It’s two months before my 25th birthday. As much as the number is freaking me out, it’s got me thinking about where I wanted to be, where I thought I’d be and where I actually am.
If I could go back and speak to my teenage self, this is the advice I’d give.
- It doesn’t matter how much you plan, it will never be perfect.
As someone who has a plan A, B and C, for most situations (blame my dad), I find it hard to sometimes accept that no matter how many variables I account for, it doesn’t and can’t always go to plan. That’s okay though, everything happens for a reason.
- You will get your heart broken and you’ll survive!
I’ve talked in the past about being cheated on (click here) and how I dealt with it. Not everyone is cheated on but we all get hurt in some way or another. Having your heart broken can be the best and/or worst thing that could ever happen to you. For me it was both.
The worst part was learning that you can put all your trust and love in to someone who basically doesn’t care about you. Dealing with that (and trusting in the future) can be hard. It was however the best thing because not only did I get to re-invent myself, I started a whole new life and reconnected with my parents in a way I never imagined!
- You’re allowed to make stupid decisons, as long as you learn from them.
They say your twenties are meant for mistakes. Well, I’ve made mistake after mistake since my teens and I believe as long as you learn from it, it’s okay. No one is perfect and if you cruised through life making the right choices all the time, there’d seriously be something wrong with you and you wouldn’t have half the stories you do. How can you appreciate the good time’s if you haven’t gone through the bad?!
- People will take advantage of your kind nature.
Over the last few years, I’ve come to learn that not everyone will care about you the way that you do about them. Never change! I don’t have high expectations of people but I do believe in being kind.
My name actually means “thumb” (the great one). Basically, if you were to try to not use your thumb for even 10 minutes, you’d soon realise that it’s an important part of you that you need more than you thought. As someone that’s seen as a confidant and motherly figure, I think that’s quite spot on. The thing is however, people have and will always misunderstand my kindness for weakness. I’ve had time’s I’ve said I’m going to be selfish and leave people to it but it’s just not me. Even when I’m hurt, I tell myself to get over it and carry on because I couldn’t ever stop myself from caring and wanting to help people. That makes me happy so I just get on with it.
- Your body is imperfectly perfect. Learn to love it for yourself!
As a child I was obese. At 12/13, I weighed nearly 12 stone. I always found reasons to be confident e.g. I may have been the biggest kid but I was always the fastest.
As I grew up I lost the weight and after my break went down to about 8 stone. A few few years ago I decided to ditch the scales and not focus so much on numbers but rather what I saw when I looked into the mirror.
I’ve put on quite a lot of weight recently. Weight I need to work on but I’ve come to accept if I want my boobs (my favourite asset), that comes with a bit of a belly. It’s all about how you dress and loving yourself. For every thing I change, I know I’ll find another thing I want to change so I’ve come to accept that my size doesn’t actually matter as long as I’m still healthy.
I’m now going out of my comfort zone to find I actually like clothes I never thought would suit me and going for bold choices when I decide I want to wear a bit of make up.
I don’t do any of this for anyone, I do it for me. The way I see it, the more I accept my imperfections, the happier I am.
- When a man cares, he’ll show it. Trust your gut!
Now, as a woman who is an agony aunt, I can’t tell you how many times I have had conversations with people where we have talked about the signals guys give. Men are simple creatures. You could be the kindest, funniest girl in the world but if they’re not feeling you, they’ll show it.
I once met a guy who I really liked and who apparently really liked me. This guy wouldn’t even make the effort to spend time with me when we were in the same city. Sean on the other hand booked flights to come to Sheffield before I even moved to Belfast…
I also have a friend who is willing to literally give the right girl anything she wants. Money won’t be an issue because he knows he’s willing to work hard for her. His current girl however isn’t the one. He’ll see her when he wants to, he’ll make the effort when he wants to and he’ll be the cutest guy ever when he wants to. She’s already guessed it but won’t trust her gut. We’ve all been there!
- As a woman, sadly, you’ll have to work that little bit harder before you’re seen equally.
It’s sad but we do have to work harder than men. As a black woman, it’s even harder! I’m now on my second career (for my first click here) and I’m very proud of myself. I have however had people try to dilute my achievements like anyone could have done it or it was easy. Try teaching yourself something people go to school for and making a business out of it. I also quickly came to the realisation that for me to have the work-life balance I want i.e. having a family and working the way that suits me, I’ll eventually have to go back to working for myself.
- Life is short, do whatever the hell makes you happy.
This is a cliche, yes but it’s so true. You will have to live through losing people you love, dedicating your life to working 9-5 because you need the money and lots of new beginnings. Spend time with the ones you love, don’t hold on to negative feelings and travel!
I moved to Ireland after my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I lost a friend. I literally woke up one day and just thought f**k it, I want to be close to my parents again and frankly, it is the best decison I’ve ever made. Nearly losing my dad has given me a new lease of life.
I try to be thankful for having the people around me and the life I have by cherishing them in any way I can. Sometimes it means not moaning over silly things I would have moaned about before.
On top of that, I have ticked off a few more places on my travel list and realised my life is what I make it. I’d rather be broke seeing the world and making the best memories than watching my bank balance grow and being unhappy!
You can do anything, it’s your life and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!