It's my birthday! Today I turn 24 and so I'm writing about 24 things I've learned in my 24 years, I know, what a new and exciting concept! I hope you enjoy anyway, I have a feeling this will lose all structure and be really quite rambly.
1: I've learned, and I'm still learning, that I can't plan my life as much as I want to. This time last year I was completely ready for my boyfriend to move into my flat with me after he finished uni. As it turned out we ended up moving together 200 miles across the country, and becoming so much stronger because of it.
2: If I looked back to my 16 year old self fresh from my first ever break up and completely insecure I don't think I could have believed then that i would ever feel completely comfortable in myself. I still don't, and who knows if I ever will, but I'm far more comfortable (and I might even say confident!) than I'd ever thought could be possible.
3: You're not automatically good with money when you start earning enough to keep yourself comfortably. I always swore I would save and never have credit cards etc etc. Sometimes though life happens and as mentioned above, I needed the help of a credit card when I was earning for 2 people and moving across the country. It doesn't make me a bad person.
4: Exercise just has to happen, it does, I never liked it but I'm glad I've started now while my joints are still reasonably good and I can do most of the exercises I set out to do.
5: The secret to sticking to a skincare routine and in particular ensuring I always remove my make up was buying expensive white sheets. Who knew?
6: You shouldn't feel guilty about changing jobs when it's not for you. Since moving in July I have had 2 jobs, the first one, although not a bad job, wasn't for me and I couldn't stick it out for more than the 4 months I was there. I didn't enjoy it, I almost didn't apply for my current job because I was so worried about how people would react to me "not giving it a chance."
7: I really need to apologise less. Someone once said to me "every time you apologise when it's not necessary you are saying sorry for existing."
8: Sometimes you just need to eat takeaway pizza, like when you're heading off on the 2 hour journey to see your boyfriend and your bonnet flies up and smashes your windscreen. You need to let the police take your car away, get breathalysed, get a lift home and cry into Dominos until your roommate brings you flowers.
9: Nobody likes you when you're 23 is not true. Blink 182 were wrong! I felt so valued professionally and personally this year, it was really amazing.
10: Cooking a healthy nutritious meal really isn't that hard and sneaking veg into a pasta sauce is probably the best way to trick yourself.
11: My mum had a 5 year old (me!) when she was 24, I don't know how the fuck she did it. That's when a child is like a real life person who can think and act for themselves. My mum was such a grown up to me then, how was she 24?
12: I really don't enjoy drinking. I used to, don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of wild nights. However now I'm far happier without that feeling of no control and without the hangover the next day. Very rarely I will have a drink or 2 if I enjoy the taste of what I'm drinking but gone are the days of holding my nose to do shots or asking 'what will get me drunkest for the least amount of money??'.
13: Mental health is just as important as physical health. I'm a nurse, we have to call in sick if we have something potentially contagious so as not to pass it on to vulnerable patients. I've always been very vigilant about this and not felt guilty for sick time, but this year I had to take time off for my mental health. I completely beat myself up for it, but that shouldn't be how it is. The stigma of mental health, I hope, is slowly shifting but we're not there yet.
14: So called self care can be self destructive. We've all seen those cutesy tumblr posts encouraging you to have some chocolate and go to bed but sometimes what you need to do is shower (because you haven't in 4 days) or exercise (because you can't remember the last time you walked further than to the kitchen) and thats okay to say too.
15: Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks are the best quality for the money they cost (that I've found anyway!).
16: People I saw being complete idiots (in the sense of behaving like shits and being suspended) at school are now getting married and having babies (on purpose!) and it's still the weirdest thing.
17: I've stopped caring whether things I like are cool or not and just started embracing the fact that I like them. I can listen to The Weeknd, Alanis Morisette, Kanye and Ray LaMontagne all in the same playlist and I'm so happy about it. I'm over apologising for my choices.
18: I have SO much to learn about the world around me. It started when I started looking into intersectional feminism and realising that I really haven't been inclusive in my views, but I'm learning. I'm learning why things I previously didn't see a problem with can be problematic or offensive to people. I'm so glad to still be learning and I am completely happy to have my views challenged and to be told why things need to be different. Ive researched as much as I can but sometimes it's good to know that there are people out there who will, even unwittingly, make me check myself too.
19: Being friends with the adults of your life is when you really start to feel grown up. When you can have conversations with your mum or grandparents and really feel on an equal level its great.
20: I have been more homesick than I ever have before in my year of being 23. I had moved out at 22 but only 16 miles from my Mum and even closer to my grandparents. Now, living across the country I have experienced that ache, and it does not get easier or lessen with age. You're never too old for homesickness.
21: I really really have to try not to sweat the small stuff, but the point is in the trying. The conscious effort to let the small stuff slide and look at the bigger picture is one I think is helping me grow as a person each day.
22: It's so worth getting the finance in order to have a car that I'm not worried is going to break down on every long journey made!
23: It really is better for me not to sleep in. I'm not used to having a job where the hours are pretty stable but at the moment thats how it is for me and having a regular wake up time has been amazing. I've even tried to stick to it within half an hour or so on a weekend and it makes me feel so much fresher than laying in bed until gone 11am. I know, younger me wouldn't have believed it.
24: I have to try and make 24 my best year yet, just in my appreciation of the year not because I expect big things to happen, I've learned not to expect things because life has other plans anyway! I want to learn, appreciate and love more than I did at 23 and probably less than I will at 25.
Thanks for reading my ramble if you made it all the way to the end. I hope the word vomit wasn't too dire!