Well here we are, at the edge of a decade.
I’ve seen a lot of ten year comparison photos making the rounds on social media so – instead of doing that – I thought I’d put down a few thoughts on what I’ve learnt in the past 10 years.
10 years ago I was 15 years old. I was a teenage girl who hadn’t yet experienced love, heartbreak, independent living, travel, or working life. It’s hard to think about that insecure, unhappy girl when I think about my life, because I can’t quite believe how much I’ve changed since then. So here we go (try not to cringe too much): ten life lessons I’ve learnt in the last decade.
1. You can’t get through life without getting hurt
I’m not a big believer of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ because sometimes trauma is just trauma. It’s not always helpful to get hurt but it is sometimes necessary. In my early 20s I was completely betrayed by someone I loved and, while I don’t believe that that was a necessary experience, I do believe I was lucky to have been given the opportunity to escape that relationship.
Ultimately, that trauma meant finding the person I was supposed to be with and starting the life that I wanted to live. I’m definitely more of a ‘things happen for a reason’ kind of person, so all you can do is to trust that you’re on the right path and try to make the most of every opportunity. I hate to sound like a cliched self-help guru, but I do believe it’s not ‘Why has this happened to me?’, it’s more ‘Why has this happened for me?’.
2. You can only be yourself
Some people won’t like you and that’s ok.
3. Your 20s are so much better than your teenage years
I cannot possibly understand how anyone could say that your school days are the best days of your life. I’ve grown and thrived and got started on an awesome career path and come to terms with myself and that’s been so rewarding. Plus, once you start earning your own money your life really does change for the better. Having the kind of freedom I do now is not something I could possibly have imagined in my teens.
4. Sometimes you just need to give it time
While it’s useless advice to anyone who is suffering right now, time really does heal all wounds.
5. Do what you love
If you don’t know what you love then just try things out and give them your all. Eventually you’ll figure out what it is about each thing you try that works for you and what doesn’t. Even if you still haven’t found your niche, you’ll have gained loads of great job experience to help you get to where you want to be.
6. Nobody’s perfect
In the past 10 years I’ve learnt how to apologise. My other half will probably laugh at me for this – because I’m extremely stubborn – but I do feel like I’ve learnt when to say sorry and why it’s important to. We all make mistakes and the best thing you can do is to admit them, do your best to make amends, and move on.
7. Your weight doesn’t define you
You might as well just eat the goddamn cake and enjoy it.
8. There’s no point worrying about how your life will pan out
Don’t stress about getting the right job immediately and don’t stress about finding the perfect partner. The only thing I regret is wasting all those hours worrying about the future. You will get where you need to be if you just put yourself out there, seize every opportunity that you’re excited about and do your best.
9. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have
It’s healthy to grow and move on and it’s so much more valuable to cultivate the friendships that make you feel good and bring positivity to your life. I’ve met so many amazing people in the past decade and I feel so grateful for the chance I’ve been given to know them.
10. You can only do your best
Sometimes ‘your best’ is just getting out of bed and putting your clothes on. Sometimes your best is working a 50 hour week and still managing to fit in multiple social engagements. Sometimes your best is reading one book a day on a sun-lounger. Or remembering to take your makeup off after a night out. Or nailing a job interview. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and try to stop feeling guilty about your down days, and you’ll be doing your best every damn day.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year (I hope your celebrations this evening aren’t as disastrous as my past NYEs) and all the best for the 2020s. You’ve got this.