your every day life. You don’t have to be a gym bunny exercising every day, instead for me it is about once a week refocusing my energy and tiring myself out in a way that makes me not fret about things I really shouldn’t and keeping me fit at the same time.

Try meditation
Again my very cynical self was toooootalllyyy against the sheer idea of trying it but with a lot persuasion and my increasingly debilitating fear of flying I gave meditating a go via the “Headspace” app and as ridiculous as it may sound it indeed positively changed my life. Simply learning how to focus your mind and block out unnecessary thoughts suddenly made my life a hell of a lot easier. All I can say is give it a go, the app is free and after all what have you got to lose even if you don’t like it? I for one sleep a lot better these days because of it.

Don’t succumb to peer pressure.
I know easier said than done but just follow your gut. We all make mistakes, we all try things- be it excessive drinking, drugs or abusive relationships but do it on your own terms and learn your own lessons, no one should ever have that kind of power over you.

Love your parents
The older you get the more you realise how annoying, eccentric and generally insane they are but you are stuck with them and as crazy as it sounds they do only want the best for you. Knowing what is like to loose one of them early listen to me and treasure every moment you have with them, especially when it hits home that they are only going to get older and frailer and and won’t be around forever to tell you off and more importantly love you unconditionally.

Enjoy your alone time. 
As any of my good friends will know my Saturdays are reserved for “Stella Time” time – one day a week where I can do all the Netflix binging, ubereats eating and napping I want whilst looking incredibly gross in my pj’s and not feel a tad guilty about it. In my early twenties I used to worry a lot about being constantly socially engaged and never alone but the older I’ve gotten the more I have realised how crucial it is to cherish one’s own company. Maybe it’s because I am an only child but with our social lives being under constant scrutiny via Instagram, Facebook and the like, jobs that don’t end when we leave the office and a sense that we always have to be the most fun and outgoing person in any given situation, we need to learn how to be comfortable in just ourselves and realising that being able to do exactly that is a luxury we should make the most of.

Don’t be in a relationship for the sake of it. 
I guess one could call me a relationship failure - I am yet to have a proper serious relationship and have become my own worst enemy by slowly yet surely evolving into  a total commitement-phobe BUT I have learned one thing- either a relationship works or it doesn’t. It shouldn’t be a struggle and you should definitely not try and become a different person just so that a guy likes you back because in they end of the day they won’t. If someone truly loves you, they’ll take you with all your crazy (and I have plenty of that for sure). Until I find that guy I am very happy being single and so should you be.  

Travel! 
For me taking the plunge of buying plane tickets to see new places like New York and Helsinki last year was one of best and most enriching things I have done in my life so far. Yes, saving is good but as cliché as it sounds you only live once so treat yourself while you can. There are so many great places to visit on this planet that will irrevocably change and shape your view of the world and yourself as part of it forever.

Cherish your friends because the good ones are like family. 
You’ll loose a lot of friends in a life time and that is ok. People change, circumstances change and even though a friend break up can be as bad as a romantic one, trust me you’ll get over it eventually. However if you are lucky (and I have) you may find people that accept you for who you are, who you can laugh with, that will also tell you off when you are acting like a little shit and who you can make memories with you will never forget. For me the last few years have been especially great in finding exactly those kind of people and I couldn’t be happier to call them my friends, a support network I can call on no matter how awful other areas in my life may be going.

Find a job you love.
Heck we will all hopefully live way past 80 these days so don’t spend your Monday to Friday wishing that you’d rather be somewhere else. I may not earn as much as someone in finance or law but I bloody love what I do and I always try to deliver the best possible performance in it. Money is money but finding satisfaction in what you do for a living is something that at least in my eyes means a lot more.

Don’t be scared of dying.
This has strangely been my biggest struggle in recent years, perhaps rooted in the fact that I lost my dad, granddad and grandma in a very short space of time . As one of my (enviably) more careless friends said to me “I’d rather die knowing I’ve had a fucking great life than worrying about it ending” – and she is right, if it is our time to go I guess we just have to accept that. Wherever we end up going after death there really is no point in worrying about that until the time is nigh. Life isn’t fair, some people will die way, way too young but I will try not waste the time I have left on this planet worrying about when exactly the clock is up for me and just enjoy the fact I am alive till then.

So here is to the next 25 years! 



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