Hello all! Today I turn 25. Yep, I'm a whole quarter of a whole century. That's a real, adult age, isn't it? I probably shouldn't still be living at home. Some elements of my life aside, I do feel like mentally, I'm finally as close to a grown up as I ever hope to do, especially compared to teenage Sophie. Here's 25 lessons that I've learned so far in life...
1) Be unapologetically curious. Travel as much as your finances and lifestyle will allow. Order that weird dish on the menu that you've always wondered about. Go to that museum you've always wanted to. Go to the cinema alone. Watch independent films. Walk the scenic route. Go everything and try everything you get the opportunity to.
2) Having regrets is not a bad thing, just as long as they don't consume your life. Use your regrets to push yourself forward rather than to feel bitter about your past. I regret going to uni (which I blogged about here) but I try and use it to motivate me to never regret a 4 year per duo of my life again.
3) A loving and supportive family (blood or otherwise) are not a given. Not everyone is as fortunate, so if you have a loving and supportive family, appreciate them every day. If you have good people around you, you'll probably be okay.
4) Stand up for yourself. If you follow me on social media, you probably know I can be a bit of a gobshite from time to time, but years of relentless bullying in primary school taught me that biting my tongue only leaves me feeling angry, frustrated and invisible. If I feel strongly about something, I want to share it. On the same note though, I've also learned that picking my battles is important too.
5) Being passionate is priceless. Whether that's passionate about social injustices, feminism, LGBT issues or politics, beauty, fashion, sport, food, literature, art, film, music. Literally anything at all. Passion can't be faked so if you truly feel passionate about something, do everything in your power to keep that flame burning.
6) The mainstream is just as valid as the obscure. If you love One Direction, that's great. If you love some unsigned local band that nobody's heard of, that's great. If you love both, that's great. One is not better than the other. That being said though, keep an open minded to the underdogs and know that success and fame isn't always the direct result of talent and hard work.
7) You are probably under appreciated. Everyone is under appreciated. A lot of people deserve better. Success is not an inevitable result of hard work and you don't always get what you deserve straight away. Or ever.
8) When you're given opportunities, take them. When you're invited somewhere, go. Take absolutely everything you can out of life. As cliche as it sounds, its the things you don't do that you regret.
9) Sometimes it's okay to buy the handbag just because you want to. Just not every single day. Happiness from material possessions is fine in small doses but not when that's your only source of happiness.
10) Be aware of what's going on around you. Learn about politics, in your own country and in others. Explore current affairs out with the BBC news at 10pm. Read blogs and online articles as well as newspapers. Educate yourself on issues of class, race, gender, sexuality and age. You can never be too informed.
11) Appreciate people. Take interest in them. Remember their name. Remember what they were talking about last time you met and ask them about it. Thank them. Compliment them on their character and their personality as often as their appearance. People are wonderful.
12) Take a lot of photos of everything. Don't feel bad for being caught I streaming your burger. Don't delete the unflattering photos from drunken nights out. Write things down. Doodle. Keep those sentimental receipts and concert tickets. Document your life.
13) Helping to make other people feel good about themselves will in turn make you feel good about yourself. Build others up.
14) There's no shame in forward planning or being organised. Make to-do lists, plan ahead, start a savings account, have a pension plan. They might never need them, but there's no harm just in case.
15) Give what you can. Whether that's just a smile or a compliment to a gloomy looking stranger, bringing a friend a chocolaty treat when visiting them, or giving to charity when you can - time or money. Who doesn't want that warm fuzzy feeling inside? Make someone's day.
16) Don't feel bad about loving yourself. Knowing you are talented isn't cockiness. Knowing you are beautiful isn't conceited. Celebrate yourself, your successes and your achievements. Knowing your worth is priceless. Society teaches women that they'll never be good enough. Teach yourself (and others) that you are good enough. You're great, in fact.
17) Even if you could please everyone, which you can't, you probably wouldn't want to. Learning that some people's opinion of you, your life and your decisions just simply do not matter is both important and empowering.
18) Don't be late. It's really not that hard. Just forget that being late is even an option.
19) Form your own opinions of people. There'll always be people who you love that everyone else hates, or people that everyone else loves and you secretly can't stand. Don't let other people's perception of people put you off. Get to know people for yourself before you decide whether or not you like them.
Remember too that it's okay to admit you were wrong about someone, positively or negatively. You have complete and utter control over which people stay in your life. If someone is dragging you down and you'd be better off without them, get rid of them. Life is too short to spend it trying to tip-toe around people who you know you'd be happy without. You deserve better.
20) If you're waiting around for something to happen, you'll be waiting forever. Wear your favourite sparkly top on a Tuesday just because you feel like it. Order a double vodka rather than a single, who cares? Apply for that job that you're probably under qualified for. What's stopping you? Take a chance.
22) Friends come in all shapes and sizes. You'll meet the best of friends in the most unlikely places. I'm a firm believer that everyone comes into your life for a reason so appreciate their presence.
21) Most people don't have life all figured out by their twenties. Most people don't even have life all figured out by their sixties. It just gets easier to not care.
22) A birthday text or Facebook comment is not the same as a hand written birthday card sent in the post. Send birthday cards. Send thank you cards. Send sympathy cards. Everyone loves receiving a card and they're a good excuse to visit Paperchase. Presents are good too, even just little silly things.
23) Know that it's worth spending a little more on some things. Personally, I don't mind spending a little more on good shoes, decent skincare, quality sleepwear and concert tickets. I'm yet to regret spending a few extra quid on any of them.
24) Going out is fun. Staying out all night partying is fun. Sleep is fun too. Being in bed with a hot water bottle by 10:30pm on a Saturday night is fun. Don't feel guilty for enjoying either.
25) Don't be a dick. Just be nice. It's literally that easy.
Cheers to the next 25...!