Birthday reflection piece

Jeez, another year older!

In the honour of my 24th lockdown birthday, I thought it will be quite nice to reflect on the lessons I’ve personally learned in the previous years.

I just thought I’d point out, I am in no position what-so-ever to give out life-advice and I certainly do not have it all figured out.

Besides, where’s the fun in that?

I wanted to embrace and express the feeling of turning twenty-four (a quarter-life crisis, some might say).

So here it goes… 24 lessons in 24 years:

1) People will come and go from your life – People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. This one has been a huge learning lesson for me. You start to realise that some people don’t have a space for you in their lives anymore, or vice versa, and that’s okay. I used to be such a people-pleaser and I thought the best way to avoid conflict and not hurt anyone is to just be nice. However people change, grow, relationships transform, you as a person develop, and sometimes things just fizzle out. Over time it starts to become a bit clearer.

2) Listen to your body and mind – Do you know that feeling when you have overexerted yourself?
Once it gets to a point that I am burning myself out, I need to take a break. If I don’t, it starts to show on my skin (Sudocrem you’re a life-saver), my sleeping pattern becomes shit and basically I become a bit of a mess. Unfortunately I can’t pause life, but everything else can wait until I have rejuvenated.

3) Some things you cannot control – Lets take this pandemic for example. Five years ago if you would have told me that we were going to be in this current situation, I probably would have LOL’d and said ‘yeah right, ok’. None of us saw this coming and we’ve all had to adapt to it in our own ways. This just proves that you have no idea what’s round the corner, life will just throw a lot of things at you and just have to kind of deal with it sometimes.

4) Heartbreak is painful (AF). I have no shame to admit that I’m a hopeless romantic (as cringe that may sound). When I fall hard for someone, I fall HARD. With the amount of times I’ve had my heart broken, I could easily write my own version of ‘Bridget Jones’. The sobs, the screams, the impulsive decisions – we’ve all been there. But sometimes when you can’t chase answers, closure has to come from within. I guess what Kelly Clarkson said was sort of relatable: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
Oh yeah! Also a massive shout out to my amigos for being my shoulder to cry on, love you all.

5) Expectations can lead to disappointment – I am still trying to learn this one as it can be in many different aspects. Life will not always turn out the way you want it to be, although it sucks, nothing and no-one will ever be perfect. There are just certain things in life which cannot be rushed or forced. Also it just causes so much stress/anxiety, so if something is not going my way I just have to take a (very) deep breath.

6) Social media can be toxic – I am pretty nosey and I love knowing at times what people are up to, however it can get a little chaotic when you start comparing your lives to others. Although it has a lot of advantages, you start to spiral if you’re constantly on social media. I try to avoid it as much as I can and use other tools for distractions, such as, going for a walk, reading a book or even organising my wardrobe.

7) You can’t be happy all the time – ‘Cheer up!’ I can’t tell you how much this really grates on me. I know sometimes it can come from a place of love, but honestly it’s physically impossible to feel only one emotion all the time. If you feel like a breakdown is pending, let it all out- crying is NOT a weakness. It can be exhausting to feel a certain way, feel whatever you want to feel. No matter what, life is always going to be full of ups and downs.

8) Embrace the single life – There is a difference of being alone and feeling lonely. I know we all crave for companionship, but I have appreciated focusing purely on myself. As RuPaul says, you have to love yourself before you can let someone else love you.

9) So what if you fail? – No-one likes rejection, but it’s a part of the journey. I have failed SO MANY things before in my life: Exams, Job applications, tests, relationships…But here I am owning it! I know that I will continue to keep failing at many things in the future, it can be a hard pill to swallow but the main thing is to not give up.
Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything” – Marilyn Monroe

10) Keep talking – Reach out for support. Whether this is ringing your mate for a chit-chat or seeking professional help. One of the best decisions I ever made was to start therapy, I did it for four months and it changed my outlook on life. As I have said before, it can be daunting to open up and show your vulnerability, but you are never alone.

11) We all have insecurities – You can be the most confident person in the world but still have insecurities. Never judge a book by its cover. I have several insecurities and I am still figuring out a way on how to challenge my thoughts and overcome them.

12) It’s always the little things – I am really not fussed about boujee things. Nandos for dinner, pub with friends, a good hair day, getting sweaty on the dancefloor, receiving post (that isn’t bills), sausage dogs, a beautiful sunset, making other people happy… I could literally go on, but these are some of the small things in life that never fail, to put the biggest smile on my face.

13) Be kind – I know this may sound cliché but it’s important. If someone is treating you poorly, it’s a reflection of themselves not you. Show yourself and others some compassion- gas people up, gas yourself up! It costs NOTHING.

14) Be your authentic self – I truly believe that different people bring out different versions of yourself. I know I’m abit weird, sometimes annoying and can be extra, but one thing I can assure you and that I am hella fun. Whilst growing up I used to hear a lot “the older you get the less you care what others think of you” and this is actually true. If people aren’t going to accept me the way I am then that’s their loss!

15) Its totally okay to make ‘mistakes’ – I’ve said the wrong thing to someone. I’ve drunk texted my ex before, I’ve trusted the wrong person and the list goes on. There’s no point beating yourself up about it, instead just accept it and move on. The more mistakes we make, the more human it makes us. It’s all about growth!

16) Write things down – I don’t know why but I find it really satisfying writing things down psychically, on a piece of paper. Whether that be post it note reminders on my desk, journaling or even a shopping list. I can really retain the information.

17) Show your creativity – Perhaps this is where the inspiration of creating my blog came from. It was a light bulb moment! I felt really restless and irritated during lockdown. When I started to write I could sense the enjoyment in venting, so what better way to channel all my negative energy into something creative.

18) Life is too short – I love being spontaneous, whether its big or small! Did I decide to waste money and buy flowers for myself? You’re DAMN RIGHT I did! Why? Well, why not. In the words of Dr.Seuss: “Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets.”

19) There is no age restriction – Honestly though, what’s the rush? I am 24 now (almost forgot my age) and still put a lot of pressure on myself. I am a single pringle, live at home with my parents, haven’t passed my driving test yet and I am not in my career job. But this is my journey, no-one else’s. I have to cut myself some slack because well, COVID is still a thing, there is no rush to get where I am. I often have to prompt myself that life is not a competition or a race.

20) Being grateful for so many things – Blood related or not, but my family (which also includes my friends) are everything for me. That’s one thing that will always keep me grounded. I wake up every day feeling really blessed for number of reasons: Wonderful people around me who will always have my back, a roof over my head, the NHS, earning income.

21) Always need a good detox – I am OBSESSED with herbal teas, I don’t drink normal tea or coffee (if I do have a traditional brew, I have more than 2 sugars in it. Please don’t judge) but it’s such a good feeling when you can feel your body is taking in the nutrients. I’ve now learnt the importance of getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water. After all health is wealth.

22) Follow your heart – Our ‘fight or flight’ feeling always kicks in from time to time. I’ve sat at my desk with my head in my hands, pondering over a tough situation. You can go through all the logical reasons, write down a pros and cons list, play devil’s advocate but every so often that all just goes out the window, because you can’t ignore what your gut is telling you.

23) Treat yo’self – Hun you were going to do it anyways! Sometimes you just have to admit that the temptation of spending money on a bottle of vino is needed. Do what makes you happy. End of.

24) Live more in the moment – Brb, I am going to go and cry of happiness now. Here we are. I am celebrating my 24th birthday at home with my lovely parents watching telly and eating (alot), although it’s not how I imagined the day to go, its been one of the best birthdays ever! I am feeling so blessed and grateful. Thank you to everyone for all your lovely wishes, your girl is making the most of it!

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