I meant to have this post live before my trip to Paris and therefore live before my birthday but alas even the best laid plans sometimes go awry and this was just one of those times.
26 was ultimately, oddly, the best year of my life despite my spending much of it complaining that it was the worst. While a lot of the things I experienced sucked, they were character building and I learned a lot of valuable life lessons about work, relationships and myself. I don’t regret anything that happened during my 26th year and it’s left me feeling excited to discover what 27 holds.
There is a large part of me that has freaked out about turning 27 however. I think it’s the knowledge that I’m now in my late 20s (although I’m still firmly calling myself mid-20s for at least another year) and that one step closer to 30. I feel like I should have a lot more things in my life sorted by now. I wanted to be married and a home owner before I turned 30 and while owning my own property is definitely possible before my self imposed deadline, I think the whole marriage thing is very unlikely. I wanted to be more sorted financially, have carved out a really good career for myself and really have my shit together before I enter the next decade of my life. While I’m not there yet on any of the above, the comforting thing is that my 30th birthday is still 3 years away, and a lot can change in that time.
So without getting too in-depth into my quarter life crisis, let me give you 26 things that I learned at 26:
- The only person with the power to change your life is you.
- Friendships come and go and that is ok.
- The best thing to spend money on is experiences. And books.
- Invest in good quality clothes that will last, rather than spending £££ on fast fashion trend items that you’ll be bored of within months.
- Drink more water!!
- You don’t need a huge group of friends to be happy – focus on your ride or die best pals that have been there for you through thick & thin.
- There is no better cure for sadness than cuddling an animal.
- You can’t sit back and wait for things to happen for you, you have to work for those achievements but they feel 100% better when you’ve earned them!
- Freelance life is not as shiny and happy and perfect as it appears online (but I adore it nonetheless)
- Exercising can actually make you feel good – who knew?!
- Paris is always a good idea.
- Have one failsafe, feel good TV show you can fall back on to cheer you up at all times. For me, it’s Gossip Girl (and daydreams of Chuck Bass)
- Trust your gut, it’s usually right (whether you want it to be or not)
- If all else fails, call home. Even if it doesn’t fix your problems, those familiar voices on the end of the phone will always feel comforting.
- SAVE YOUR MONEY!! I wish I’d done this from my early 20’s and my first proper full time job. Now I’m kicking myself for having to start late.
- Getting a credit card is a great way to improve your credit score BUT only do it if you know you can trust yourself not to spend frivolously and get into debt.
- Sometimes the best thing you can do is to leave your comfort zone and try something new.
- There’s no shame in admitting you’ve made a mistake or a situation doesn’t suit you anymore.
- Always stay true to yourself.
- Don’t bitch or gossip about other people, ultimately it only reflects badly on you.
- If you are struggling, ask for help. Nobody is going to think badly of you for it.
- Instagram isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. It’s also not real life – remember that when the comparison monster kicks in.
- There is someone out there for everyone, it just takes time sometimes to find them. Don’t give up hope.
- Having to take a step back to take a step forward isn’t a bad thing. Use the time to regroup, figure things out, and come back better than ever.
- Don’t listen to the people trying to drag you down, they’re most likely jealous or feeling threatened by your looks/skills/creativity etc.
- Goals and aspirations are important in life, but don’t kick yourself for not having achieved everything all at once. Your time will come and everything will fall into place exactly as it’s supposed to – in the meantime just enjoy the ride.