5 lessons from my twenties
I have recently discovered Twitter. I KNOW, I am waaaay behind the times here! A few things I have discovered since using it are; fellow bloggers are incredibly supportive, there are some absolutely amazing writers out there and there are a lot of them who are in their twenties. It got me thinking about my twenties. Would I have been bold and courageous enough to start my own blog? I would like to think if I had known more about it back then, I would have done but the likelihood is that even if it would have been easily accessible, it wouldn’t have been on my radar.
Do you have a ‘life’ checklist?
In my late teens and twenties, I had a ‘life’ checklist. Get a degree? Check. Start a stable job? Check. Get married? Check. Have children? Check. You see, I was a ‘rule book’ kinda girl. My husband still jokingly calls me ‘the rule book’! I was a product of the education and social system. An average student at school who worked hard and listened to the teachers, believing 100% in what they were saying without questioning any of it. So when I left school, I didn’t question my next steps, I just followed the path I felt was expected of me.
It is only now, at the ripe old age of 36 that I finally feel confident enough to stop and look at how happy the decisions I have made so far in my life have made me. Some things, getting married and having children are a no brainer. I feel incredibly lucky to have had these experiences and I would be lost without my husband, son and daughter in my life. Other areas though, like personal development and work, make me question if I would have made braver decisions earlier in my life if I had I known what I know now.
Isn’t hindsight a great thing? If I could talk to my twenty year old self, how would the conversation go? Even though I am still very much on a journey, there is much that I could say to my younger self to put her mind at ease. Here are my top 5:
1. Don’t feel guilty for who you are.
I was and still am a very anxious person and in my twenties, I would forever apologise for my worries. I would beat myself up about what stupid thing I had just said to someone or the way I reacted to a situation. The important thing to remember here is that not everyone is going to like you but the people who matter, will love you for who you are and you don’t have to be someone you are not to get their love and admiration.
2. You don’t have to be blonde and skinny to be beautiful.
This is not a criticism of anyone with blonde hair but when I was younger, I wanted to be blonde so much that I used to dye my hair bleach blonde. It was a bad case of denial that I was ginger! There was a lot of self hatred and I would constantly wish I was someone I wasn’t. When getting ready, I would look at myself in the mirror and hate that it didn’t matter how much fake tan I put on, I was still pale (with streaks!!). Hate that despite going to the gym and starving myself at times, I was still a pear shape with wide thighs. Cried whenever I went shopping as the clothes I admired so much on other people, looked ridiculous on me. I wish I could tell that girl that she was beautiful in her own way and that she should be proud that she was different, that beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes.
3. Step outside of your comfort zone and don’t play it safe.
As I have already mentioned, I was a ‘play it safe’ kind of girl. I was naive and took everything people told me as truth, questioning absolutely nothing. I followed the rules and walked down the ‘safe’ path. Looking back, there were a lot of opportunities I passed up due to fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure and worst of all, fear of what other people might think about my choices.
4. Make mistakes!
During school and university, I was so scared of making mistakes that I would just not say anything. Now that I am a teacher, I see my students do this all the time and I make a point of highlighting the following; you cannot succeed if you do not make mistakes. I encourage my students to question what they know about themselves, to push themselves out of their comfort zone, to make mistakes so they learn more about who they are and how they learn in order that they can succeed in anything they want.
5. Be present and enjoy the lessons you learn on your journey.
Have goals, they are vital for moving your life forward but make sure you get the most out of the journey too.
Now to you, the reader
As you know, I am a big believer in changing fear into strength. The reason for this is, as you can see, I spent a lot of my younger years scared. Scared of trying something new and scared of looking at what I truly wanted out of life. Life is for living and not for playing it safe. We only get one chance and I truly believe it should be a happy one. Fear is not a monster trying to get you, it is a thought within you, telling you that you are not good enough. I want you to take back the control and show your fears that you are strong enough and that you are good enough to do anything you want. You’ve got this!