I hope you’re all fine and dandy. Exciting news – yesterday I kicked off my brand new regular column in my local newspaper, The Argus, so you could say it’s been a fab way to begin the upcoming 21st birthday celebrations!
I am soaring closer to actual adulthood quicker than I’d like to: It’s both exciting and quite bloody scary. I feel like dishing out my humble learnings and, er, wisdom with you all, nearly-21 year old to 15/20/30/70 year old, because I’ve certainly learnt many things over the past 21 years that I think are worth sharing, no matter how pathetic or insignificant they may be in the grand scheme of things. Without further ado, let’s not hang around!
1- Seeing the good in every situation is the best way to live
This is easier said than done, but…stop looking at everything in a negative light! Look at what you do have, and not what you don’t have. Don’t compare your achievements/life to others, the list goes on. Even if something has gone horrifically wrong, think about how it could have been worse… i.e. you spilt your glass of wine, but the bottle is still in-tact. Stay positive and that’s it.
2- You can’t change people!
If someone’s a dick, chances are they’re probably a dick for life. Don’t expect people to be nice just because you are.
3 – Downing drinks is never a good idea
It’s taken me a grand 21 years to realise that chugging vodka and cokes like they’re water and glugging prosecco like a fish is probably not going to have a positive or beneficial outcome. Take it slow instead and pretend you’re a sophisticated sipper.
4 – Eating animals is weird AF
After 3 years of dead animal flesh not passing my lips, I can safely say I will never for as long as I live eat it again. Firstly – it ain’t food. And, secondly – just because something is accepted in society, that does not make it normal or right.
5 – Caring what other people think is a waste of time
Another one that is so much easier said than done, but… stop caring what people bloody think. If you read my latest article on The Argus website, you’ll see that I received a tirade of vicious abuse from, well… strangers. Did I give a fuck? It certainly wasn’t welcomed, but I didn’t let it get to me because, at the end of the day, who on earth actually cares what sad old Ron thinks of me ‘getting my arse out’ on Instagram when he’s hiding behind a fake identity on his desktop computer? Not me, hun. I’ve got far better ways to spend my time.
6 – Fruit and vegetables really are your friends
Forget the 5-a-day aim – tot that up to 7 or 8 a day and you’ll be feeling right as rain, and better within yourself physically and mentally. Eat your greens and all that malarkey.
7 – Travel is important
Obviously this warrants funds, but since working full-time I’ve spent the majority of my money on trips away rather than meaningless possessions. Whether it’s a weekend away in the UK countryside just 1 hour away from your doorstep, a new European city break (because we are SO lucky to have a multitude of different countries nearby, some less than 1 hour away) or somewhere further afield, make it your mission to travel as much as you can, change your scenery and broaden your horizons.
8 – Friends are even more important
I can’t express how important it is to keep close ties and relationships with those who mean the most to you. I love my girls to bits and always jump at the chance to spend time with them, whether it’s just a sleepover spending more time than is healthy watching Vines on Youtube, a trip to the pub or planning a crazy-fun yet mentally draining/liver damaging holiday (see Malia, Kavos, Zante and Beni... you’re welcome.)
9 – Nature is refreshing and grounding
Get outside as much as you can and soak up that Vitamin D! If the blue sky has made a rare appearance, I’m out there as quick as I run to the wine fridge come a Friday night.
10 – Social media is addictive and toxic… but I can’t stop using it
I feel quite sorry for our generation in a way, that we’ve grown up surrounded and obsessed with the fake world of social media. I won’t lie, I love my Instagram (much to the joy of the notorious Argus commentators), scrolling through Twitter for hours and stalking the Facebook photos of my friends Aunties husbands niece, but I do try to remember every day that SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL LIFE. Never, ever compare yourself to someone elses online profile!
If you go to university and don’t enjoy it, don’t feel like you’re weird or abnormal. In fact, the majority of people I know who have been to uni agree that in fact, it can be a lonely and dark place. Don’t get me wrong – meeting great new friends, gaining some independence and being entitled to discounts here there and everywhere along with £2 drinks was a blast for the 1 year that it lasted, but remember that it’s not always what it’s made out to be.
12 – You’re not pregnant, just bloated
Without being dramatic, there has been one two many times after a lavish Chinese takeaway that I have convinced myself I am growing triplets at super-speed because my stomach has rounded so alarmingly that it resembles a beach-ball. No, Dayna – you’ve just gorged enough chow mein to supply a small country. It’ll be gone by the morning, chill out.
13 – Food is bloody glorious
Whether it’s reading about it, cooking it or stuffing it down my gullet, I adore food and all it has to offer. Getting yourself busy in the kitchen with a load of healthy ingredients and making a delicious meal that other people enjoy too is so rewarding. Plus, it always tastes better when it’s done from scratch, so put the jar of Dolmio in the bin where it belongs and get chopping.
14 – A pair of heels will always make you feel better
Alright, when you’re looking in the mirror, maybe. Your feet will almost certainly not feel better in any way, shape or form, but let’s just ignore that. I don’t know about any of you, but when I slip into a pair of stilettos I automatically feel so much more confident and content with how I look.
15 – It’s cool not to have a plan – go with the flow
You really do not need a detailed life plan to be successful – chances are, it won’t run smoothly anyway, and you can totally be successful trying your hand at new things and taking up opportunities you wouldn’t normally.
16 – Most people don’t make any effort
Unfortunately, as you grow up, you realise that the majority of people around you don’t make the effort to check in on you or spend time with you. There’s a lot of people I probably wouldn’t even meet up with if I didn’t make the effort to kick it off, but that is life.
17 – Taking photographs is valuable
As annoying as my boyfriend might find it when I’m stretching over the table to snap a picture of his lunch or asking him approximately 244 times to take a photo of me in my new dress, I love looking back at old photos whether they’re from holidays, birthdays or festivals because they fuel one of the most important things in life: memories!
18 – Winter is horrific, Summer is amazing
Call me cliche, but Winter fills me with dread and Summer changes me as a person. Give me a BBQ and a jug of pimms under a blue sky any day. However, if you’re coming at me armed with turtle-neck jumpers and hot chocolates, I will kindly ask you to move away.
19 – Everyone has their own struggles
Everyone has something going on in their lives, whether it’s something drastic like losing a loved one or something less. Everyone’s struggles are different, so respect them. Never feel bitter towards someone just because they’re lucky enough to have it easier than you.
20 – I’m terrible at saving money
This year, I’m making it my mission to actually save some money and not say YES to absolutely every single social offer I get. Third Nandos of the week? Yeah, why not? Easter city break with the girls? My bank balance currently reads £1.65, but I’ll make it work… somehow. A night on West Street after I profusely told myself I’d ‘only be going for one’? You only live once, let’s get the shots in!
All jokes aside, I am all for the ‘living once’ attitude and going with whatever is thrown at you, but I think I need to put a hold on the carefree life and actually start saving my pennies so I will have a future of some kind.
21 – A paper diary is key to organisaton
Without my diary, I would be a lost woman. How else am I going to keep track of my gym classes and occasional Dentist appointment, otherwise?
So, there we have it, guys… 21 things I’ve learnt in my almost 21 years of life. I hope you learnt something from it too, and, most importantly – I hope it made you laugh. See you on the other side!
Love, Dayna x