I recently turned 28 in a predictably beauty product, theatre and Prosecco-filled celebration, which was great. But after settling into this new age a little bit (because it takes a good week or two to not say your old age when someone asks you), I realised that means I turned 18 an entire ten years ago. I’m not going to pretend that I wasn’t alarmed when that dawned on me. But reflecting on it, I actually couldn’t be happier that I’m not a teenager anymore. My life has changed in more ways than I could have ever of imagined in that time and I’m so grateful for all the blessings that have come my way over the last decade. But if I could hop in a time machine and go back to tell myself ten things I’ve learned over the last ten years they would be:
- Hustle hard. You can achieve anything you want, but never expect anyone to just hand it to you. Be humble, work hard and be kind. Once you find your focus, you’ll gradually unlock the doors you need to open for you to get to where you want to be. It won’t happen overnight, but it will be worth it.
- Travel as much as possible and as far as you can – especially to the most healing place there is, the Caribbean.
- Not all friendships are real, or supposed to last forever. Realising that will be hard, and you will get hurt. But letting go of people who don’t have your best intentions at heart will open you up to a whole new world of people who really do.
- You are not as fat as you think you are. All the scale tells you is your weight, not how beautiful you are or if you have permission to be happy yet, so stop stepping on it expecting it to tell you that you are loved. Actually, just stop going anywhere near it in general.
- Drop any energy that doesn’t serve you. When you feel resentment, abandonment or anger the only person that it hurts will be you. When you let it go and replace it with positivity, the universe will draw so many great things to you in return.
- You will fall in love with the most wonderful man, and it will change you forever. But everyone was right, it’ll only happen when you stop hating yourself so much.
- A cuddle with a fluffy dog fixes almost anything, as do walks by the beach.
- The hardest thing you’ll ever have to learn is that not everyone is going to like you, and that’s OK. I promise, you’ll get there eventually.
- Hangovers double in length and how bad they feel the second you turn twenty-six. You have been warned…
- Spend more time with your family. End of.
If I could go back and do my life from 18 onwards all over again, would I? Absolutely not. While it’d be nice to have younger skin (I’m looking at you, under eye circles) and all those years of possibilities ahead of me again, none of us would be who we are today without working through all of those insecurities, difficult times and important lessons.
As we live, all the silly things that seemed so important at the time just fall away. You figure out the things that people said about you that you thought were true, weren’t at all. And you wonder why you even listened to them in the first place. Eventually, you’ll learn to love who you are and when you do, you don’t let random people dictate your self-esteem anymore. You somehow learn to strengthen your defences, but not put up walls to keep people out, either.
The life we have is short and finite, and as you live, it becomes clearer all the time what actually matters and where your love should be directed. And really, that’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Cheers to that.