Things I've Learnt In My 20'sTuesday, 4 October 2016
I'll be 27 by the end of this year, and despite the fact I'm still a few years off being in my 30's, I've been reflecting lately on my 20's and how much I've changed, and how much I've learnt.
It's funny - I was just talking to a friend yesterday about how much my perspective on certain things has changed, and how it seemed to happen overnight. We joked about how 'old' we are now, as we watched a group of 18yr old girls walk past us at 12pm on a Sunday afternoon in pretty minimal clothing and obscenely high heels. Seriously, our judgement could be felt miles away - when did we turn into such nanna's? And when did we become so okay with that?
I thought I'd compile a little list of my own observations, as I find these quite interesting to read. Sometimes I think we all have our own worries, or thoughts, that we think are unique to only us, when in fact, it seems as though so many others have the exact same thought, and it genuinely makes you feel so much better!
So, my twenties, in a nutshell:
1. It's okay to stay in on Saturday night.
I've never been a big 'going out' person right from the get go. When you're young though, it almost seemed compulsory that you went out on a Saturday night. I would have friends of parents ask me why I wasn't going out on a Saturday night, and it made me feel almost humiliated - like I wasn't as cool as their kids. Then there was of course the dreaded question at work - any plans for the weekend? They were just being polite, but my usual answer of 'not much' seemed to illicit looks of judgement from everyone who asked, to the point where sometimes I'd even lie about my plans. LIE. What in the world...?
I love socialising and being with friends, but sometimes (most of the time) I just like to have a quiet weekend, and at the age of 27, I now can say with complete confidence that I actually LOVE staying in on Saturday nights. I'm not embarrassed to say that, and I'm so glad that feeling of 'needing to impress' has gone away. What a ridiculous thing to lie about - honestly!
2. Health is so much more important than 'being skinny'.
When I was a teenager, I never worried about 'health' or weight loss or anything like that. I was raised on a healthy diet and school meant I exercised all the time. I never had a confidence issue until I was about 18 and started to put a little weight on. Nearly ten years later, 'health' is something that crosses my mind every single day, and it's made me realise how much it really can mean.
Health isn't about dieting, gym routines or calories. It's about your body, as a whole. It's about educating yourself on foods and what works for you, what makes you happy, and embracing what you have. I am always going to love food, and eating. I am never going to be great at portion control, and I'm never going to like quinoa.
I have also realised that years of not paying attention to what I'm doing to my body is starting to take a toll on not just my stomach or my hips, but also my heart and my mind. If I knew how much damage I was doing to my mind, I would have gotten a hold of it years ago before it got out of hand.
Listen to your body, don't listen to anyone else. You will know whats best.
3. You cannot pull off winged eyeliner, and it's okay.
I have hooded eyes, which means winged eyeliner gets cut off at the crease and looks really weird. I can do it if I make the wing really thick (and 60's style, which I love!) but it takes a lot of effort and doesn't come across as being very casual. I've definitely learnt after ten years of trying that I'm just not ever going to have the perfect cat eye flick, and it's totally okay. There are other things that suit me better!
4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
This is my biggest and worst habit, especially being in the blogosphere. I have consistently compared myself to others and it's never ended well, so why did I keep doing it?
I think it's natural to compare yourself to others, and in some ways its a healthy thing. It's what helps us learn and grow, but I've realised that there is a point where you have to stop and look at what you have achieved on your own already. Envy is never a nice look, and it certainly isn't ever going to push you in a good direction.
5. Not everything is going to happen smoothly.
I knew from a pretty early age that nothing I wanted to do was going to be easy. It would have been great if I just finished my Business degree and got a job in Marketing, but unfortunately it was decided that I definitely could not, and would not follow an easy path, and whatever it is that's in store for me is not going to be easy to achieve.
For the most part, everyone always has to work hard to get where they are, that's a given, but I know particularly when you're interested in creative industries, it's always so much harder to get where you want, and I really had to sit down one day and tell myself that if I want to be happy, then I have to stop letting every road bump get in my way.
It may seem cheesy, but I actually got a Latin quote tattooed on my arm a few years ago, as when I first read it, it really resonated with me.
"Fluctuat nec Mergitur."
It roughly translates to 'She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink', which to me seems like a reminder that despite all battles, you must pick yourself up and try again. I think this is something we must all remember in times of hardship!
6. Resist picking at your skin at all costs.
Okay, to be fair, I still haven't quite learnt this. What I have learnt though is that picking at spots ALWAYS makes them worse - why do we keep doing it? Not only does it aggravate the skin further, but it almost always leaves a scar. Nothing good has ever come of it, so why do we keep doing it?
7. Wear sunscreen.
Growing up in a country with an extreme UV index and the highest rate of skin cancer in the world would make you think I am completely sun-savvy. Sadly, sunscreen was just not something of high importance when I was young, and so as a young adult, I was a little too carefree for my liking.
It's mostly the smell - I can't stand the smell of sunscreen, so when I was a kid I would struggle awfully when my mum tried to put it on me and she would end up giving up and letting me go. I tan very easily, I have a naturally olive complexion, however that doesn't mean I'm immune from burning and wow have I had some bad experiences in the past. As a teenager and young adult, you kind of brush it off - yep, it hurts but than tan is so worth it! That's all I really ever saw, so I didn't care.
Fast forward to my late twenties, and I'm a lot more aware of the consequences. Some are already apparent, but others I'm waiting for, paranoid more than ever. I've always been lucky that I've had great skin, never needed skincare until I was about 21, never really needed to wear a lot of makeup. Now though, my face is full of broken capillaries and sun damage, and it's irreversible unless I want to undergo laser surgery. I have so many regrets, as I now feel like the redness in my face is so bad I absolutely have to cover it up, and no skincare can help me.
As for my paranoia, my body is basically covered in moles and small freckles. I mean, not covered, but they're there. On my back, my arms, and a couple on my legs. I have to watch these so carefully, and I know one day I'm going to have to suck it up and visit a skin clinic to get them checked. To be honest, I'm dreading it. It's one of my biggest fears to receive news I may have skin cancer (even if it's something that can be removed easily). The ads on TV do a good job on instilling fear into me, and I just wish I could go back in time and cover myself in sunscreen like everyone else. Couldn't they at least have made good sunscreens earlier in my life? The ones they have on the market now are great!
8. Embrace your weirdness.
It may come as a surprise to some, but I was not a cool kid. Shocking, I know. I'm still not very cool but I kind of like that. I like that I'm a little kooky, and a little weird, and I hope this is something that sets me apart. I'm not sure why or when liking something 'out of the norm' became something to mock, because it's ridiculous and petty. Your weirdness makes you interesting, and no one wants to be dull!
I'm okay with being an absolute Harry Potter lover. I am currently wrapped in a giant Harry Potter blanket I've had since I was ten. I play games on my phone. I don't like Adam Sandler or any of his movies (except maybe Big Daddy and his cameo in Hot Chick). I love reading (although I don't consider this weird, and it's so wrong that it's become 'un-cool' to read). I used to make websites from scratch when I was as young as 13, and yes, sometimes I still want to play The Sims. I just love decorating houses, okay?
9. Prioritise what you want in life and make it happen.
By this, I'm mostly talking about money and where to spend it. I've been told consistently since I was about 16 that I need to save up and not spend my money on rubbish. I'm not sure what 'rubbish' was meant to mean, but I certainly don't think I was spending money on it. For me, I loved (and still do) travelling. I would save up all through my uni months and when it came to holidays, I would fly back home and have a fun two weeks with my friends, whether we took a mini holiday or just spent all our money on food and drinks and movies. Whatever it was, I had a great time and now I have great memories to reflect back on.
In my early twenties, I decided to branch out and travel overseas. I travelled the world for three months on less than $10,000 and saw almost everything I wanted, and had one of the greatest experiences of my life.
This is where I place importance - experience. I know people as young as 21 or 22 who are busy saving for their first home, and who haven't stepped foot on a plane. To me, this is crazy - a house is an investment you are paying off for the rest of your life (especially if you live in Sydney!), why would you throw yourself into that at such a young age?
If this is what you want though, go for it. If that is what will make you truly happy, do everything in your power to make it happen.
If you want to travel to another five countries before you turn 30, don't listen to everyone telling you to save for a car, or a house. Do what you know will make you happy - there is time for everything else later in life. Embrace your youth. We can worry about everything else in our 30's ;)
10. Friendships become harder to maintain the older you get.
This one was hard to realise. The words 'I've been such a bad friend.' have been uttered in my circle of friends more times than I can count. It's silly, of course. It's also a reality of becoming an adult, and your life changing before your eyes.
I think it must happen early in your twenties. We all finish university, or pick up full time jobs. We start relationships, form new circles of friends, pick up new hobbies. Before we know it, 'hanging out' seems like something of the past and something we now have to 'schedule' in. It's a sad reality, but I think it affects a lot of us.
When this was starting to happen, when all our priorities shifted, I realised that we now needed to work harder than ever to maintain our relationships with people, but when you have a great relationship with someone, it's actually, not very hard at all.
I could have come up with a list a mile long, but these are the ones that stood out for me - and yes, learning I could not pull off winged liner was pretty devastating and naturally made the cut.
What about you guys? I can't believe how much of a change you go through in your twenties - adulting is so hard!