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Sunday, 7 December 2014

25 Things it Took Me 25 Years to Learn

As I write this, I am 24 years and 51 weeks old. Apart from it no longer being socially acceptable to count my age in actual weeks, this milestone also symbolises the point at which it is expected for one to have their shit together. Some of us are getting married or expecting our third child at age 25, while others (ahem) are still not entirely sure how supermarket shopping actually works. As somebody who is permanently dancing on the line between 'I've got a pension fund you know' and 'Yay, Frozen!' I feel I am adequately qualified* to share my insights into what I have learned in the past 24 years and 51 weeks.

1. You're never going to have enough money 

I make more in a month now than I had to live off for a whole term when I was a student, and I'm still skint. If you think about it too much, it can keep you up at night, so best not to worry too much and go for the Pinot rather than the Sauvignon next time and everything will be fine. 

2. The things that scare you can often be the best 

Some of the best things I've done so far have been the absolutely petrifying things; moving to a city where I knew no one (times two), telling a boy that I love him (paid off), cycling down Clapham Road (not for the feint-hearted) and signing up to trek to Machu Picchu (probably a bad decision, in hindsight). 

3. It gets better 

Not knowing when it's going to get better can be very difficult, but rest assured that it will. If nothing else, time is a great healer, so that shitty thing will become less shitty as time goes by. Conversely, the joy of being 25 is that there's still so much more exciting stuff to come, that will probably be better than the exiting stuff that's just been. 

Every year that I have been an 'adult' has gotten progressively better than the previous one; graduating from a confused mess of a student, to a student with some good friends, to a person with a degree, to a person with some sort of responsibility, to a person who is ever more comfortable in their own skin, to a person with an actual job, to a person with an excellent flat and flatmates, to a person with a lovely boyfriend is a pretty good upwards trajectory, year-on-year. 

4. Occasionally, it will get worse. But then it will get better again (see point 3.)

In-between being a person with a degree and being a person with a job there was a time when I was a person with not a lot really, but it got much, much better even though at the time I wasn't sure it ever would. 

5. Moisturising is really important

Dried-out, wrinkly skin is no joke, yo.

6. People are generally nice 

Treat them as such, and let them prove you wrong. 

7. Some people are the worst but that is their problem, not yours 

Mean people aren't just being mean to you, so don't take it to heart.

8. Stop shopping in Primark

You're a grown-up now, start dressing like a lady, damit. (It's still acceptable for fancy dress).

9. Get a signature scent 

Now is the time to commit. 

10. Good friends are the single biggest key to happiness in your entire life 

Be good to them, find time for the best ones and laugh a lot. If it all comes crashing down, these are the guys that are morally obliged to listen to you rant, and when the big things happen, these are the guys that will get in the Champagne. 

11. Holidays are the best use of money 

Miserable people just haven't been on enough holidays. 

12. It's totally ok to like Taylor Swift

This one's straight from the heart. The girl is an inspiration to us all. 

13. Be nice to people at work 

You're going to spend more time with them every week than any other human beings, might as well make it pleasant.  

14. Angry people aren't angry at you

Don't take it personally. 

15. Starting a book club might be the best thing you ever do

Read all of the books, some of them will change your life. There's also a chance that you'll meet some excellent people in the process. 

16. Being good at cooking goes a long way 

People love it when you cook for them.  

17. Weddings of friends are the best and the worst and everything in between 

All that buildup, mixed with everyone being dressed all fancy and all that Champagne makes for a heady mix of emotion.  

18. Sometimes, the thing you were looking for might have been right there all along 

Take a look around. People change, feelings change and circumstances change. Always be re-evaluating whey you thought you knew.  

19. It's totally fine to dance like a dick and no one cares

Straight up some of the happiest moments of my life have been when dancing like a dick, surrounded by people who don't mind being seen with you. 

20. The importance of good-quality make-up 

Invest in the good stuff, it's totally worth it. 

21. People like receiving personal correspondence  

Think how great it is when you scan your inbox contents and see your friend's name among the quarterly earnings forecasts and sales reports (are they things that workplace emails contain? I don't really know). Spread that inbox joy and we'll all come out the other side happier. 

22. There is no purer form of pleasure than laying in bed on a Sunday morning

Nothing beats that heavenly feeling of being able to get out of bed on your own terms.

23. Don't lie to yourself 

It doesn't help anyone and will probably waste a lot of your time.  

24. Dairy Milk is the best 

Don't waste your time on Galaxy.  

25. Getting angry and/or stressed is the least productive response you can have to something

Being angry isn't going to help you solve that problem any quicker, and no one likes a stress-head.

*nb. I am in no way qualified to give out life advice