Twenty-three years old and sometimes I feel wise beyond my years. I have plenty of life experience and have definitely come a long way over the years. So here are ten things I wish I had known ten years ago…
1.) Stop caring so much about what other people think. Embrace yourself. Believe in yourself.
I was born a worrier and have always cared deeply about the thoughts of others, whether they actually existed or were simply perceived. I know this anxiety has held me back and sometimes stopped me from doing things. Over the years I have learned that there are some things that are simply out of my control. In life there will be people who love you and others who don’t; to them we say fuck you👋. You can’t please everybody but by embracing yourself, standing up for what you believe in and doing what you want to do in life you will attract truer more reliable friends and that is far more valuable. These people are more likely to support you and have your back, that’s what you need from friendship. 🤞💛
2.) Always be grateful.
For a long time I spent my life blaming other people for how I felt. Now I have changed my mindset and can see how the ‘attitude of gratitude’ can really affect your day-to-day life. Really appreciating the small stuff instead of always focusing on the negative has helped to improve my mood. I generally feel a lot more positive and genuinely blessed to have my family, friends, gorgeous pup and to be alive, mostly healthy and live within walking distance Starbucks. The little things. 🙌
3.) Don’t look back for too long, live and let live.
I guess it’s natural to spend some time thinking about the past but don’t get stuck there; learn from it and move on.
4.) If you are struggling, speak out.
Nobody knows how you are feeling if you don’t tell them. People are not mind-readers. Express your feelings; even if it is scary, even if you feel silly, you will feel better because of it. Don’t be ashamed of your feelings- tell people you love them if that’s how you feel and if you aren’t really into that guy anymore then let him know, you aren’t obliged to do anything. If you are worried about something just ask, don’t let the worry fester.
5.) You can’t please everyone.
It’s impossible to please everyone and if you try to do that you will set yourself up to fail. I spent most of my life trying to do that, always saying yes to things I didn’t want to do- was it due to fear of letting someone down or just FOMO (fear of missing out)? Probably a bit of both but either way I would end up burning myself out due to making so many plans with people. Drinks with new friends, old friends, getting tickets for nights I had never heard of just so I could get fucked off my face. Holidays? Yeah I’ll be there! It was all fun with friends though right? I turned into a social butterfly, allowing a cycle of addictive behaviours to go under the radar often being referred to as ‘life of the party’ etc. due to always being the drunkest person there. It wasn’t until I took a step back and some time for myself I realised what I actually wanted out of life and how my decisions and behaviour were affecting my goals. I have become more assertive and have realised you don’t have to say yes to absolutely everything to be liked. Your friends will still be your friends. The person you should be most worried about pleasing is yourself.
6.) Stop being so hard on yourself, it will all work out in the end.
Give yourself a break, nobody is perfect. Learn to take criticism and use it to improve yourself. Focus on the positives and remember you can only do your best. Don’t compare yourself to others because you aren’t them, it will only get you down. Always be optimistic yet realistic. Know that it always works out in the end, perhaps not how we imagined it but life works in mysterious ways.
7.) Exercise daily, it will change your life!
There are literally so many reasons to incorporate exercise into your life; it improves mood and boosts energy, it is good for your health as it helps to fight disease, helps to control weight, encourages better sleep, whilst being fun and social! Yes you can go to the gym if that’s what you fancy but remember to mix it up. I have done various classes which I have enjoyed such as spinning, metafit, bums and tums. Yoga is a class I want to try next. I have been running outdoors and enjoyed swimming in the pool. My favourite form of exercise is walking my cockapoo Ollie as it doesn’t even feel like a work out; we go for long walks, have a run about and we are both knackered by the time we get home! I think the important thing is finding something that you can keep up and build into a daily routine.
8.) Eating a balanced diet is key to happiness.
I have always had a massive sweet tooth and often binged on chocolate. Struggling with my weight and mood growing up was hard with a restricted diet, but as I have gotten older and my taste buds expanded I have been able to see the links between food and mood. I now try to avoid binging on sugar as it definitely affects my mood. I have managed to lose six stone over the last two years, and I believe that is down to a balanced diet and eating everything in moderation.
9.) Water is the only drink you should be drinking 2L off… not alcohol!
Another big factor in my weight loss was cutting out fizzy drinks and reducing alcohol. Now I am living sober so have completely cut alcohol out of my diet and am really feeling the benefits of it- read about how I am finding sobriety here in my latest post.
Ten years ago is when I started drinking, me and my friends would drink two litres of cheap cider and get absolutely hammered. On reflection I see that alcohol was probably the cause to all my acne issues that troubled me through my teens and into my adult life; as now just as I have finally received a referral into dermatology my acne seems to be clearing up for the first time in ten years aka the first time I have stopped drinking in that same period. Coincidence?
My skin theory is not the only reason I would suggest to drink water over alcohol. Perhaps I wouldn’t have had such a rocky road if I had chosen to abstain from alcohol all those years ago. I suffer from deep emotional issues and alcohol was my substance of choice. It was a gateway drug and led me onto harder more damaging drugs which were unhelpful for me and my mental health. I do not wish to dwell on the past and hang onto ifs and buts but I am glad I am sober going forward as alcohol lessens my decision making and often puts me in dangerous situations I would prefer not to be in.
10.) Happiness > Money
Ten years ago I thought by twenty-three I would probably have a house, car, dream job and a hot man by now. Meh, I’m not even half-way there but I’ve learned there is no right way to go about things and the important thing is to be happy. I have a roof over my head and live with my partner. I never imagined I would be doing the job I am, there is a lot of stigma attached to working from home but it works for me. I was brave enough to chose a degree that would make me happy and follow my passion rather than one that would be a guaranteed money-earner and I am so glad that I took the risk.
You cannot predict where you will be in a years time, never-mind ten-years but for now I am taking each day as it come and remembering to live in the moment and stay grateful each day.
If you could give yourself some advice that you wish you’d known earlier, what would it be?