I have been busy making plans for the big 30 which is now less than 2 months away. I can’t say that event planning is my favourite thing in the world. It tends to bring out obsessive compulsive tendencies I didn’t even know I had. I become a list making, triple checking, organisational freak. As with Liam Neeson in Taken, it requires a particular set of skills that I just don’t possess. Never the less, I am determined to enter this new chapter of my life with a bang. I’ve always been the type of girl who meticulously planned out their life by age. By 25 I wanted to be married and a self made millionaire. By 28 I wanted to have travelled the world with my husband and trying for my first child. By 30 I envisioned being on baby number 2, and dedicating this decade of my life to child bearing with the aim of 7 kids in total as I move into my 40’s. As you can probably tell, my life plan is seriously off track. But as I exit out of my 20’s I look back at the life lessons I’ve learnt with the view to equip myself for a new chapter of love, happiness, well-being and success.
1) You probably won’t end up with the guy you thought you were meant to be with – and that’s a good thing. In my early and mid 20’s I didn’t know shit about life. I hadn’t truly lived. To know what you want from a partner and to accept a suitable candidate into your life, you need to go get your own life first. With that said – I met My Starr around age 23, and I in no way thought we would ever be together (sorry baby). Another example of how wrong I was and how little I knew about love – that my perfect guy could be right under my nose and I just didn’t see it. It wasn’t until I had gotten my life on track that we were able to build a life together.
2) Friends are the family you choose – And similarly family is the family you choose. I’ve been hurt by both and now I no longer allow people to mistreat me or take advantage of me in the name of family or friendship. I choose love. And in this choice, I choose my kinship.
3) It’s okay to be selfish – There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting yourself first, just as long as you are not trampling on others to do so. Many of the mistakes I’ve made in my 20’s come from putting other peoples interests first at the expense of my own. Don’t live your life as a martyr. People who care about you and have your best interest at heart will never ask you to compromise your well-being, financial security, reputation or otherwise so that they can save and/ or better themselves.
4) Not everyone is going to like you – And once you accept this you’ll realise that it really is okay. You don’t need everyone in this life – just a select few. Besides, I’ve always had an affinity towards exclusivity – from clothes to where I dine, to my circle of friends and so forth.
5) First impressions really do count – For everything. New job, potential husband, clinching a client deal, calling in a favour years down the line… lol. There have been a number of scientific studies that have proven the many assumptions we as humans make of each other within 60 seconds. Use this to your advantage. Always be well dressed, polite, friendly and professional. I have made a wealth of long lasting connections both professionally and otherwise purely on the back of a single encounter.
6) Always fuel your passions – “The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests” – Sheryl Sandberg
7) Never stop learning/ reading – The brain keeps developing until your late 40’s. So those of you who have not picked up a book since ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ GCSE’s are doing yourself a great disservice. Do not live an ignorant life. There is a wealth of information out there, now more accessible than ever. READ!
8) Embrace your flaws – imperfections are beautiful. Except for bad teeth. That’s just not acceptable and I have made a vow to myself to invest in the perfect smile this year so watch this space!
9) Change is a part of life, and a part of growth – Embrace it, but more importantly, be wary of those who refuse to change. I have been burned by people who have fooled me into believing they had changed, but never had the intention of doing so.
10) Be active and keep fit – I was always the super skinny girl in school. Never did I think I was capable of putting on weight. Until last year that is. Now my weight fluctuates at an incredible rate and I’m struggling with the battle of the bulging belly due to a non existent gym life and subsequently non existent muscle memory. Your body is your temple. Look after it when you are young and it will take care of you when you are old.
For my 80’s babies and beyond – what valuable lessons have you learned throughout your 20’s?
** Photography by Alan Bishop