A good friend of mine recently put together a detailed and enlightening list of things she learnt on her way to 25 years of age. Inspired by this idea and just turning 25 myself, I decided to write a much less detailed and less enlightening list, but a list none-the-less. Here are a few small pieces of wisdom (or belated realisations, at the very least) that I’ve learnt in my short quarter-century of life so far.
1. There’s nothing wrong with being the jack of all trades
Learn new skills, try new things, have your fingers in all the pies! Since when was having multiple interests a bad thing? And, why should we excel in only one thing?
2. Happiness is not a constant state
To paraphrase someone else’s wise words – thanks, Karen’s mum – happiness isn’t about inanely cheerful all of the bloody time. There’s a lot of ‘mostly satisfied’, ‘generally alright’ and ‘a little bit bored’ within a life of true happiness, and that’s okay!
3. You don’t need to buy that
“But what about…?” “Nope.” “But I actually…” “Nuh uh.” “But what if…?” “No!”
4. Don’t be afraid to fail!
“No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
5. Quitting isn’t always a bad thing
Good decisions are just as much about the things you don’t do as the things you do do. Quit that job you don’t like, leave that party you’re not enjoying, drop that toxic relationship – be a quitter!
6. If you’re thinking ‘should I put suncream on?’ … put suncream on
I have the summer holiday photos to prove it.
7. ‘Just a little bit more’ is always a little bit too much
Just a little bit more… sickenly rich cake / hair off my fringe / paint on this masterpiece / dancing on the table. Really, when does ‘just a little bit more’ not lead to instant regret?
8. You control your own irritation
I’ve always been easily irritated by noises (eg. obnoxiously loud talking, blaring music on public transport, people tapping their fingernails, loud chewing, etc) to the point where I can’t concentrate on anything else.
Recently, I was sat in a cafe next to a kid playing with a toy fire engine. The toy’s siren had been going on for what felt like a lifetime, my eye was twitching uncontrollably and I was getting pretty red in the face. I had, by no means dramatically, accepted that I was going to die in that cafe in a twitching mess. Then, the woman on the other side of the table leant over and politely asked the child if they would mind turning the toy’s siren off… and they did.
9. Don’t overplay your favourite songs
RIP Hey Ya, Outkast.
10. Revenge is not necessarily sweet
Not one of my intricately planned plots of revenge (of which there have been many) have worked out well. Like good ol’ Selena says, kill ’em with kindness!
11. This too shall pass
One of my all-time favourite sayings, this gives me a little bit of relief when I need it. That stress-inducing deadline, the never-ending argument, an awkward conversation with your hairdresser… all of it will eventually be over!
12. ‘Alot’ is not a word
Who woulda thunk it?
13. Patience is not a virtue
I mean, in day-to-day-life, wait your turn in queues and stuff… but otherwise, go out and grab life by the horns!
14. In fact, many age-old sayings are complete tripe
‘What you see is what you get’, ‘silence is golden’, ‘stick and stones may break my bones…’ and, don’t get me started on ‘if the wind blows, your face will stay like that’!
15. Send snail mail
Because, what’s better than getting post?
16. Friends are like planets
Good friends come in and out of orbit with each other at different times of life. Don’t fret if there’s a total eclipse once in a while, relationships can come back around. (Also, don’t fret if one of your friends insists on using space puns, they will eventually get over it…)
17. Put yourself out there, get more back
It’s always a bit nerve wracking putting yourself out there, whether sharing your ideas or voicing your feelings. But, lots of the time, it just means other people are willing to do the same back.
18. You don’t have to say ‘sorry’
… If you don’t do crappy things that you have to apologise for!
19. You don’t have to be liked by everyone
Focus on the ‘good eggs’, forget about the rest. One good friend is worth a million bad uns!
20. It’s alright not to have an opinion on everything
Ask questions, listen, nod, repeat. (And, furiously Google the topic later, if you must.)
“I don’t give a shit about anything, yet I simultaneously have opinions about everything.” – Hannah, Girls
21. Turning into your parents isn’t necessarily a bad thing
Every year, I hear myself saying things and see myself doing things exactly like my parents. After the initial horror and a few tears, I think, ‘who else would I rather grow up to be!?’
22. Just say ‘no’
Don’t worry, this isn’t the beginning of an anti-drugs PSA… It’s just about not being pressured to say yes. If you don’t want to go there/drink that/see them – don’t!
If there’s anything that I’m not, it’s a ‘Yes Man’. In fact, I am very much a ‘No Lady’. Although ‘The No Lady’ would probably make for a much less interesting book, it makes for a much more satisfying life.
23. Slow down!
Don’t panic, don’t rush. Whatever it is, it can wait.
24. Liking ‘gross’ stuff means that you don’t have to share
(Sorry, not sorry, Scott!)
… If that’s not an incentive to try pickles, olives and anchovies, what is?
Well, we all have to learn this one sometime…