TURNING 22 | WHAT I'VE LEARNT ABOUT LIFE SO FAR.

If you follow me on social media or are a friend of mine IRL - then you might be aware that I turned 22 this weekend (thank you Taylor Swift for making a pretty pointless age seem more exciting than it is) and of course I had to come up with something to blog about. I decided not to throw you a  breakdown of my day because it just involved a lot of eating, drinking and eating plants - #monopoly darenight or a summary of the gifts I received, instead here's 22 things I've learnt in the 22 years I've been on this earth. 

1. "You don't always have to be what they want you to be." Let's kick off the list with a quote from the one and only Kat Stratford. Growing up everyone around you always has certain expectations for you, and at the end of the day the only opinion that matters is your own as you know what will make you happiest in the long run. Whether this be related to work, friendships, your sexual preferences or simply the choices you make with your life, you do you boo boo.

2. There's no rush. It feels like just yesterday I was having my 16th birthday party at the beach, had a few too many Sambuca shots and went swimming in my dress. Now that I'm 22, birthdays seem to be more hassle than they're worth and yet we continue to count the next 365 days down until our next. Why is it that we spend all of our lives wishing for school to end, for the Christmas holidays or even getting married? You'll be 60 before you know it and wanting to turn back the hands of time- wishing you had done more and lived each and every day to the fullest.

3. Being an adult is scary. After living in 4 different houses in the past three years, you think I would know how to set up bills and work any oven by now. Turns out living with just one other person (love you Meg) feels way more adult like than being in your usual flat share or student halls of 5-6 people, we even have a bookshelf! How adulty is that. Remembering to pay stuff on time, making your own appointments (and showing up), juggling a 9-5 job (I've only had to do this for 10 months) and a life is something that will get some getting used to, but we can't all be Peter Pan hey. Buuuut there's also all the fun stuff you get to look forward to, like IKEA trips and going to the tattoo parlour without asking your parents. 

4. Your number of friends probably decrease, but grow stronger. Remember when you were 14 and had to buy like 100 Christmas cards because you had to make sure you sent one to all of your classmates? My best friends are lucky if I remember to stick a tag on their presents now. You've probably noticed half the "good friends" you had when you were younger probably didn't even send you a "HBD" on Facebook this year, but that's ok. Keeping up with so many friendships can be hard, especially when you're just friends with people without actually sharing any common interests. It's so much better to have a handful of close friends than 50 who don't really care about your achievements and struggles. 

5. It's ok to use a public toilet. On a lighter note, up until the age of 18 I hardly ever used a public toilet for a number 2 - why? because I never felt comfortable with the thought of everyone else in the toilets listening in on my private moment and wouldn't want to make eye contact with the person after. Then I came to a realisation that well, everyone poops. 

6. Being single is fun. If How To Be Single didn't show that for you, then you're doing it wrong. I remember being 16 and feeling so left out that I'd never had a serious boyfriend, I never felt like I really wanted one but more pressured that I was the only one around me who was ridin' solo. My past relationships came naturally and when I least expected them, and even though I have some great memories I haven't spent the last year moping about waiting for prince charming to sweep me off my feet. If you want to hear my long winded reasons why being single is great you can check out one of my older posts here

7. Doing things by yourself doesn't make you a loser. During my last couple of months in London I had quite a lot of time on my hands, which meant that whilst everyone else was working I could either sit at home in bed watching Netflix or get out and do something on my own. Turns out solo trips to the cinema, cafes and museums can be quite therapeutic and not at all weird. Unless you're looking for a string of creeps I wouldn't suggest heading out for a glass of wine at your local after 9pm. 

8. Sometimes you have to put yourself first. You can get caught up trying to please everyone else that you sometimes lose focus on the things that make you happy and always end up settling. Even if it's something as simple as cancelling plans you've already made because an exciting opportunity has come along or you'd just rather be somewhere else. 

9. Take time to celebrate your little achievements. Whether it be losing that extra inch, hitting your blog goals, ticking off your to-do list for the day or simply cooking a fabulous lasagna - praise yourself for the things you get done! I'm constantly worrying about all the little details and things I haven't yet done/failed and forget to enjoy all the positive things I have accomplished. We all deserve a pat on the back once in a while!

10. Life's too short to not eat that last piece of chocolate cake. So two weeks ago I embarked on a journey with The Body Confidence Programme (more on that soon!) and I'm already so pleased with my results. Even though we get a cheat day a week I sometimes feel bad if I go off track and tuck in to a pizza or enjoy some cake on MY BIRTHDAY. But then I remember, I've worked hard, and eating that is going to boost my serotonin and won't effect my waist line just yet. One of my favourite things when travelling is the food! so I'm not going to miss out on some authentic delicacies just because i'm changing my diet/lifestyle.

11. It's OK to say no. I have major FOMO guys, but I can't be everywhere at the same time. If you've got more than one thing going on on the same day, it's fine to politely decline one if you a. can't physically hop from one to the other or b. don't really fancy going. We're all adults now and know that we all have stuff going on. Same goes for when your boss asks you to do something ridiculous like counting paper clips. 

12. The world is your oyster. Travel as much as you can and as much as you can afford! When I was 15 and binge watching The OC and 90210 I was so eager to live in America and experience college life, and not just as a tourist. Turns out I did it and ended up having some of the best months of my life. It may all seem a little scary at first but no one ever regrets broadening their horizons! 

13. Your siblings won't "hate" you forever. Backtrack these few years and there would have been no way in hell I would have reserved a space for my sister at my birthday dinner. When my brother was born and Alex and me had to be shoved into one bedroom all hell was about to break loose, but turns out we get on pretty swell now and she even got me a Naked Palette for my birthday last year. Once you've grown out of the petty arguments you'll realise you'll always have a shoulder to cry on or a new dress to borrow. 

14. Labels and stereotypes are for losers. Remember when you were in comprehensive/high school and everyone had their own cliques and social ranking? How dumb does that sound now. I'm proud of saying I've never been one to talk to/ignore someone because of how "popular" or "weird" they've been presumed to be. If sadly you've been a victim of one of those labels, the good news is no one will bloody care once you get to university or out in the real world. I wish it was considered normal to just be able to talk to whoever you wanted without it being considered weird or like you instantly like them in that way, maybe I just want to tell you I like your t-shirt! 

15. You're not going to click with everyone. There's nothing worse than forced friendships, this goes for people you work with or live with especially! If everyone in life got a long perfectly then we wouldn't really have special bonds with people ei? Don't waste energy trying to be friends with people who don't treat you with respect or try to belittle you, in the same way you know you're no angel and we all have our flaws that could rub people up the wrong way - i.e. my constant need to sing everywhere. 

16. It's never too late to pick up a new hobby (or continue an old one). This September I will be going back to Bournemouth for my final year of university, and I am determined to get more involved with the stuff going on at my uni, I mean I'm already at their quiz nights every Tuesday. I spent all of two weeks in the rowing society first year before I decided 6am wake up calls on a Saturday were not for me. Having spent 2 years prior to that rowing back home I kinda miss it and who knows, I could have been at RIO this year had I stuck to it! Of course, blogging is also something I've only been doing for a year and a half, and it's safe to say it's now become one of my favourite past times and I can see myself turning it into more than just a hobby in the near future. 

17. Mumma knows best. When we're younger we think our parents are just annoying and repetitive and naggy. Turns out they do it for a reason. I'm so grateful for all the life lessons my mum has taught me growing up and for shaping me to be the woman I am today (tearing up yet M?). The fact my mother raised me and my sister by herself and we've turned out to be pretty decent has shown me that nothing is impossible, even when the struggle is real. She's still the first person I go to for help when a stray cat has pissed on my bed at 4 in the morning. 

18.  Not everyone you meet online is going to murder you/starred on Catfish. I've met so many cool people through the likes of Twitter (and even had a decent relationship that lasted over a year). Back in the day, online dating or speaking to people you've never met online was pretty crazy - now every other person you talk to has probably met the person they're dating through Tinder or some sort. Social media sites such as Twitter and Tumblr are handy way to meet people with similar interests to you or if you're ever in need of a concert buddy. It's also a great place for teens with anxiety, depression etc. to find comfort that they're not alone and has helped a lot of people out.

I created a Facebook page for BU Freshers the month before going and it honestly made my experience so much better and I couldn't wait to meet everyone IRL - some of who I'm still very close with today! Just you know, run their image through google first to make sure they are who they say they are! Thanks Nev. 

19. People are going to talk whether you're doing bad or good. Thanks for that Ri-Ri. There are so many talented people out there who are afraid of following their passions because of what people might think or post on Yik Yak about you. Being from such a small community, if you do anything out of the ordinary a lot of people are waiting for you to mess up or have something to say about it. The joke will be on them when you're earning £££ doing what you love and get some great opportunities thrown at you. You just have to be patient!

20. Holding grudges is exhausting. Unless they like murdered your pet, then get revenge on that MF. Being angry or doing things to spite people who have done you wrong may seem like the best idea at the time, (I'm no stranger to pettiness - I once picked up a dead moth and put it on a housemates pillow when they had pissed me off) but it just ends up creating a bigger problem in the long run and sometimes the best thing to do is simply ignore it, let it go or if what they did wasn't really that shitty, make peace & love. 

21. Spend money on experiences, not materialistic things. Unless it's a new guitar or something that you can do more with than just stare at. Save your money for doing fun things with the people closest to you (or by yourself) instead of spending £200 on shoes that you're probably going to wear once and spend the whole night complaining in them. It's taken me a while to get rid of my M.A.C lipstick addition and swap them in for something a bit more economic like NYX or Colour Pop - there's so many better things I could be spending my money on and at the end of the day, red is red! 

22. And finally, I still have a lot of living left to do! I'm only 1/4 way through my life (if God permits) and it's crazy to think how much I still have to look forward to - although the thought of giving birth will scare me until it happens. I'm not going to get all soppy here but, life is beautiful guys!! Make the most of it whilst you still can. 



♡ GS ♡

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