In 2018, I turned 31 and I think it took me an entire year to understand the rite of passage that is turning 30.
I’m not one for milestones and extravagant celebrations. My 21st birthday was spent in the student union bar very drunk with a toilet seat round my head (a joke present from my uni chums).
Over the last year, I’ve been reflecting on what the 30 years previous have taught me. What I’ve learnt, who I’ve become and where I’ve been. I’m an old soul in a young body and I love to share.
So here’s my 30 things I learnt in 30 (plus one) years…
- My mum is my champ. She’s my best friend, biggest fan and more support than I deserve to have
- I actually like myself. I have my flaws but I’m proud of my good nature and smart brain.
- It’s okay to have idols that aren’t just Beyonce or the person currently topping the charts. Looking up to people like Oprah, Maya Angelou, a teacher you had in school or someone who runs a local charity will benefit your life so much more.
- Empathy can change the world. Trying to understand someone’s motives, even in their negative actions, will aid you in forgiveness and help evolve your compassionate nature.
- Love will come when you have learnt to love yourself. “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gone love somebody else?” – Ru Paul, whom is both King and Queen of the drag world.
- Beauty isn’t measured in numbers on scales or on tags in clothes. Beauty is in a smile, in a kiss, in the kind gesture to another person.
- Spending time by yourself is lonely, healing, cathartic, peaceful and mesmerising all in one. If you ever get the chance to live alone, even for a few weeks, take it. It will change your life.
- Nature is amazing. Feeling grass beneath your feet is so grounding. The way that everything from a mosquito to a rhino has a place in the world is indescribable. Watch anything by David Attenborough and you’ll understand.
- Take care of yourself first. If you’re run down, stressed out and wired, you’ll be of no use to the other people in your life. A bath, a book, a stretch – anything you do for yourself will have a positive ripple outwards.
- I don’t “fit in”. I’ll never be the trendiest, the funniest, the “coolest”. I’m different and I’m just fine with that (see point 2).
- Educate yourself. If you feel passionately about something, learn as much as you can about it. Even if you don’t agree with something, get your facts in line and things will start to make sense.
- Hate won’t help. Negativity breeds negativity. If you spend your time focusing your energy into something negative, it will keep breeding the bad feelings. Direct your passion into a positive and watch your life change.
- Netflix is one of the greatest inventions of our time. Whatever you need, it has it. Whether life is getting you down in March and you need to escape into the warm fuzzy of a Christmas film or you want to learn about what happens in the confines of a commune, it has it.
- You can never take too many photos. Life is flying by a hundred times faster than I wish it was, and I need to document more to share with the generations that come after me.
- Eat the frog. Putting off what you dread only prolongs the pain. Do the thing you least want to do first thing in the morning (or as soon as it crops up) and feel that blissful relief faster.
- Drink more water. The benefits are almost endless. From better poop to better skin, the goodness works from within.
- A capsule wardrobe is so much better. A few pieces that can be made into a few outfits you feel good in will serve you, your bank account and the environment.
- Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter. This might be the third post I’ve written this in but it rings true through the years for me. The people in your life who deserve you will love and support you, no matter what you do or what choices you make. Those who aren’t on your side aren’t meant to be in your life.
- If you deserve it, the universe will serve it. I’m not religious but I would say I’m spiritual. I don’t think I believe that there’s a higher power out there with a plan for me. I do, however, believe that what you put out into the world will come back to you.
- Exercise helps. Physically, mentally, in and out. Yoga, ballet, weightlifting, rock climbing… none of it will make your life worse.
- Manners don’t cost you any time or money but will earn you so much in respect and gratitude.
- Don’t give up on love. You deserve to be loved. Not everyone will have the big romance the movies portray but you will be loved. By friends, by family, by whomever. Just let that love in.
- Keep trying new things until you find what makes you happy. Don’t assume because one hobby makes your best friend’s world complete that it’ll do the same for you. Knitting for some, colouring for others, cleaning for the next person. We’re all different.
- Always have a first aid kit in your house and know the basics. Chopping limes to go in gin can be disastrous if you’re as clumsy as me!
- Everyone should work as a waitress or bar tender in their life, even once. You’ll learn so much about how the way you treat people impacts you and those you come into contact with.
- Having plants at home is hard. All the mindfulness books or posts on hygge will tell you that growing plants will heal your soul and bring life to your home and new energy with it but, in my experience, you’ll forget to water it but still be annoyed when you actually manage to kill a cactus.
- Smile more! Smile at yourself in the mirror, at the postman in the street, at a cat walking round your neighbourhood, at babies on trains. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, fake it till you make it.
- Fuck the patriarchy. The men in your life may not be oppressive misogynists but the systems we live by our set up to keep the white man in the best place. Keep fighting the system, for your sisters, daughters, and granddaughters.
- Loving a pet will change your soul. I live with my girlfriend who is great but we work different shift patterns and I can find myself alone a lot of the time I’m at home. Having someone who loses their mind with happiness just because you came into the room after using the bathroom is just the best feeling.
- Social media is an angel and devil all in one. It can be great to connect you with like-minded people. It can offer you inspiration to workout or write. It can give you support in times of need. But it can also make you feel inferior, compare yourself to others or make you feel less than worthy. Be careful how you use it.
What have you learnt in your time on our little planet? I’m always looking for new words of wisdom and life hacks!