Friday, 21 August 2015

20 Things I Learnt In My 20s

I turned the dreaded 3-0 at the beginning of July, which is something I'm still struggling to get my head around because I just don't feel thirty.

Why? I haven't got any of the things we're "supposed" to have by age thirty. I'm not married. I don't have kids, nor do I particularly want them. I don't have my own home, the dream career, a killer social life, a large circle of friends, a savings account, a driver's license, or a lot of stamps in my passport. If I'm honest, I don't have much to show for my life, and even though I can't change that just yet, thanks to my health, what I do have are the lessons I've learned about life over the years.

The most important lessons I've learned so far were during my twenties. During those ten years, I began to grow as a person. I began to find out who I am. I found out what I like and don't like, what is important in life, and what isn't. I struggled with my mental and physical health, but it made me stronger. I began to find a little self-confidence and body-confidence after a life time of none. I learned so many important things about life and about myself, and I'm going to share some of them with you today. So, here they are; twenty things I learnt in my twenties...

1. Life is far too short and it can change forever or be over in a secondThere are no guarantees we'll see tomorrow, so we owe it to ourselves to live life to the full every day.

2. Life will not come to you; you have to go out and find it. If you sit around waiting for life to happen, your life will pass you by. Before you know it, ten years have passed and you've got yourself stuck in a miserable rut with a heart full of regrets. Don't make the same mistakes I did!

3. You regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did. Sure, there are moments and experiences you'll wish never happened, but the things you didn't do will haunt you more.

4. Friends, family, and experiences are far more valuable than possessions. I love my stuff as much as the next person, but they don't mean as much as the memories I've made with the people I care about. They're just things. I'd trade them all (okay, most of them!) for another adventure with my favourite people.

5. There's always somebody worse off. No matter how bad things are in your life right now, there's always somebody out there who is going through worse. I find it helps to keep a bit of perspective, even when life is cruel.

6. When you're down in life, you learn who your real friends are. People you once considered friends will stop calling, and it will sting, but at least you'll find out who actually cares about you.

7. You don't have to be loved up to be happy. It's possible to be single and content with life. You're free to do whatever the hell you like whenever you like, so enjoy those single days while they last- it won't be forever.

8. It's a cliché, but our health really is one of the most important things in life. Without it, life can be a constant struggle. I'm not saying you can't live a full and happy life with poor health, but from experience I've learned it can make life so much harder in so many ways.

9. The other most important thing in life is family. (How ever you choose to define that word). You might not always get along, and they might drive you nuts at times, but your family are the ones who will be there for you through the good times and the bad times, long after others stop calling.

10. It's okay to be different. In fact, I personally think it's a positive thing. The world would be a very boring place if we were all the same, and all liked the same things. Don't fight against your individuality- embrace it! It makes you the awesome person you are!

11. You should never be ashamed of the things you love most in life, no matter how geeky or silly they might be. If somebody has a problem with it, they're the ones with a problem and not you. 

12. You don't have to do something just because everyone is else is doing it. If it's not your cup of tea, or you're not ready for it yet, that's okay. You don't have to do anything unless you want to. What's right for one isn't always right for another. Make the right decisions for you.

13. You should never wait until you're your 'dream size' to wear the clothes you want to. Life's too short! You can be stylish at any size, so wear it now, and wear it proudly! 

14. It's better to size up for the perfect fit than to squeeze yourself in to something too small. It doesn't matter what size you are, thin or fat, ill-fitting clothes don't flatter any figure, and wearing them can be extremely uncomfortable, and even painful. I know it can be upsetting, but try not to worry about the size on the label; always go for the best fit. You can cut the tags out of the clothes if it bothers you; nobody needs to know what size you're wearing!

15. Getting your first tattoo done without doing your research on the tattoo artist / parlour is a very bad idea. Well, unless you're okay with getting stars tattooed on your wrist by somebody who can't ink a straight line or perfect curve...

16. No food is worth excruciating stomach cramps, no matter how delicious it is. Damn you, food intolerant stomach!

17. Cold-turkey withdrawal from strong medication is horrific. Never, ever let a doctor take you off strong painkillers like Tramadol without weaning you off them first. I've had some nasty illnesses in my time, but I've never been as ill or in as much pain as I was that weekend. I honestly thought I was dying.

18. Depression... 
... is a bitch.
... plagues more people than you might think.
... is nothing to be ashamed of.
... can improve with medication. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
... really can get better. Trust me! Just hold on.

19. Working in retail can make you hate 99% of the people on the planet. I wish I was kidding. In ten years of working in retail, I served enough rude, arrogant, and nasty customers to last a life time, and saw enough feral brats to put me off kids for life. If you want to like people, don't work in retail!

20. Life never goes the way you imagine it will, and that's okay. Sometimes life will lead you to new and exciting things that you never knew you always wanted out of life. Other times, you might be dealt a bad hand, but you learn how to deal with it, and the experience makes you stronger.

What's the most important thing you've learned in your life so far?



  1. Great advice Louise. It is great to reflect on life's lessons.x

  2. Loved reading this and knowing I'm not the only one that thinks that way!
    Welcome to the 30's club by the way:)

  3. Great post, I can relate to the feeling that I haven't maybe achieved all of the things I thought I would by 30 either, but it's ok. Great list, I totally agree with all of them, especially it's ok to be different, I wish I had worked that out 10 years ago lol. xx

  4. This is a great list Louise - I think its important to not get hung up on what your life is meant to be at any stage. I'm sure I've not meet any of those important milestones at the "right" time (to be honest there are some I will never meet) but I'm happy and I regret nothing so that's more important. Also I think whatever happens, you should always let your freak flag fly ;)

  5. Great list! The things that truly resonate with me are 15 and 19. I currently work in retail as it's all I'm really qualified for (apart from doing a college course in Animal Care which I've no clue what I'd do with) and I do hate most people. From the patronising comments, to the parents who can't control their kids, to general rudeness.

    And as for 15 when I was 18 I got my first tattoo. I went to a guy my friend recommended (although in hindsight her and her boyfriend's tattoos were pretty crap) who worked out of the back room of a beauty salon. I hadn't checked out his work previously or anything like that and not surprisingly it turned out pretty crap. Wobbly, uneven lines and patchy colour. The only decent thing was I think it was all pretty hygienic. I want to get it covered when I have the funds which was originally going to be in the next couple of months but more important financial stuff has come up so it'll have to wait for now.

  6. Number 6!! I've been off Facebook for the last few weeks as I'm barely holding myself together, and a lot of the people I've always been there for are nowhere to be seen. It sucks, but at least I know where to spend my time and energy in future.

    Much like you I have little to show for life - I am married, but no kids, no house, no job, naff health thanks to Fibro & CFS, but I'm alive and that's a lot more than life almost had in store for me in 2011. ;) Every day is a blessing. I'm glad you have learned lots in your time. Pain conditions and life throwing you a curve ball certainly make for PLENTY of life lessons. :D xx


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