I wasn’t sure if I needed to write about what I learnt at 23 after I read my post from last year about what I’d learnt at 22 which is full of slightly profound and pessimistic truths. I wrote that post after my break up (which I’ve written a bit about here) when I was in the middle of living between two homes and figuring out how to get out of a rental agreement with my ex. I wasn’t sure if I had anything to add to that list, but in hindsight I’ve probably changed more in this past year than ever before.
As I’m a mid-March baby, I managed to celebrate my 23rd before the lockdown began, though half my family cancelled last minute as they were quite worried about the virus, which at the time I thought was a bit dramatic. I guess that sums up how naive we all were back then.
On Sunday I celebrated my 24th birthday, which I’m still in complete denial about, though I do prefer being an even number – 24 just sound so much better than 23 right? This year has been a huge period of growth, failure and more trial and error than ever, more so than most people realise I think as we’ve all become so accustomed to absorbing the versions of each other that we see online.
I have achieved a lot this year, but that came with a lot of failures, rejections and confusion about what I want to do with my life. I’ve learnt a lot, as with every year, but the pandemic has been a reminder that life is short and valuable and as I so pessimistically put it last year: Don’t plan too far ahead, instead roll with what life throws at you.
Here’s 23 things I learnt at 23:
- Having your hair cut and coloured makes you feel like a fresh new woman. There’s really nothing like it is there? April 12th can’t come soon enough.
- You literally can’t take anything for granted (emphasis on the anything there); Freedom, human rights, seeing friends, none of it.
- Reading is more effort than scrolling on social media but it’s so much better for your soul.
- You don’t need to force yourself to fit in one box, embrace everything you’re passionate about rather than limit yourself. Hello to all my multi-hyphenates! It’s OK to do multiple jobs or have multiple passions. It’s OK if what you do and who you are doesn’t fit in an Instagram bio.
- Just because something sounds good, doesn’t mean it is. In the same way, if someone else does something that’s works for them, it doesn’t mean it’ll be good for you.
- I’d rather spend money on a holiday than on clothes & takeaways. I’d also rather spend it on alcohol in a foreign country than my own, as I’d like to sit in the sun, feel the warmth on my skin and look out at the ocean.
- Life is too short to spend it at work, go on adventures as often as you can!
- Don’t be in competition with people, collaborate with them.
- I really do hate wearing jeans (and sometimes bras). If I could live in dresses for the rest of my life (or bikinis) I would.
- Going out for a walk massively changes your mood – you sometimes just have to force yourself out of the door.
- How something makes you feel is more important than how it looks to other people.
- Don’t procrastinate on doing something you love just because it scares you. You have to face your fear… apparently.
- Compartmentalising your life is not useful if you prioritise one area over another. I’ve neglected so much this year (including my fitness and health) from focusing on my career.
- A pamper does WONDERS. Self care has become a cliche, but oh my days, taking time for yourself will lift your mood and reset your mind more than you can possibly imagine. Who knew taking care of yourself would help so much? Oh wait…
- A great film, book or TV series will pretty much get you through anything.
- You can have a burnout every week… and I really wouldn’t recommend it.
- You don’t have to finish or continue with everything you start. I feel like this is something I’ve re-learnt this year, as I’ve explored new career options and started more projects, half of which I’d like to drop now.
- There is more to life than your career.
- You don’t need to see great friends to know they’re always there.
- A job is never worth jeprodisring your mental health.
- A funny dog video is guaranteed to boost your mood.
- Your body isn’t the wrong size, if you believe it is then you’ll never be happy. Embrace and love how your body is and what it enables you to do everyday.
- Life is short and precious, spend it doing things you love with people you love… when your government allows it (and that’s not a joke).
What have you learnt this past year?