19 Hard-Hitting Lessons I Learnt This Year
As an extrovert who’s also an avid fan of pop culture, if an opportunity arises where I can pretend to be in a music video, I'll be there giving a better performance than the time Violet Chachki did an outfit reveal. Past scenarios include me joining the pole fitness society after watching Rihanna’s ‘Pour It Up’ video and performing 50 Cent's 'Candy Shop' on the stage of a charity fundraiser where I was kindly nominated as a brand ambassador, as well as last Thursday's performance. I was two hours into an eight-hour cinematic drive from the Sahara desert, where I’d camped the night before. Separated from my friends on the bus and sat right next to a couple performing some serious PDA, I was fragile (hungover) and also data-less. All I had were my headphones and my offline Spotify playlists. With some extremely rare spare time, I began listening to Dave’s latest EP for the first time (would 100% recommend to everyone) and eventually discovered ‘How I Met My Ex.’ An emotional story, I began reflecting on my own personal experiences (and regrets) of the past year, whilst staring out of the car window. With serious Music Video Aesthetic underway, I suddenly found my thinking compiling into a list of all of the hard lessons I’ve learnt this year.
Initially, this list currently saved on my iPhone Notes, was supposed to be for my own personal reflection but now that I’m back in the UK, and not quite ready to accept my holiday is over by writing an obligatory blog post, here I am gracing you with my new found knowledge. Also, I think it’s incredibly important to note to any middle-aged mothers that may be potentially reading this, you’re welcome (and encouraged) to create any of these quotes into wall decals for your hallway. ‘Life, laugh, love’ is officially out and these are in.
post-graduate life/ work
1. It doesn’t matter how hard you work in university, there’s still a chance you won’t land a graduate role. It’s how you react to this (very normal) scenario, that will establish your future. An unsure future means more possibilities!
2. When you don’t know what to do next – in work, in love or even choosing which Five Guys burger topping combo to go for – do nothing. Just for a little bit longer. Don’t know, be unsure, for a little bit more time. The answer will reveal itself. It always does. – Laura Jane Williams
3. Be early for everything. Or at least on time.
4. Plot twist: Life has already begun! There is no interlude, and this very moment is not a trial version. Start your conquest right now.
5. Go on interesting dates. Do things that are going to help you experience what it’s really like to be with that person. Don’t just stare at each other across from the table whilst sipping a mojito and make the same small talk you’ve made a thousand times about siblings, hometowns and your favourite Netflix series to binge watch. Go and explore. Come up with an excuse why you need to go to Ikea. – Aziz Ansari.
6. Every time you log onto Facebook, send a message to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. It’s easy to put off getting in touch with old friends you’ve been meaning to reconnect with but this simple habit will make staying in touch almost automatic! I started doing this recently and I've rekindled friendships with so many people I've wondered about but never acted on actually interacting with.
7. Always add emoji to long text messages. It makes life more fun.
8. Share credit wherever you can. Whether it’s recommending a new interesting read to your friend, or tagging a girl who inspired a purchase, in an Instagram post – do it. Sharing is caring.
9. If you want to be interesting, be interested in others. Speaking to a stranger can make you look at your individual situation, struggle, or even accomplishment through a different lens.
10. If you like a person’s outfit or something about their personality – tell them! I always stop strangers on the street to ask where they got a particular item from them, and every single time, I am not only greeted with a massive smile but also an aspiring purchase.
11. Go on holiday by yourself. Not only will it turn out to be an endeavour of self-discovery but you’ll surprise yourself with how independent you can be. Plus, it’s 2017 – so many people solo travel so you’ll always meet a bunch of people, which means you can also develop social skills. I’ve met some of my favourite people in the world whilst travelling by myself.
12. Also, it’s v important to try and navigate yourself without using Google Maps to make sure your brain doesn’t turn to complete mush. You will also stumble across some absolute treasures this way.
13. Make a bucket list then picking one at a time, financially tie yourself to that situation with a deposit. I’ve done this so many times – skydiving, travelling around Europe with Busabout, and flight deposits for Thailand and Vietnam with STA Travel. Once money is involved, not only are you more likely to go through with it, but you have something to look forward to! You can deal with the initial “oh god, what have I done!” fear once it arrives. But the excitement is always a more dominant feeling anyway!
14. Googling ‘Kim Kardashian crying’ or ‘*celebrity* before surgery’ will not make you feel prettier.
15. Understand that people don’t always pay attention to you. They are the main character in their own movie, and you’re simply just an extra. Don’t take it personally.
16. The skincare industry is designed to drive you both insane, and into poverty. Also don't take this personally.
17. “No, you’re not perfect but you’re not your mistakes” – Kanye West
18. When someone asks you how you are, do not answer with “I’m okay,” or “I’m fine.” Even if you had a bad nights’ sleep or in worst case scenario, read a Stranger Things spoiler, say “I’m great!” If you tell people this, you have no choice but to live up to this expectation you’ve put out there. Use positive vocabulary.
19. Learn to work out solutions to your problems yourself. By consistently relying on your nearest and dearest, you’re simply borrowing their ego and letting their emotional intelligence do the work! We need to practice soothing ourselves just when our brains are in the best position to pick up new skills.
And that's that - a series of lessons I've discovered through many different experiences this year. What hard lessons have you discovered this year?