1. People aren’t always who you think they are. My best friend during high school got pregnant less than a year after we left. I never found this out until another friend told me four months after she’d had the baby. I’d even seen my friend three times during her pregnancy and hadn’t even noticed!
2. Cling on to your passions as soon as you discover what they are – and don’t ever let them go. One of my passions is writing and for the past year I have been in such a soul-destroying and energy-draining job that I’ve never felt the motivation to write like I used to. Now that I’m out of that job I’m playing catch-up, but it feels so good!
3. Let yourself get hurt. I don’t mean go out and let someone beat you up and, hell, don’t you ever dare let anyone abuse you or take advantage of you in any way, shape or form. What I mean is don’t be scared to let your heart get broken as the only things that have the power to do so are the things that will teach you the most about the world.
4. Absolutely sod all is permanent. Are you worrying about an exam? It’ll be over soon. Are you heartbroken over a lost love? Take what worked well from it and use it to make the next one even better. Are you in a job you hate? You won’t be in it forever. Seriously, nothing is permanent. Not even life. So don’t be afraid to let go of something or change your situation.
5. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first. This is maybe not ideal when you have kids but if you don’t have kids then you have no excuse. Get out of that job you hate and move to somewhere you’ve always wanted to be. Friends will stay in touch if they’re worth keeping and following what you want to do is the best way to find the friends you have most in common with. Two months ago I was living at home with my parents in a job I thought I was stuck in that was making me feel the worst I had ever felt. I was determined to get out of the situation and made the selfish move of changing it and applying for things I actually wanted to do, regardless of where they were in the country. Within two weeks I had moved to a new city with a new job and a new car and I’ve never been happier.
6. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever give up on your dreams. Ever. I mean it.
7. On a ‘good’ day make a playlist to help you through a ‘bad’ day. I’ve often thanked my past self for being so well-prepared and creating an awesome playlist that I can listen to when I’m having one of those everything-is-going-wrong days. Shame the emergency chocolate stash my past self made didn’t last very long…
8. Do as much as you can while you’re young or at high school, college and/or university. I got to where I am today not just because of a degree, but because of all the extra-curricular stuff I did alongside my studies. Throughout the four years I was at University I struggled to say no to new opportunities and found myself spending three years in the musical theatre society; being voted a captain for the netball team; spending two years as a voluntary Zumba instructor; spending a year as a student ambassador; spending a year as a student ‘buddy’; being a section editor for the student magazine; being the deputy editor for the online student media outlet; being nominated for one of the student awards; a year in dance club; and a semester studying abroad.
Amongst all that I somehow ended up with a 2:1 and I wouldn’t say I’m the smartest kid on the block. A lot of the vital skills I have needed for jobs I’ve undertaken were learnt through all the extra things I did during my studies. I learnt a lot more about interacting with people and life in general.
9. Stop worrying. Okay I will be honest, I haven’t actually learned this skill yet. But I’m definitely improving! As I mentioned earlier, nothing is going to be permanent. Friends come and go, your situation may change, some days will be really good and some days you’ll wish you’d never got out of bed. But that’s all part of being human – it’s even in the job description.
What’s important is how you handle these situations. I always find myself worrying about things that ‘might happen’ but find I remain quite calm during the ‘bad’ times (which are often nowhere near as bad as the worst case scenarios that initially crossed my mind). To worry is to be the party pooper.
10. Enjoy the moments while they’re happening and not when you look back on them. Enough said.