7 things I learnt in my early 20s and the 7 things I am continuing to learn.

To not feel jealous or envious of someone else.

They are prettier, they have a better job etc… blah blah blah. I’ve learnt that I’m bloody lucky for the life I lead. And I am in the position to lead it in a way that makes me happy. No handouts, no ethical dilemmas. I’m pretty lucky for that!Ive learnt to just feel happy for others but most importantly see that I have so much to be happy about. Jealousy is in many ways a pointless distraction.

That drinking more water really does make you feel better.

It’s not an old wives tale or some health myth like eating grapefruit makes you thin; drinking more water genuinely makes me feel better. I think drinking more water improves every area of my life. It’s only taken me 25 years to figure this out! And my skin looks so much better (thank god).

To take responsibility for my actions.

It’s okay when things go wrong to upset people, to behave in a way you wish you hadn’t. sh*t happens, but it’s not okay to not own up to things and ride the consequences out. Being a grown up means sucking it up taking the blame , dropping the excuses and delivering a satisfactory apology or putting up with the outcome . It’s not always easy. But it’s life.

People pleasing isn’t always worth the hassle.

The anxiety, the fear, the general crippling worry that comes along with trying your hardest to please everyone is often unnecessary. It’s totally okay to say no; sometimes in a firm and forceful tone. It’s okay to pick a restaurant that you know you WANT to go to over a restaurant that you hate, even if that is pushy polly’s place of choice. No you don’t need to cancel the plans you have had for weeks because a friend you barely see has decided to throw herself a birthday party. No you don’t have to change your annual leave because someone else has decided last minute they want that day. You don’t have to be a yes man. People pleasing, that often gets you in a pickle, isn’t always going to earn you a good turn in return either. I’ve just learnt to accept I can’t make everyone happy. In fact I can probably make very few people happy

Not to apologise for things that are not my fault.

Oh yes; I constantly found myself saying sorry when someone else had aggrieved me. But I have learnt lately to own my mistakes but not other peoples. I have learnt when someone’s behaviour is un acceptable towards me I don’t have to apologise; if I’ve done nothing wrong that is! And most importantly other people’s actions are not my fault. This realisation has made me feel much more comfortable about confrontation, which is an inevitably part of life, even if I still try to avoid it. It’s also made me feel much less guilty when confrontation arises.

It’s okay to disagree but it doesn’t need an argument.

It’s okay to hold an opinion on something. A lecturer at uni once told us you don’t have to respect an opinion but you still have to respect someone’s right to have it. My husband’s family and I hold different political views (hell my husband and I have different political views), I have different beliefs about dog training to my friend and I firmly believe you shouldn’t put the milk in you tea cup first and there are loads of people who believe otherwise (they are wrong). It’s okay to hold this opposition however sometimes there is no need for an argument (unless it’s about the tea thing). Sometimes you got to agree to disagree.

To live life to the fullest (sensibly)

Recently I started a bucket list (link to blog post here). Why? Because I constantly said I wanted to do or learn something but never actually did it. Crossing things off has filled my year with extra happiness. Some are big things (we flew a plane!) some are little (learning to knit) but they have all brought me joy. There’s some big things on the list that arnt doable yet because I won’t risk feeding my little family that month (that’s the sensible bit). It would be no fun having an amazing day, spending both our months wages and then feeding the three of us on just toast ( and we can’t expect anyone else to feed us!). So we live life to the fullest, sensibly, and it’s been amazing this far and there are lots more adventures to go!

Those things I’m still learning;

To stop causing a storm in a teacup.

You know when something feels like a real big deal to you but secretly you know it’s not that big a deal? I’m one of those people. Im having a meltdown and to everyone else it seems like I’m overreacting (and I am). A small problem or inconvenience and I’m inadvertently causing drama and it’s totally unnecessary: Whipping everyone into a frenzy over something that’s a wee bit trivial is a habit I hope I can learn to drop. I get so dramatic about the little things. My phone not starting, the printer not working, loosing my earphones … the list goes on. I get my self and those around me (normal my poor husband) worked up over something small. The general upset isn’t worth it in the long run…. I know this… but I still get stressed. Yesterday it was over not being able to find the flint roller. Well there’s hope yet ! Maybe by the time I’m thirty I’ll be less dramatic (I won’t hold my breath).

To be kind to myself.

To let myself nap, to take care of myself, to relax with out guilt. To let myself enjoy the moment and to not be so hard on myself. To stop berating myself for a mistake. These are all ways to be kind to yourself. It’s not always easy but it has great results. I still forget and give myself a hard time; my husband often pulls me home; kindly disagreeing with all the mean stuff I say about myself and making sure I relax.

How to do a good food shop.

I never seem to get it right. 2 1/2 bags for £100 in some places, it kills me. We also seem to waste so much food ; but then again some weeks there is nothing left by Wednesday. Food shopping is a great mystery to me. Can I have a personal shopper please? And a chef while you are at it. I’m sure I’ll get there in the end (maybe).

To not take people’s comments to heart.

Whether those comments be about my looks, dress sense, job or lifestyle. People can say whatever pops into there head: I’m learning to relax alittle and not be so sensitive. I’ve learnt that I don’t always care what people think… the turning point for me was when I dyed my hair and someone I don’t know that well focused on me with a hard stare and said “I’m not sure I like it like that”. Ummmmm sorry did I ask? But alas I still forget sometimes and the small things upset me: particularly if they are about my dog, body or family. But I’m learning.

Families are complex and not one is the same.

I got married a little while ago. Mine and my husband’s family’s are very different but we are also building our own little family of three: the dog, him and I. Our little family is different from that of any others. I was also raised by my grandparents and have some complicated relationships in my life. It’s taken me a long time to not be embarrassed or feel like I should defend my family when the differences a pointed out. I lived with my grandparents from the age of 8 and often found myself sheepish explaining why. I’ve started to learn that not one family is the same. When I got married I joined another family to who are very different from the one I grew up in. Family’s are wonderful, vexing and loving in their own ways.

To be nice to those who love me.

How easy is it to take your pain out on the ones you love the most? They love you so quite often they seem to put up with it! I’m the worst for it. I have a sharp tongue when cross;and a mean mouth when frustrated. It’s so easy to verbally lash out at a well meaning comment from my husband or to tell him off when I’m upset and he doesn’t respond quick enough. At the end of the day this is daft… I find myself back tracking. Creeping back with puppy dog eyes to say sorry for the silent treatment or the quickly made comment when stressed. It’s not okay to make people stressed because you are: that’s like setting someone else on fire because your a blaze.

To dress how I want to and experiment with fashion.

I’m too short to wear this, I’m too fat for that, I’m too old for this… all those things I say. I’m learning to dress the way in which I want damn what anyone else thinks or says. I think clothes and fashion can be pretty empowering and a wonderful way to express yourself. But I can get self conscious and a little worried. I use to swan around in a mini skirt and black Tshirt; wearing colour made me self conscious and I constantly worried about how I looked , everyone thought I was confident as I was wearing a mini skirt (boy where they wrong) so I quickly learnt how you dress effects how you are perceived. Although I’ve since learnt to be adventurous and try new things I’m still not there 100% I get anxious about the simplest thing. The other day i didn’t wear a headband running because I was worried about what people might think (and it was freezing, and again wouldn’t wear a red top out for a drink (ridiculous right). I’m slowly learning it doesn’t matter what they think as long as I’m happy. Im learning to try new things and risk looking silly, because after all how do you know until you try?? Fashion disasters are easily forgotten.

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