I’m going to be 26 soon. With this coming into fruition in a few weeks, I had a little think about what I’ve learnt and how I’ve changed in the last five years. Below are seven key things that I would advise based on my learnings over the last five years:
Live your life, not someone else’s
Yes your life might already consist of sharing a partner’s, living for your children, and standing by their decisions, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking time to do what you want to do. I was a marine’s girlfriend for four years and I planned my life around his, without feeling any sort of resentment. It was only when we broke up that I realised I wasn’t living the life I had dreamed. I am now.
Look after number one
My grandad’s advice. This doesn’t mean be selfish. If you don’t love and look after yourself, then you aren’t equipped to do it well enough for others.
Be positive in everything you do
I have times when I cry for absolutely no reason and feel sorry for myself, then I bring myself back down to earth by thinking about how bloody lucky I am compared to so many others. Remembering there is always someone worse of than yourself goes a long way into feeling gratitude.
No matter what, encourage friends to live their ambitions. If they aren’t happy where they work and you can see it’s bringing them down, help them. The best feeling for me is helping and encouraging others. Once they’ve achieved what they’ve wanted and tell you that you’ve been a part of that process, it’s more rewarding than anything material.
Don’t be upset about change
Filter out the negative influences in your life. An old best friend who does nothing but criticise others? Get rid. You will naturally attract positive influences and new friends without actively seeking it. It just happens. Change can mean losing ten fair-weather friends but gaining a handful of amazing ones who will be your go-to for everything. But don’t forget where you came from. I’m from a small town, living in London. I will never forget where I came from but I always knew where I wanted to go.
I don’t mean get in loads of debt, but if you want that dress, jacket, whatever, buy it without feeling guilty. One day (if you don’t already) you’ll not be able to spend your money without thinking about someone else first. Responsibilities pile up quickly, so as long as your bills are paid, there’s no point in having thousands in the bank if you haven’t had any experiences. At least you’ll look back at your twenties knowing you had fun, treated yourself enough, and can then start saving for a new car/house/cot.
Don’t be stupid, but a bit of spontaneity breaks a routine. Instead of planning months ahead for a weekend away, bloody go this weekend. My 25th year has been all about spontaneity and it has, hands down, been the most exciting year of my life so far.
Have no regrets. Live the dream. Look forward to your thirties (Shiiiiiiit). Learn more