Guess who’s 23 today? Yep, you guessed it – it’s me, the in denial adult who still wishes she was a careless child coming home to watch Tracy Beaker and eat turkey dinosaurs but has to accept that with every passing year comes more burdened responsibilities and a sheer disappointment that growing up really isn’t all that. Aaaaand breathe. There’s no denying birthday’s just aren’t as fun anymore; okay so today’s plans include eating until I pop and spending time with the ones who gave me life but reality caves in once it’s over and unfortunately I can’t spend the rest of the night playing with my Barbie gifts. Saying that; as you develop, you become more familiarised with who you are and the purpose of the world. It’s a funny old place, a terrible, illiberal place at times, but it’s also wonderful and enlightening and you’re never, ever done learning and gaining wisdom. So, in summarised celebration of my birthday, here’s my cliche ’23 things I’ve learned in 23 years’ post.
It’s not about who came and went and cropped up whenever they needed you as bait, it’s about those who came, stayed and never left.
Say yes more. Even if you haven’t thought the whole process through, you’re feeling apprehensive, anxious or it turns sour. You can worry about that when the times comes, experience and fun memories are the cure.
You are not in love with the guy making you feel a million dollars but going back to his girlfriend, nope. You’ll get over it and soon realise your worth.
The answer to all life’s problems is a sing song to Disney. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you are too old because you most definitely are not.
A decent skincare and makeup routine is the key to smashing puberty and a regular essential you’ll soon be unable to do without.
Find ways to like yourself for you, not for anyone else’s approval. Tearing yourself down and rejecting your self-confidence will do harm in the long run. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re good enough, you can do it. You are capable of much more than you think. Take the chance, you owe yourself.
No matter what your weakest point, no matter how much you curse and fight, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. You will get through, you will find the silver lining eventually.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life’s too short not to laugh at every giving opportunity.
Sometimes you need to let go in order to be happy. You don’t have to forgive, agree or to relieve all feelings but deal with it maturely, accept you can’t do anything about it and move on.
Never take your parents for granted, even throughout those troubled teen years. Cherish their love, care and concern because some day you’ll look back and regret the moments you didn’t appreciate their presence enough.
I’ll never have skinny thighs and a small bum and that’s okay. Exercising, eating the right foods and taking care of myself is sufficient. As long as I’m healthy, that’s all that matters.
No matter how hard I try to like reality TV and social nights out, I’d much rather stay in, watch and obsess over the soap operas and that’s also okay.
Buying low to mid heels instead of stilettos to avoid any kind of stumble is perfectly all right. It isn’t style without comfort.
You are allowed to give up on something, whether that’s a toxic person or a challenge you can’t face. That doesn’t make you a failure, it’s fine to be scared and admit defeat – do it for your own well being.
Some things just aren’t worth getting upset over. Don’t dwell on a matter that will be forgotten about in days to follow – it will only ruin your mood.
Try not to hold grudges, everyone deserves a second chance at proving themselves.
Treat yourself, always treat and take care of yourself. A one hour bubble bath? Chocolates and pizza? That new MAC lippy? Just. Do. It.
Happiness is in your hands – it’s your decisions that determine your state of mind. Work for it, act on your passions and if it’s making you miserable, create a necessary change to your actions otherwise your demeanour will remain the same.
Different doesn’t mean you’re strange, it doesn’t mean you’re better or worse, it just means you’re unique to you. Do your own thing, don’t change to fit in with the crowd, don’t let anyone shame you for your choices.
Remember we all become independent at our own speed. Just because a good selection of people your age are moving forward doesn’t mean you need to drastically improve your pace. Take it steady and things will naturally fall into place.
Surround yourself with people who build you up and make you want to be a better person. Focus on those who are important, take a big step back and realise if they care, they’ll show it. If they don’t, good riddance.
If you ever feel like something needs to be said, say it. Speak your mind, stand up for yourself, stick up for your beliefs. It’s better to be honest and open than hidden away and suffering.
Take things one day at time. You can’t predict what’s going to happen, all you can do is treat everyone with the same kindness and accept that things won’t always go smoothly. Life’s a journey, embrace it.