Bear with me. Before you go ahead and read this, I want to make it very clear that I am very aware of my age. I am therefore aware that I haven’t experienced everything life has to offer just yet, but I wanted to share what I have and what it’s taught me so far. Here goes.
1. Life is better with friends. You can’t always do it solo.
If I’ve learnt anything this year, this is certainly it. During the majority of my time in sixth form, due to circumstances at the time, I distanced myself from friends and isolated myself as much as possible. I had an attitude of going it alone. I didn’t “need” anyone. I was “fine” on my own. Realistically this does not make for a happy life or a sane mind for that matter. You can have lots of friends in your life AND still have your independence.
2. Dirty Dancing really can save lives. And cure hangovers. Swayze all day long.
This one speaks for itself. All I’ll say is that it’s sorted hungover me and my friend Lisa out many a time.
3. Self-love is NOT selfish. Nor is self-acceptance. It’s a necessity.
As with the majority of us, my teen years really brought my self-esteem down a peg or two. As I involuntarily welcomed spots to my face and curves to my figure, I really classed myself as an ugly duckling for a while. Self-love is something I’ve persistently worked on these last few years. I’m slowly learning to love my body no matter what the number on the scale or what the size tag on my clothes say. I’m learning that my weird, crazy, messy self is enough.
4. Whilst we’re on the topic – the right people will let you be who you are.
Stop trying so hard to be someone you’re not to impress people that won’t matter a year from now. Get comfortable with who you are and the right people will stay and/or enter your life. I promise you.
5. A made bed makes the biggest difference to your day.
I can’t take credit for this one as it was something my Grandma drilled into all of us growing up. Take 2 minutes each day to make your bed and see the difference for yourself.
6. Make time to do what you love.
Yes, everyone says it but hear me out. Not only is it essential for our happiness but you never know where pursuing it may lead you.
7. The tough times make you stronger. You just have to keep going.
After losing a father figure at the age of 16, I remember questioning how I’d get by without his guidance. Whilst I still miss him every day, I’m doing much better than I thought possible 4 years later. Trying times really bring you right down to the bottom but please never give up. Take it one day at a time.
8. Too much alcohol leads to drunk crying.
Sorry uni friends…
9. Writing about your feelings actually helps. Trust me.
Transferring thoughts to (pen and then) paper can really help you understand and deal with emotions or situations. Give it a try.
10. Avoiding problems or general life duties does NOT make them go away. What?!
I still like to test this one at least once a week just to be sure…
11. Embarrassment doesn’t last but regret will.
“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just, literally, 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it” – Benjamin Mee. I’d much rather risk embarrassment than live the rest of my days thinking ‘what if?’
12. There’s nothing a good cup of tea and some biscuits can’t solve.
Need I say more?
13. Lazing around is nice every once in a while. Unfortunately, it won’t do your mental health any favours.
For the sake of my mental wellbeing, I’ve certainly found that getting up and being productive rather than spending all day in bed is so important. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done but give it a try. I should also give credit to my sister, Bethan on this one.
14. The best adventures you’ll go on will be the spontaneous ones.
Sometimes, not having a plan is the best way. Some of the best moments of my life have been the ones not planned.
15. Everybody is an individual therefore no one life is lived the same.
Stop comparing the pace of your life e.g. goals, achievements etc to others. You live your OWN life.
16. Don’t be afraid to fail. Mistakes only help your journey of growth.
Failure is terrifying but necessary in order to familiarise yourself with rejection and consequently grow from it.
17. You’ll have many sleepless nights. Sometimes for no reason at all.
I’ve found the best thing to do with these is to NOT fight it. Read a book, make a cup of tea – something to distract you. This will tire you out a lot quicker than getting worked up because you can’t sleep.
18. Learn how to take care of yourself FIRST before investing in house plants.
R.I.P. to all but one plants that died whilst under my care…
19. Music will get you through almost anything.
Along the years, music has been my biggest saviour. Whether to get me through the stresses of exams or have a good time on a night out with friends. Music artists are certainly underrated for the millions of lives they touch.
20. Here comes the cliche: Life is too short. Forgive yourself and others.
Stop beating yourself up for mistakes made or things not done. Stop holding grudges against people over subjects that won’t matter in a few weeks time. Forgiveness, whether towards yourself or somebody else will set you free. It certainly makes for a happier life.