As some of you know, I turned 30 back in June. I swear it was just a year ago that I was celebrating my 18th, and I honestly didn't realise that the older you get, the quicker time passes. I started writing this list, and then thought 'why not share it?' It's just a few thoughts and realisations that I have had over the last 30 years. I hope you enjoy it!
1) You'll never get along with every single person you meet
Whether it's at work, friends of friends, people online, there is always someone that dislikes you, or that you dislike. Sometimes personalities clash, and that's fine. As long as you're not a dick, you'll have friends.
2) Don't be afraid to be yourself
Everyone is different. That's what makes this world such an incredible place to live. If everyone was the same it would be pretty boring, right? Embrace your individuality, don't hide it. I love the fact that this city celebrates diversity on every street corner. I love the fact that my friends aren't carbon copies of me, they bring something new and exciting into my life.
3) A smile can change someone's day
A smile is contagious. I can't tell you how many times I've been having a bit of a crappy day, nipped to the garage for a chocolate bar and the person behind the counter has given me a genuine smile. Or I've walked past someone that has smiled as I caught their eye. It brightens up my day so much. I always try to smile at people when I make eye contact at them, you never know what that person is going through. A smile can get them through the day. And, if they aren't like me, they may just laugh and wonder what the crazy person is thinking about!
4) Love what you have, right now
Having dreams is a great way to progress in life. Goals are fantastic. However, don't forget what is right in front of you. You may not live in the house of your dreams, but you have a roof over your head. You may not have the perfect career, but you have money in the bank at the end of each month and a reason to get out of bed. That best friend that you sometimes take for granted? That great achievement at work? Take a minute to really look at what is going well in your life, appreciate it. You never know when it could be gone.
5) Family holidays are fab
I'm 30, and I still go on holiday with my parents every year. This year my sister decided not to come, and I was really sad about it. What the heck was I going to do with my parents for two whole weeks? What would we talk about? Would we want to kill each other at the end of it? The answers are; sunbathing, catching up, watching television, cooking together. Just spending time in each other's company. It was fantastic. I live nearly two hours away from my folks and don't get to spend much time with them as I would like. It always feels rushed, as soon as I get home, I'm planning my trip back to Nottingham. Just having them near me for two weeks, uninterrupted, was bliss. One day this may not happen anymore, they may not want me to go with them, my circumstances may have changed. I'm making the most of it while I can.
6) Friends are one of two things; drains or radiators
Years ago, my best friend found an article in a magazine and sent me it. It categorised friends (well humans) as one of two things; drains or radiators. Radiators are the people that are full of warmth, happiness, love and care. They are the people that you know you can call when you are having a hard time. The people you know are interested in what is going on in your life, that ask questions, that are a pleasure to be around.
Drains on the other hand, are the flip side. They are the people that only talk about themselves, the people that are always having a harder time than you are. Drains are toxic for your health.
I have always tried to be a radiator, and surround myself, for the most part, with other radiators.
7) Friends come and go
But the ones that should stay, do. Over the years, I've moved a few times (Spalding, Coventry, Grantham, Nottingham) and have picked up and lost a few mates along the way. I've seen my marriage dissolve and with it a few 'fair weather' friends. Some surprised me by deserting me, others not so much. However, the ones that I thought loved me, had my best interests at heart, knew all my secrets, stayed. These are the people I know I can count on, and I hope they know they can count on me too.
8) Don't be afraid
To follow your heart, or your dreams. Want to visit a country? GO! Want to change career? DO IT. Time doesn't stand still and wait for you to make up your mind. It flies by. If you want something, go for it with everything you have. Otherwise you may wake up one day and regret it.
9) Sometimes, you can't make lemonade with lemons.
That whole 'when life gives you lemons' proverbial phrase is crap. Sometimes, life is shitty. Sometimes something goes tits up, and all you want to do is hide under the duvet and cry. That's fine! It will pass.
10) Love can hurt… like a bitch
I have been heartbroken, fallen for the wrong person, cheated on. I've also broken a heart or two. Both hurt, but have also shown me that I am much stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for, and now, at the age of 30, I finally know what I want.
11) It's ok to know what you want from life
And not be afraid to go for it. Knowing what you want work wise, relationship wise, lifestyle wise, is great. If you can make it work, fantastic.
12) It's also ok not to
You don't have to have your whole life figured out just yet. Whether you're 18 or 38, not everything has to be set in stone!
13) Sleep talking is hilarious
I've done it for years and years, since I was a kid. Over the last couple of years, I've used an app on my phone which records them. God knows how my brain works but they are weirdly wonderful to listen back to. If you think that you may talk in your sleep, try an app!
14) You can still encounter bullies into your 30s
As I said earlier, there will always be people you don't get along with. Bullies are just jealous of some part of what makes you, you. Try to ignore it, but if you can't, speak to someone. They may be able to help. Whether it's happening in your social circle, at work, or in an online forum, reach out and speak to someone.
15) You can never have enough shoes
Until you have to move house. If you're like me, moving house is a nightmare. Not because of the furniture or the kitchen stuff, but because you find it necessary to not only keep every pair of shoes you buy (even when they are falling apart) but you also have an obsession with Irregular Choice shoes and have to buy them as often as possible. I have about forty pairs of their beautifully strange shoes. I just can't wait to buy a house so that they can move from under my bed, to some sort of display!
16) It's never too early to start saving
I've never been very good with money. I spend what I earn, and sometimes use credit cards. This all changed at the start of 2016 when I decided to have a three week holiday to Thailand. I realised that I needed to save quite a bit of cash to ensure that I could do everything that I wanted to do while I was out there. I started putting money away, and got quite good at it. When I returned I still had money left in my savings. This encouraged me to start saving for a deposit for a house. I've now got around half my deposit and slowly am building up. I wish I'd listened to my mum (a brilliant saver) when I was younger and she started telling me to stick £20 in my savings a month. I could kick myself at how much I've spent over the year, mostly on frivolous rubbish. If I'd started saving the 20 quid a month after she first told me, I'm sure I'd have the cash to buy a bloody house outright!
I now write down all my expected expenditure at the start of the month and put a budget in place. It really has helped me a lot.
17) It's ok to be a curly girl!
For the last 3 months, I haven't used hair straighteners or a hot hair dryer on my hair. I also haven't used shampoo, silicones, alcohols or sulphates. I've been following 'the curly girl method' for my hair. For the last 15 years, I have HATED my hair. With a passion. It was constantly frizzy, split, damaged and unhealthy. A friend introduced me to this method and I haven't looked back. Yes I wash my hair. I just don't use shampoo. Yes, my hair is clean, healthy and in the best condition it has ever been in. I used to be embarrassed about my hair, tying it up as soon as it got damp as it would be unruly and hideous. Now, I am growing to like it more than I ever could have imagined. If you have curly hair, or wavy hair, or frizzy hair, I urge you to look up this method.
18) It's healthy to forgive, but you don't need to forget
I now understand the power of forgiveness. If you don't, things can fester for years and the smallest thing can bring back all that anger and hurt. Forgiving is a great medicine. However, you need to ensure that you learn from these things, and by not forgetting, it can mean not putting yourself back in that situation ever again.
19) When you're in the wrong, say sorry
Don't try to dodge it. Don't blame others. Don't bury your head in the sand. If you are honestly truly sorry, apologise. It will actually mean something and maybe you can build the gap caused by being in the wrong. Swallow your pride.
20) Time is precious
We are only on this earth for a finite amount of time. No one knows what happens after our time here is over. Make the most of it while you have the chance. Love hard, live as happily as you can, and try not to regret anything!
21) Music is a huge part of my life
Music is the soundtrack to my life. There are songs that take me back to certain parts of my life, both good and bad. Some examples include Kings of Leon – Use Somebody. This was the first dance at my wedding. Still makes me smile to hear it. ABC by The Jackson 5 reminds me of dancing in Loaded nightclub in my hometown. Coat of Many Colours by Dolly Parton reminds me of being small. My mum used to sing it to me all the time. Weirdly, I only remembered this when I saw Dolly at Glastonbury and the memory was so vivid that tears poured down my face (in my defence I was hungover).
I listen to the radio in the car constantly, I use Spotify when at home to discover new music and play Frank Turner on repeat, I sing along when no one is listening.
It brings all the emotion to the surface, and I honestly love that. Even the sad parts.
22) You should learn how to cook
Not only does it teach you what you like to eat, it can also impress people! You learn what flavours go together, you can rustle up something quickly when you've had a long day, and it's great when you're dating! Taking a cookery class whilst in Thailand was one of my favourite experiences. My lovely besties from home also bought me a day cookery class with Rosemary Shrager for my 30th and I can't wait for that!
23) Music festival memories will always be sprinkled with a little glitter
Even the memories of mud. Some of the best times I've had with my mates were spent standing in a muddy field, can of cider in hand, listening to bands in the sunshine. My first Glastonbury memories are of the electrical storm that powered down the main stage and my Primark jacket was NOT waterproof. Wet denim shorts are gross, and trying to take them off outside your tent is something I don't want to repeat… EVER. However, it still remains one of the funniest things I've done!
24) Getting organised really does help clear your mind
I am not naturally organised, in any aspect of my life. Anyone who ever visited my old flat, or has worked with me and seen my desk can vouch for this. However over the last couple of years I have really tried to control my messy side.
I also clear out my junk a lot more often, and tidy my room more frequently. It's so much nicer coming home to a tidy room.
I also write 'to do' lists at work, helping me organise my day and be more productive.
25) Stopping smoking was the best thing I ever did
Yes, I vape, however it's much better than smoking. For instance:
I no longer smell like stale fags. I save a fortune on breath mints and perfume.
I spend 10% of my old 'smoking money' on vape liquid.
I feel healthier. I no longer get chest infections every other month, and don't have an awful consistent cough.
26) Reading is one of my favourite hobbies
There are few things in life I love as much as picking up a book. I must have 2000 stored at my parents and have a Kindle that I carry almost everywhere. I don't get a lot of time to read, however, I make the most of it on holiday. In the 2 weeks I spent in Portugal, I read 19 books. Chick Lit is my genre of choice, but I am getting into thrillers too. I love the fact that it can take you across the world and teach you things in a way that nothing else does. I also love to use my imagination and prefer the book to any film adaptation. My friend Chantelle is a published writer, having just finished her first young adult novel. She is also working on a chick lit book as I type. It is amazing. I am very fortunate that I get to read (and proof read) her pages. She is doing the same for this, as neither of us are very good at spotting our own mistakes! Cheers love, I appreciate it 🙂
27) If you can indulge, do
It could be that new bath bomb from Lush and an hour-long soak, it could be that expensive restaurant you have wanted to visit, but always talked yourself out of it. Sometimes it's good to just go for it.
28) Failure isn't a bad thing
It means you're trying. It's better to try and fail, than to never bother. I've failed in almost everything; work, relationships, friendships. As long as you can overcome them, and try harder, then success will come. You'll never be successful without a little failure.
29) Write a bucket list, and tick things off
In the last twelve months I've been incredibly fortunate to tick off my top two bucket list items. The first was to travel around Thailand. I did 3 weeks, and it was the most incredible holiday I have ever been on. I won't bore you with the details but there's a little snippet of activities in the pic below.
The second was seeing a Cirque Du Soleil show. They recently toured and I got tickets to see Varekai. It begins with the Greek myth of Icarus, flying too close to the sun. It was one of the most beautiful, and bizarre things I have ever seen.
30) Live each day as if it's your last
As I said earlier on here somewhere, none of us know how long we have on this earth, make sure you live whatever time you have to the best of your ability.
I have a friend with Cystic Fibrosis. We never see each other anymore but I keep up to date with her life through the wonderful medium of Facebook. She is one of the most inspirational people I know. Nothing, even a massive stint in hospital last year, knocks her back for too long. She throws herself into life, and basically I wanna be just like her. You know who you are ❤❤❤
So lovely readers, this is it, the end of my post. I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the things that are important to me and about what goes into making me just the way I am. I would love to know if you agree, or disagree, with any of these points. Please leave your comments below.